Disclaimer: Fox own Bones and its characters. I'm just messin' wid 'em. No infringement intended.

Summary: Will Booth recover his memory? Has he cheated? Has he been gambling again? Will he ever walk again? Will Bones get her answers - will you? Hiatus filler - A little angst - Baby cuteness - Most characters appear.

Rating: M (NC17)

Humble Thanks: Goes to those that generously took the time to review the first part of this epically long-winded story, not unlike this hiatus… *insert wry smile* But especially to those I could not reply to as their PM is disabled: - a fan, A thankful reader, EowynGoldberry, Jane Malone, Mire, PARMR and Terriebone74. Bless you all for your kind, generous comments - greatly appreciated. XX

Part II Of:

In Pursuit Of Solace

Chapter XX

Coming Home

Residence of Seeley, Temperance and offspring, Christine

Booth, Bones observed, nearly had a seizure when he pulled up outside the house for the first time in over three months. The small cherry tree on the lawn outside the nursery was in vigorous blossom and the grass beneath neatly stripped in honour of his homecoming. The sweet cherry garnished the front aspect to perfection and made the property look wholesome. The temperate day, soft blue sky with its scudding clouds, and lucid sunshine were, it appeared, ordered and delivered just to celebrate his dreamt of return.

Bones' heart pounded as there were a few minutes of flurrying around him as Mary and the driver assisted him onto the ambulance ramp and lowered it. Bones rushed to the rich maple double front doors, and opened them wide. As she turned he was already steering himself up the ramp she'd had installed over the steps. He stopped on the threshold, and looked into her. She could tell he was smiling because his eyes sparkled like diamonds in the spring sunshine.

'Welcome home, Booth,' she said, caressing his nape softly. Booth steered himself in through the wide hall and kept going into the kitchen. She heard him gasp as he swung himself around the island at a pace to terrify everyone following him. 'Haa! Booth, steady on,' Bones warned, relieved though he was happy with how it had turned out. They'd designed and planned it together and it was clearly just how he imagined.

Booth expertly positioned himself, and opened the fridge with his good arm, now free of a wrist support. He was completely cast free and even his jaw was unwired, having healed sufficiently. However, his vocal cords, with the lack of use for so long, had shortened so he could only make noises and squeaks, not complete a sentence. He was also hindered by the stiffness of his jaw which was still causing him some discomfort.

To their amusement he appeared from behind the fridge door with a bottle and beer, and supplicated to her with a waggle his brow. 'Go on then,' she said, putting a pile of bags, her purse and a huge discharge file on the cleared counter. She saw him looking around for a bottle opener, then sparked to remember where they'd planned to put it. He went to the correct drawer, and squeaked with jubilation as he flipped the cap off. On sniffing the beer his eyes closed, and he moaned deeply. Bones' smiled broadened as he pursed his lips to sip some of the cool amber liquid. Bones started to laugh as he gulped down almost all of the bottle in continuous glugs.

'Good?' she asked ludicrously. He nodded wildly, stuck the bottle between his legs, and moved onwards through the arch into the lounge. As he did, from his right he heard cheers of welcome home and was duly smothered in kisses, hugs and hand shakes. Ange, Jack, Pops, Jared, Padma, even Cam, Michele and Sweets had come to welcome him home.

Between the welcomes he spotted a gaudy banner strung along one wall held up by flashy balloons, and sniggered. Bones stood back, and watched the outpouring of genuine affection and relief from their friends for his return. Her emotional control had already slipped and the evidence of it spilt onto her cheeks. At times, she'd thought this day might never arrive, but now it had she felt elated.

Mary came to her side, and asked quietly, 'Where shall I put all this, Tempe?'

Bones quickly wiped her cheek, and said, 'Follow me.' She led her through to their bedroom off another hall, and opened the door. Mary purred, seeing the beautiful room caressed by the afternoon sunshine. Their bed was huge with a ornate brass frame and perfectly made up in fine linens and plump cushions. There were antique dressers with matching bedside tables, and large wardrobes all in French polished yew. At the end of the large room doors opened out to the rear garden. The floor was hardwood and partly covered by a few large rugs. There were chairs in strategic places for looking out into the garden or to relax in. Mary thought it a wonderful room.

There was a door to the right which Bones had gone through with his medications, and Mary could see it was their en suite. 'I've had the door frames widened so his access is easier. And I'm so glad we decided on a walk-in-shower and separate pedestal bath. He'll find that much easier, I think.' Mary smiled, and nodded to reassure her as she looked a little apprehensive.

'He'll adore it, its perfect.' She saw Bones looked relieved she thought so, then said, 'Actually I wanted to speak to you about something that you might not be aware of yet, Tempe. Can we sit down?'

'Of course.' Nervously Bones sat on the nearest chair that was by the French doors, and Mary sat opposite her. 'What is it?'

'Don't look so worried. Its very good news.' Mary reached across the gap between them, and patted her knee. 'Brace yourself, Tempe,' she said with a chubby smile. 'The other morning - Booth finally pushed the call button…'

Amazed to hear that but still concerned, Bones asked, 'Why - what was wrong?'

'Nothing.' Mary grinned wide as she said, 'He woke to find he had regained some sensation in his thighs. He felt tingling...' Bones sat back slowly in the chair, and looked out of the window into the garden. Mary couldn't read her mind, so went on, 'We did some tests and confirmed his improvement. He asked to have the catheter removed, which we did. Since then he's been able to sense when he needs to use the bathroom. Booth was understandably elated and wanted to surprise you today with this news personally, however… Booth's treatment is ongoing, as you're well aware, but I must caution you for him - with his atrophy and nerve damage…'

Bones looked to her now, and smiled. Mary could see her eyes were glistening a little more then usual. 'I understand, Mary, he must be careful and not get his hopes too high.'

'Precisely, Tempe. The physiotherapist is aware of his improvements and so is the masseuse you've employed. So I'm sure they will be able to temper his high expectations to a more realistic level when needed.' Bones nodded. 'You have his drug list and the necessary medications in the bag. Plus the schedule for his physio sessions here and times of his next appointments with Doctor Peroni too…' Mary stood in preparation of leaving and so did Bones. Mary turned to say, 'I hope you'll allow me to call in on you on occasion. I've become extremely fond of you all but especially, your Booth.'

'Yes, Mary, of course.' Touched, Bones crushed her in an embrace of abyssal gratitude and affection which Mary reciprocated. Just then the door swung wide and Booth purred inside. They looked over to him, and smiled hard. Booth grunted, and wheeled straight over to the bed with his eyes wide, urgently motioning for her to come and join him.

Bones came over, saying, 'Booth, we have guests, hiding out in here is not appropriate.'

'I think its very appropriate actually,' said Mary, and winked at Booth as she closed the door on them. He blew her a kiss sweetly, but was already levering himself out of the chair, and rolled onto the sumptuous bed. Bones slipped her shoes off, and laid down on it on her side to face him as he sorted himself out. Finally he lay next to her, staring into her eyes with a long breathy sigh.

'Uv oo,' he said quietly. Bones smiled, stroking his head, and nodded. She kissed the tips of her fingers, and placed them gently on his lips. He lent in a little closer, and ran soft rings around her nose with his, while slipping his hand over her waist. 'Dwemt, pwayed ffor dis…' he whispered tearfully.

Nodding to agree, she shuffled even closer to him. 'Shhh,' she whispered back tenderly, knowing with the exhilaration of coming home and the beer had depleted his energy reserves and he was exhausted already. They could hear the saturnalia in full swing outside their room but didn't feel the need or inclination to join them.

Ange, Cam and Padma popped their heads around the bedroom door to see Bones was awake but still staring at Booth while he snoozed. When Bones heard the door open, she slowly looked over to them. They were aww-ing on mute which made her smile. She slipped away from him, carefully placed the comforter over him, and left the room to join them.

'Is he ok?' Padma asked, concerned.

'He's fine, just fatigued - which isn't surprising after today's excitement.'

Cam explained, 'Michele is putting Christine down after her bottle. Jared's in the garden and Sweets and Hank are asleep on each others shoulders after playing four games of dominoes.'

'Haa. Did you find the cookies?' Bones enquired, entering the kitchen to make everybody coffee and finally play hostess.

'Oh. We've eaten them already and the strawberry pavlova!' Ange scoffed, sitting at the island. Bones grinned, and went into a cupboard, and brought out a tin of perfectly decorated cup cakes. The women gathered around, and clucked like battery hens as they peered into the tin. 'What's with all the baking, Bren?' Ange asked, then taking a ugly wide-mouth bite into a volcanic cup cake.

A plethora of hands reached into the tin and grabbed a cake quickly too. 'I find I think clearly when I'm baking and, of course, I feel very self righteous when I don't eat anything I've made.' All the women had stuffed cheeks like hamsters, and looked at one another and very guilty suddenly. Then all together started to bellow with laughter at themselves.

'I'd hate being self righteous if I could bake like this,' Padma confessed, taking another huge sinful mouthful, which made Cam snort and choke on hers. Ange patted her back nonchalantly as she coughed like a TB patient. A huge chunk of half masticated cup cake shot from her mouth to land on Bones' sweater. Everybody gasped as Bones froze, and slowly looked down at her chest as the greasy wet lump fell off.

Bones gradually lifted her head, as she reflected, 'I've been urinated on, vomited on, even defecated on, and now, finally I can say I've been spat on too - my life is complete.'

Ange was the first to start to laugh, followed by a previously mortified Cam, and lastly Padma joined in. Bones began to laugh too; their cackling snorted Sweets and Pops from their slumber.

Out of the corner of her eye, Bones saw her cell flashing. She reached for it, and answered it amid the raucous laughter.

'Its me,' the tremulous caller said. Bones lost her smile instantly, recognising the voice. She quickly walked away from the women and into the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

'Charlie, where are you - are you ok?'

'How is he?' Charlie whispered, ignoring her questions.

'He's improving steadily and home with me now.'

'Oh. That's good, really - good,' Charlie said, sounding distracted and muffled.

'I have to tell you something very important, Charlie. You need to get away from there and soon. Can you do that?'

Sounding very anxious now, Charlie asked, 'Why? No, I can't - he doesn't let me out of his sight. He's in the bathroom now - I haven't got long.'

'Ok. Listen, I'm willing to help you but I need to know - do you want to leave, Charlie?' Bones closed her eyes, and waited through the long pause that followed her question.

'Yes. I-I just want - I'm sorry for the heartache I've caused…'

Bones thought she sounded like a terrified child wanting to be back in the arms of family, and ached for her. She understood that emotion completely. Bones could hear her sniffing. 'Don't cry, Charlie, I'll…' The line went dead, and Bones' stomach dropped away. 'Charlie? Char-lie? Crrap,' she cussed, looking to the cell phone.

'Who's Charlie?' Max asked brightly. Bones jumped on a gasp, spun, then sagged. He kissed her cheek, and smiled wider, waiting for her reply.

He saw his daughters eyes scurry over his features, then she said, 'Dad, I need you to do me another favour…' Bones lead him out of the hall and into the garden so she could talk to him privately.

'Ooo. Do I get to dress up again?' Max asked, rubbing his palms together in joyous expectation of resurrecting Blaggermuch the III.

'Can you play poker?'

'Oohh -,' Max sulked, 'I was hoping to put on clothes not lose them.'

'Not strip poker, Dad. That's perverse, no, the real kind.'

On the other side of the bedroom door Booth had been listening to Bones' secretive call. Individual snow flakes of fractured memories that had drifted across his mind for a few weeks now had begun to settle into a pile on hearing Bones mention the name Charlie. The separate flakes began merging together and forming a larger ugly crystal. As he tried to look through the crystal it distorted the images like a kaleidoscope. But one thing he did know for sure was, he could put a face to the name Charlie now. She was a beautiful young woman in a sexy black dress that smiled at him and played with his lighter. Booth felt bile rise into his throat as he realised Bones knew about her, and worse, was clearly in contact with her. He wasn't sure why he felt nauseous but the overwhelming sense of dread was an ominous sign. He began to question himself and that stored image of her. Was she a suspect, a memory remnant left over from a previous case? Was she a friend, a colleague, a lover?

Booth turned his wheelchair around, and went into the en suite, then backed it up to close the door. Staring at his reflection in the large mirror ahead, he attempted to answer those question he'd posed about Charlie and himself. Self doubt tore at his eyes and filled them. Paranoia raged too as he recalled this afternoon when he'd told Bones he loved her but remembered she didn't reciprocate. Instead of kissing him she kissed her fingers and placed them on his lips. Was that stilted affection because she doubted his fidelity too? Was she as unsure of him as he felt about himself? he questioned the scared man in the mirror.

Later

Bones settled into bed gently beside Booth, who'd insisted he prepared himself for it. She lay still and quiet on her back, staring up at the ceiling. Booth had been in bed for over an hour but wasn't asleep. He too was staring at the ceiling, deep in thought.

Bones began talking quietly about the reasons she felt why he seemed so blue now. 'You were very quiet this evening. Was Christine too loud? She does tend to get a little boisterous at supper.' Temporarily forgetting his troubles, Booth snorted suddenly at her gross understatement, and shook his head, then finally looked at her. She rolled her head to look at him with a wisp of a smile on her lips. 'She sleeps through the night now. I realised that my milk wasn't enough to sustain her through the night so I started her on infant rice, porridge and banana. She slept through immediately. I spent that whole night listening to her sleep on the monitor and checked the batteries twice to make sure it wasn't malfunctioning. Irrationally I went in and checked on her, although I could hear her breathing quite clearly.' Booth was grinning to the best of his ability on hearing her sweet natural confessions of early motherhood angst.

Bones continued, and stared back at the ceiling, 'I didn't sleep at all that night which defeated the object of my well thought out plan.' Bones sighed, then looked at him again, seeing the grin on his face as she talked. 'Cam came over one day to drop off some files and mail for me to attend to. Guess what Christine did? As soon as she walked in the kitchen Christine screeched, picked up a chunk of banana, and through it in her face - quite hard too,' Bones recounted in all seriousness, adding aloofly, 'I didn't apologise to Cam for Christine's manners because I was so impressed with her upper body strength and aim. It's clear she's inherited your skills as an expert sniper,' she said proudly. 'I just handed Cam a wipe and made her a hot beverage.' Booth started to snigger, making Bones look to him again, and her smile broadened.

Heartened by lifting his spirits, she went on, 'Are you tired?' Booth shook his head, and mouthed no, still smiling. 'Is it alright that I keep talking then…?' Bones paused, then confessed, 'Because I've been so lonely -,' Booth felt his heart ache for her, 'don't misunderstand, people have been so kind and rallied around to help - some from very unexpected quarters. But I've missed just talking to you. Of course, I also enjoy that you find speaking difficult because you can't answer back or correct me too.' Booth sniggered again, and rolled his eyes. Then he turned his body over to lay on his side to face her. Bones rolled too, tucking her hands under the pillow. 'Do you remember the conversation we had when I said I was concerned about not connecting with…' Bones paused because Booth was nodding already. 'We do, Booth, we laugh, and play, she hugs me when she's tired and when her hands reach for mine - I just feel…' she trailed off, fighting back her emotions suddenly. Then she concluded, 'You were correct.'

'Ium sorry for not be-ing wid oo,' he said, stroking her hair off her face tenderly.

'Don't apologise for something you had no power over,' she said sweetly but understood his sentiment. 'I've been ok.' Booth gave her a look that he wasn't buying that. Getting caught in a white lie, she smiled coyly, then admitted, 'I have had days when I was so fatigued I became emotional. In fact, one morning I was sitting on the toilet and only woke up when my head hit the shower door.' Booth sucked in a breath, and snorted, scrunching his eyes up with his amusement at the picture she just given him.

Seeing him so amused by her anecdote, she went on with another, 'On another occasion, I cleaned my teeth with your shaving foam - not recommended.' Again he oozed more chuckles which warmed her heart to see him amused. 'And most disturbing was when I went into work one day. I put Christine in the crèche, and walked into my office. I took my coat off and hung it up neatly, then put on my lab coat. Then I went onto the platform to inspect some remains. All the interns gathered around and we begun discussing the possible causes of the bones striations. You know the down draught extraction ventilation system?' Booth nodded. 'Well, it wasn't turned on, however, I kept feeling a chill under my lab coat. I kept asking Wendell did it feel cold to him, or was there a door open somewhere. He looked at me very strangely and the capillaries in his cheeks flushed every time he did. I became irrational and obsessed as to where this draught was coming from because it was so distracting. I had my interns and assistants check every door that led in the lab was shut and then had the heating turned up…'

Booth ventured, 'No ickers?'

'Yes! I forgotten to put on knickers…' Bones confessed self-mockingly, quirking her lips. 'Then, to my horror, I realised I hadn't put on a skirt either.' Booth's eyes grew to saucer size, then the laughter hit him. He was in pain with it now, and buried his face in the pillow. 'Can you imagine, Booth? I'd taken off my coat and was naked from the waist down except for a pair of hold-ups. I strongly suspect Wendell saw me because he was waiting outside my office to escort me to the platform at my arrival.' Booth whimpered, and held his jaw as the hysterics ran riot through him. Bones was laughing too, and watching him crying with laughter made her heart throb violently. As Booth's fits subsided he stared into her face, and slipped his hand over her waist to ease her closer. 'Once you've done something like that you never make the same mistake again, do you?' she said, idly playing with his long hair. With the remnants of her smile teasing her lips, she spiked his hair with delicate figures, watching herself do it.

'No,' he said, staring deep into her eyes. Then he slowly edged his hand under her pyjama bottoms, and slid his palm over the fleshy mound of her ass. 'No ickers now…' he whispered seductively. Bones looked deep into his mellow eyes finally. She knew what he was endeavouring to do, and sighed.

Booth continued to caress her, and edge further towards the heat emanating from her soft place. Bones lay perfectly still, yet felt herself flood with the warm touch of his hand. His delicate caress had awoken her sleeping spirit but she refused to let him know that. With the softness of down she said, 'I'm ok, Booth, really. I've thought about this -,' which Booth didn't doubt, 'and I feel uncomfortable having an orgasm without you being able to have one too.'

Not phased, Booth retorted sweetly, 'Get oosed to it. Make me appy to ssee oo appy. Tings change- shit 'appenz…' Bones froze as did Booth's hand on her buttock. She could see the panic set in his eyes, as yet another memory returned and began to grow large and ugly. 'Oh. God. Ee, we argued-argued,' he stuttered, searching her eyes for confirmation.

Bones had two choices; to conceal the truth or reveal it, in a heartbeat she chose to reveal it. With anxiety clawing at her stomach walls she said as evenly as she could, 'Yes, Booth. Just before you left that day, we'd argued and you said that to me.'

He was more surprised that they'd argued than anything else, so asked, 'Bout?'

'About…?' Booth nodded earnestly. She sighed. 'I don't know what we argued about. We'd been doing that fairly regularly, if I'm honest,' she explained sorrowfully.

'Be onest…' he urged.

Studying his expectant expression, she realised he needed her to be his conduit: an anchor to a past he couldn't yet remember. So she became that for him. 'We argued about where to live, the décor, whether I should go back to work or not, if I should breastfeed or express, money, to marry or not, how to dig over the garden… We just argued, Booth,' she said with a forlorn sigh.

With the spectre of Charlie haunting his eyes, he asked, scared of her reply, 'No ssex?'

Feeling her eyes well, she shook her head slightly. 'No - no sex either, or kisses, or affection.' Booth looked horrified and utterly confused at those revelations. His heart twisted painfully, sensing the hurt she must have felt.

With the gates open she went on gently, 'I thought you'd changed your mind about being my life partner. After Christine was born I was heavy, and suffered very badly with cracked areolas, I thought that repulsed you. I know my self esteem was at a low ebb and I was emotional with post-natal hormones, but something was very wrong with you - something you couldn't or wouldn't discuss with me.' Those tenderly spoken confessions traumatised him.

Shaking his head, bewildered, he held her tighter, needing her as his tether to the truth. 'Oh. Bones, don't 'member diss,' he sobbed, searching her face for the reasons, while his haunted eyes streamed.

'I know, Booth, I know. Oooh. Don't cry - please, don't cry.' Bones gathered him to her as close as possible, and gently stroked his back to calm him. He nuzzled into her as he wept. Bones eased him with a cryptic, 'I'll have all the answers you need very soon.' Booth sniffed, and looked up into her eyes. She wiped his tears away tenderly, then said with a smile, 'Then you'll remember, and we can start again.'

'Do yoo 'ant to - Ium only 'alf a man now?'

She tenderly held his face in her palms, and stared deep into him, as she asserted, 'I love you, Booth, with all my being. And you're not half a man, don't think that, ever. You're not to worry about any of this. Promise me you'll not worry.' Booth nuzzled again, placing delicate kisses on her smooth neck, genuinely eased. 'Christine, Parker and everyone wants you as well as you can get. We know it will take time and it won't be easy, but together we'll have a good life and a happy one,' she said positively.

He looked up again to say passionately, 'I l-uve you, uv oo so 'uch it hurts.'

Bones shone a hot smile at him. Putting on her self important expression, she informed egotistically, 'I'm not surprised, I'm exceptionally loveable.' Booth grinned finally, loving how cute she was being with him. Cuddling him close, she began waffling again, 'Now - have I recounted the episode when Christine defecated on me? It was quite amusing actually. Imagine the scene…'

Booth sighed, safe in her embrace, and listened to her silky caramel tone. He realised she wasn't exaggerating when she said she'd been lonely. She continued to tell him everything as if she hadn't spoken to a soul in years. It was as if she'd been storing up all these tales especially for him and now she could, she was letting it all out.

Warm, held and infused with her scent, he began to float somewhere irresistible and serene. Booth heard her voice become increasingly smaller and quieter, then began to drift away on it.

Chapter XXI

Home

It was a mild day again but a gentle southerly breeze had picked up over night and the pale pink blossom on the cherry tree was falling like confetti across the lush front lawn. It was a halcyon scene in complete contrast to what was happening behind the front doors of the property.

Christine was hollering her morning joys, and as per usual throwing more food than she was eating around the kitchen. Booth was attempting to feed her although she had other ideas, while Bones was making him scrambled eggs for breakfast. The stereo was on and attempting to drown out the clanking of toys; hissing gas stoves, giggles, and tossed bowls hitting the floor. Bones was humming to the current tune on the digital radio adding to the crescendo. It wasn't an ugly scene rather an average morning in a busy family home.

As the cacophony grew louder Bones spun with the cooked eggs in the pan, and placed them on his plate. She looked to Booth, seeing he was grinning madly at her with baby rice splattered over his face, and totally uncaring. It was as if Christine had anointed him and now he was a fully fledged member of her elite club. Bones beamed back his joyous smile, and shouted over the din in a touched way, 'Isn't this wonderful?' Booth snorted, and nodded firmly to agree. 'Eat up!' she instructed, and took over feeding Christine who was giggling manically at her excellent shot.

Booth began to eat, as he watched Bones wag a chastising finger in Christine's face, kissed her nose, then wiped her down much to Christine's distaste. She then rinsed the cloth, and quickly wiped Booth's face as he stuck his chin out to assist her cleaning.

'I've got to go out for an hour or so this morning, will you be ok with Christine?' she asked, looking into him for his answer. Booth nodded solidly, sipping milk. 'Good.' Then she was off again, while efficiently feeding Christine spoon after spoon of milky porridge oats, 'You've got physio at eleven and Claude at twelve for your massage. But I'll be back before they arrive, I'm sure.' Again Booth nodded, recalling his appointments.

Enamoured, he watched as Bones timed each spoonful to coincide with Christine's mouth opening for more. As she dribbled Bones scooped up the excess, and plied her with more. It was clear they had a simpatico that he was going to have to learn fast if he was to be as proficient a feeder as Bones obviously was.

'Have you taken all your medications? Remember to take the steroid after breakfast.' Bones didn't wait for his reply. 'I'll change Christine before I leave but she'll need another before I return, I suspect. Everything you require is in the nursery.' Booth nodded, taking another mouthful of his cheesy scrambled egg. 'The groceries should be delivered at ten, they put them away so you don't have to worry or help. I'll assist you on with the papoose before I leave so you can keep her close. I've left you her feeding schedule and nap times and have expressed two bottles. They're in the fridge. Oh. And your cell is here, I'd carry it with you at all times - just as a precaution.'

The bowl of porridge was finished, Christine's mouth and hands cleaned and Bones was now putting all the dirty plates and bowls in the dishwasher. 'Did you manage in the shower ok?' she asked, looking over her shoulder to him. Booth gave her a look of you don't have to ask that. 'Yes, obviously you did…' She changed the subject, 'It's a lovely day out. Wendell made a ramp for the back door so you can go outside if you want. But don't be out too long and be careful not to over exert yourself.' Surfaces were being wiped down, toys picked up, and as he watched her, he began to feel dizzy as she dashed from one task to another. 'I thought while you nap after your treatments I'll get on with some more decorating. The guest rooms still need work and I need your input on what colour you want to paint Parker's room. He wants black, yellow and red - but I'm not sure he was being serious though...' she paused, looking off into the distance for a second, then was flitting around again, and talking, 'Anyway, on Wednesday evening I have to do a TV interview for a paper that I published in a journal recently.' Booth cocked an impressed brow at her, however she pouted. 'I've tried to get out of it, but the Jeffersonian hierarchy have put considerable pressure on me to attend. They think it will raise the profile of the institution, so I had to relent.' Finally she came to a halt beside him, and ran her hand over his shoulder, and asked, 'What would you like for lunch?'

Booth drew breath for her, and sniggered. He reached for her hand and she filled it with hers instantly. 'What is it' she asked, confused by his amusement.

'Iss me, Wunder-ooman,' he said cheekily, looking up into her flushed features.

Bones grinned shyly, sagged to calm, then pecked at his lips softly. Then she whispered against them, 'I'm just exhilarated to have you home finally. I'll only be an hour or so.'

'No 'ush. Give meh a chance to ook wound house - 'avent sseen it all.'

Bones un-strapped Christine from the high chair, and plonked her on her hip en route to change her in the nursery, 'Ok. But a lot of it isn't finished,' she warned. 'I've been waiting for you to come home before I made any major decisions!'

Finishing his eggs and milk, Booth looked around the kitchen. He noted it looked pristine and tidy again and considering what a mess there'd been, was amazed. He steered himself to the dishwasher, and loaded his plate, cutlery and glass. Seeing it full he put a tablet in, and turned it on. By the time he'd complete that small task she was back with Christine, changed and clean with the papoose in her other hand. 'Do you want her against you or facing away?' Bones asked.

'Awaay,' he chose. Bones nodded, and began to carefully put the papoose around his shoulders. 'Won't bweak,' he eased, noting how gentle she was being with him, as if she was afraid he would snap again. She avoided his gaze or a reply, then slipped Christine into it, and adjusted it. Booth put his hand on Christine's belly to make her feel secure and to his delight she looked up and around at him. He gave her a smile, and kissed the top of her head. Then to Bones' complete shock and horror Booth pushed the joystick forward, and shot off with her around the kitchen island. Christine began giggling, then rocking against him to go again when they came to a halt. Bones began to laugh as Booth did it again but Christine belly laughed this time.

Seeing the two most precious things in her life together and enjoying the simple fun, Bones felt her womb constrict and something inside her chest leapt. She didn't know what possessed her all of a sudden but she went to him, and kissed him solidly.

She swept her tongue along his lips, begging access, and he instantly opened up to her, then they parried tongues softly for a few heart stopping moments. Christine began to coo, and reached for her mommy's face. Still kissing him tenderly Bones took Christine's hand, and held it in hers. When they finally separated, Bones was tingling all over and back on her long given up, favoured drug again. Her imposed withdrawal had been agonising but with the first fall off the wagon, she felt breathless and positively charged with electrons. Booth mouthed and part whispered, 'Wow - I'd ffor-gotten 'oww good oo are at dat.'

Feeling giddy, and renewed, Bones smiled but with caution. 'Did I hurt you? I'm sorry if I hurt you,' she asked, crouching beside his chair, still playing with Christine's tiny hand. Christine watched her parents interact, swapping her gaze between them. Booth shook his head, and caressed Bones' cheek with his palm. Now Booth had an answer to her stilted affection yesterday and his paranoia waned a tad. 'I've been so worried about kissing you -,' she admitted, 'then I just ambush you like that, ha.' She laughed at her sudden loss of restraint.

'Oo can do dat any 'ime,' he said, waggling his brow suggestively. Bones snorted, then kissed his lips again and Christine's head with hums.

Standing, she picked up her keys, pack and phone. Booth followed her, slowly this time, as she made her way to the front door. 'Have fun you two,' she said, waving at Christine.

Booth waggled Christine's hand to wave back at her, croaking, 'Ave bye-bye, Mommy- bye-bye.' Bones pouted at the adorable scene, and yearned, not wanting to leave them. She stepped back over the threshold to kiss them both again.

'Bye…' Bones closed the door, and hurried to her car. Booth reversed down the hall again as Christine's excitement rose with their speed.

'More?' Booth asked Christine. She was already rocking on his lap, and raring to go, so Booth blissfully obliged her need for speed.

Coffee Cart

Agent Shaw looked over the rim of her iced hot chocolate at the joggers coming towards her, and spotted someone she thought she knew through the throng. Then she took a double take when she recognised the person jogging quickly towards her. She was in a vest top and yoga pants that clung to her curves and was colour co-ordinated to match the sunny day. 'Doctor Brennan, ho - my - God, you look so, so…'

Energised, Bones sat opposite her, and smiled like the cat that got the cream. 'So what?' she asked, taking out her ear plugs, and panting slightly.

'Happy, well, fit, rested, need I go on?'

'Haa. No. You're correct, I'm all of those. Although my fitness levels still need attention - hence the jogging. Would you like another?' Bones asked, pointing to her cup.

'No I'm fine, thanks. How's Agent Booth? I gather he's home now.'

'Yes, and doing very well. Much better than I'd imagined actually.' Bones changed the subject. 'I have news,' she informed secretively. 'Let me just get a juice and we can exchange information.' Bones proceeded to get herself a drink from the stand, and re-sat in a puddle of clear sunlight not impeded by the sycamores that surrounded their table.

Out of her small back pack she handed Shaw a box. Shaw took the silver box tied up with pink ribbon, already knowing what was inside it. She had to restrain herself from kissing the glowing doctor. She'd dreamt about her cookies, but was only slightly deflated when Bones said dismissively, 'Not cookies, two cup cakes this time - enjoy.' Bones urged her to open it with a nod towards the contents. Shaw didn't hesitate, already salivating. The cup cakes were huge, as light as a cloud and completely orgasmic but she didn't have time to tell her so because Bones divulged, 'I got a call from you-know-who...' Shaw's eyebrows rose nearly an inch; she wasn't expecting to hear from Charlie again so that surprised her. Bones nodded to acknowledge her incredulity, with an excited smile. Shaw began to chew slowly, savouring the delicious unexpected treat.

'She said she wants to leave. I told her I could help her and that she needed to leave soon.' Shaw understood her cryptic comment. 'Have you had any luck with her identity?' Shaw shook her head, not realising she had sweet cerise icing clinging to her cheek. Bones got a tissue from her pack, and wiped Shaw's cheek like a fussing mother hen, as she said, 'What did Hacker say?'

Mortified with embarrassment as the doctor had mopped her up like a child, she blushed, and reluctantly put the cup cake down to answer her, 'He's on board. He's had surveillance teams put on the clubs for a few days. He's hoping to discover if the counterfeiting is done on the premises.' Bones nodded, understanding that was a wise move.

Putting the tissue away again, she said, 'Good. When does he plan to go in?'

'Wednesday - barring any hitches.'

'Excellent -,' Bones said, looking off into the distance for a moment,'that gives him time…' Shaw took her opportunity in the lull, and took another bite of her cake. With mouth full again, and still blushing, Shaw looked confused, so Bones explained, 'I've asked Max to frequent the club and get himself into the poker game. He can report back to us if she's still there.'

'That's so risky, Doctor Brennan, he's in real danger. Most of the men in there were carrying weapons…'

'Don't concern yourself, my father can handle himself,' she said, dismissing Shaw's concerns. 'I've given him enough funds to sustain the rues. But I will need to know the precise time when the raid is to take place so I can warn him.'

'Understood.' Shaw nodded solidly.

'So, no progress on her identity then?' Shaw shook her head.

'No, not yet but I've still got a couple of things to try.'

'Pity. I was sure my description would yield results. But anyway, yesterday I had a flash of inspiration.' Bones flared her eyes, and retrieved something else from her pack. She handed the items carefully to Shaw in two small evidence bags under the table. Shaw looked around her then at the bags on her lap. It was the small photo of Booth she'd dropped in the poker room. Shaw looked up and so Bones went on, 'It's a long shot, but you have my fingerprints on record so can eliminate mine, but hopefully her thumb print will be on it. She picked it up and his lighter. Check both, again you have Booth's on file so…'

'Genius,' Shaw said impressed, tucking them safely away in her briefcase.

'Thank you, I know,' Bones said, furtively looking around for eavesdroppers. Then she ploughed on, 'Did you do the financial check?'

Shaw slouched, and carefully handed her a piece of paper from her briefcase like it was a ticking bomb. Anxiously she watched the doctors reaction as she read it. To her complete amazement, Bones smiled, and nodded hard once, saying, 'Yes, I knew it,' to punctuate her elation at being right.

'You expected me to find this out?'

'Yes - most definitely.'

Confused, Shaw shook her head. 'I'm sorry, Doctor Brennan, but this doesn't look good. It only confirms my suspicions about Booth's gambling. And to be frank, I'm astonished you want to help this - woman.'

'Why wouldn't I?' she asked, confused by Shaw's propensity for the dramatic.

'Be-cause - she's a fraudulent low-life. She's a cocaine addict, that is fully aware of an attempt to kill a Federal Agent, and knows the perpetrator of that crime. Plus all but admitted to having sex with your partner... I just don't understand your reasoning here…'

'Well, when you put it like that, it does seem I have every right to strap her to the chair and throw the switch,' Bones said dryly, and looked into her as Shaw nodded to agree. But Shaw had missed Bones' subtle sarcasm. So Bones leant forward over her crossed arms, and said quietly, 'But may I just clarify a few of those details?' Shaw nodded, starting on the second cup cake. 'Firstly, although Agent Booth is my life partner, we're not married and he has every right, as do I, to have other sexual partners if we choose. Yes, I agree that it's distressing when one partner, in a supposedly committed relationship, looks elsewhere for sex. But whatever your thoughts are on that, it's between those two people not anyone else to make judgments via their moral code.' Shaw shrugged to partially agree, and went to add something, but Bones was already talking again.

'Secondly, it was clear Charlie was under duress and extremely scared of her partner, so is it not reasonable to assume she fears for her life? And for all intense purposes, she's being held prisoner by her partner. As Federal Agents is it not our duty to protect and serve?'

'Yes, b-but,' Shaw stuttered, trying to clear her mouth of cake but too late because Bones wasn't waiting for her reactions.

'The fact that she takes cocaine is neither here nor there - half of Congress does for recreation.' Bones waved her elegant hand dismissively, then posed her another question to ponder, 'Does that make them low life's too? In fact, we should pity her addiction and try to rehabilitate her, surely?' Bones looked into her eyes, as she said, 'Incidentally, Agent Booth has a destructive addiction, so by that logic, we shouldn't try to help him either and just walk away?' Shaw shook her head, and just took another bite on a sigh, as she realised she wasn't supposed to answer her questions, just dwell on them.

'Finally, as to the attempted murder of a Federal Agent. I don't believe she knew till after the event that the crime had been committed or on whom. On two occasions now she's shown genuine remorse for what happened to Booth. I think that shows her true character as a deeply caring human being.' Then she conceded, 'Yes, Charlie obviously has some issues, but there again, does that mean none of us are worth a second chance - or even a third? I asked if she wanted help and she said she did, so, despite my personal issues or any prejudices I might have, I feel I'm duty bound to assist her in whichever way I can…'

Shaw digested her words for a few moments, then sat back, and remarked, 'You're more forgiving than me, Doctor Brennan.' Then asked intrigued to know, 'What faith are you - Catholic?'

'Haa! H'Oh. Haa! That's highly amusing, Agent Shaw! Very witty. Haa…' Shaw looked baffled by her reaction to her serious question. But she didn't have time to clarify it because the doctor was on her feet again, so she stood too. 'I must go. Text me cryptically when you have something for me. Good bye.' Bones popped her ear plugs in, then began jogging away from whence she came, like a sunbeam in rich yellow.

Shaw slumped back down again, and stared at the empty cake box, feeling deflated although disgracefully fattened. She found she really enjoyed the quirky doctors company and her baking slightly more. But she had done little to crack the case as Bones had made all the intuitive steps and then handed her the glory. Booth had mentioned to put her ego away once and she was determined not to feel inferior or dishonour that advice. She'd learnt and was learning so much from working with her and didn't want it to end. However she knew the climax of this case was close at hand. So with that thought she returned to the Bureau to try to lift the fingerprints from the objects she'd been handed.

Home

When Bones opened the door she didn't call out as she knew it was Christine's nap time. So she closed the door quietly, and made her way into the kitchen. They weren't in there so leaving her things on the counter, she made for the nursery. There was no sign they'd been in in there at all. It was very quiet and still in the house and she began to get a little concerned. Bones began to walk a little faster as she looked in the undecorated next two bedrooms. She began to wonder if something had happened to them while they'd been racing around like maniacs in his wheelchair and they were now in the ER with fractures, or worse. With her tension rising to almost fever pitch she knew there were only two other places they could be other than in hospital.

She opened the door of her study quickly, and scanned the room, she saw nothing. Then she listened at the door of the next room, it was then that she smiled, and all her irrational thoughts flew away. The room was a complete shambles as all the male accoutrements he'd wanted in his cave were scattered around the floor. Obviously he'd been playing with them and allowing Christine too by the look of it. Booth was sat on the huge comfy couch with Christine flat out next to him, and sleeping soundly. And more to the point without any broken limbs. Booth was watching his brand new fifty inch plasma screen and had a look of a man utterly content with his world. The football game was almost on mute but he seemed engrossed anyway without the cheering and commentary.

She thought about re-closing the door and leaving him to it but just before she turned, he looked over his shoulder to her. He pretended to melt in to a puddle signalling he loved his man cave constructed in his absence with input from Jared, Wendell and Jack. Bones said sweetly, 'You found it then?' and stood behind the couch and him, rubbing his shoulders softly. He looked up, and beamed at her, nodding wildly.

'Awe-sume, ffigg-ing awe-sume,' he hailed. Then he puckered his lips, and closed his eyes for her to kiss him, and she didn't have a problem with that request. She leant down, and kissed his lips innocently, holding them there, and feeling his warmth penetrate hers. He mouthed over her lips, and reached behind her head, and pulled gently, clearly wanting her to deepen it. Again she didn't have an issue with that, and blissfully obliged their inverted sensuous kiss.

Eventually he slowed his swirling tongue, and tasted her lips on his lips with a swipe of his tongue. 'Juicy,' he said, confirming her taste. She nodded, with a smile.

'Orange juice. I went for a run and ran some errands. Whose winning?' she asked, looking at the screen.

'Oo shmell ffress,' he observed, kissing her lips again as she peppered his softy and slowly while having one eye on the game.

'Liar. I smell of perspiration. I'm going to take a shower. I'll put Christine in the nursery. Physio is due in ten minutes,' she reminded. 'Tivo the game - you can watch it later.' Booth nodded, and held her hand for as long as he could until she picked up Christine, and disappeared.

As she placed Christine down, she realised, so far, their affection seemed to have been back to what it was when they first became a romantic couple. Those thoughts put a bounce in her step and a sunny smile on her lips.

Leaving the nursery she headed towards their bedroom, where she stripped, and went straight into the shower. By the time she was rinsing her hair for the second time she was joyfully humming her second show tune. The power shower cascade was so loud and steamy she didn't notice that the door of the bathroom had opened on her first Porgy & Bess tune.

Unbeknown to her Booth had wheeled himself in to watch her. He had a good motive for his voyeurism. He remembered he always got aroused when he watched her, and was hoping the same would happen this time too. With his memory serving him well, he recalled several passionate encountered they'd shared under a shower in his and her apartment. Her body, to him, was eternally provocative and seductive. Her peach-like buttocks were pert and round, her skin fragrantly smooth and as plush as velvet. Even the slide of her spine and the spread of her hips were enticing and titillating him now, although her edges were blurred. He was having all the right physical reactions watching her. But as he continued to stare at her now; soaped up and washing her hair out, he felt nothing in the place he most wanted and needed to. So it was with a melancholy heart, he reversed slowly backwards to leave her to her privacy.

Just as he was about to close the door, she said sympathetically, 'It's too soon, Booth… You're putting too much pressure on yourself.' She looked over her shoulder to see him nod with his head down, and deflated herself. Once he was gone she rested her brow on the tiles, and closed her eyes, hurting for him and herself.

Later

Bones waved goodbye to Booth's masseur from the front door with Christine on her hip. She'd been told that both sessions went well, but Booth had worked a little too hard and had to be told to not to push himself on the weights. His grit and determination were admirable she'd been told but he'd exhausted and frustrated himself in the process. The masseur had soothed his aching muscles and helped him into the shower afterwards. Now he was having a nap on the their bed and regenerating himself, she'd been told. She didn't disturb him, choosing to get on with some gardening as it was such a lovely mild day.

Putting Christine in her stroller, she positioned her under a large tree with a few toys, and began digging over a patch of soil which she intended to be planted up with herbs. She'd purchased the herbs on the way back from her jog this morning, so once the soil was sufficient tilled, she began planting them in. Before each was planted she stroked a little of the herb across Christine's cheek and let her smell each one. As she did she told her its name, the Latin genus and what each herb was used for and gave her a lesson on each. Christine seemed to enjoy the different aromas and feel of the herbs and cooed regularly or giggled when they tickled. She watched her mother planting the herbs, clearly fascinated by her conversation although she'd no idea what she was saying.

'Now, Christine, this one, in ancient Persia was used…' Bones trailed off as her phone sounded in her back pocket. She pulled off her gloves to retrieve it, noting Christine was still extremely content but had discarded her shady hat for the ninth time. So she put it back on her head for the tenth, as she answered the phone.

'I got a name,' Shaw said at a rush, obviously excited to give her the news.'I lifted a right index from the lighter and got a hit. Charlene DeCosta. 26, arrested for cocaine possession and driving under the influence. First offence, bailed, fined. Then, a month later she was reported missing by her wealthy father, which was six years ago. He's been looking for her ever since.'

Elated and totally impressed, Bones praised, 'That was exceptionally fast, Agent Shaw. Well done. Have you contacted him yet?'

'I was just about to.'

'No, don't,' Bones insisted firmly, which confused Shaw.

'But…'

'I know what you're going to say. Everything is telling you to contact him but this is very important, you can't - not yet. You have to trust me on this, Britney,' Bones said esoterically, looking over her shoulder towards the house. She heard Shaw's heavy sigh at her cuffing her again, and felt pangs of guilt. 'There's a logical reason for this. If something should go wrong in the raid and we've told her father to expect her return his grief will be unimaginable, and possibly his wrath. Better that he's unknowing before she is free and safe.' Accepting that as reasonable, Shaw nodded, mute.

'What do you want me to do now then?'

'Tell no one that you know her real name - not even Hacker. And good luck on Wednesday, Miss Doolittle.' Bones ended the call abruptly without so much as a goodbye, as her mind shifted into top gear as smoothly as a Lamborghini.

Slack-jawed, Shaw looked at her dead cell, then feeling impotent she grit her jaw, and growled with exasperation.

Seconds after ending that call Bones dialled another number. Staring into Christine's eyes, which reminded her so much of Booth's, she waited for it to connect. 'Dad - Wednesday night - time to be advised.'

'Rodger-that,' Max said, saluting her from a distance. Bones rolled her eyes, hearing his silly acknowledgment, but ended that call just as succinctly because Ange wheeled Michael into the garden. Quickly Bones tucked her cell away again, and put her next call on hold until later.

Christine lit up, seeing another small person, and began to reach for her mommy to get her out.

'Hi, Bren - I used my key. I've decided we're having a play date. You don't mind do you?'

Pecking her cheek, Bones replied heartily, 'Absolutely not! I'm delighted you're here. I need to talk to you. Coffee?' Ange nodded, as she spread out a large rug, and sat Michael on it. Bones went off to make them a drink, and Ange unhooked Christine then laid her on the rug too.

At first the small people just stared at one another then Michael became more curious, then went onto all fours, and gingerly crawled over to Christine. She started to flap her limbs about and get hugely excited as he peered into her face. Christine rolled deftly onto her stomach, and began trying to simulating Michael as he agilely crawled about.

Bones returned with a tray of mixed cookies and cup cakes, along with a pot of coffee. 'Oh. How adorable, Christine seems elated to see Michael again,' Bones observed, then she sat with her legs stretched out, and sat Christine up against her between them.

Ange agreed with, 'Yeah, they're so cute.'

Bones nodded happily, asking, 'Do you think I should allow Booth to manually stimulate me to orgasm?' Ange's jaw dropped, and she slowly looked at her, after rapidly covering Michael's ears. As Bones poured the coffee, she glanced to her, and smiled at a puzzled Michael.

'Don't beat around the bush, Bren, just say what's on your mind, why don't ya?'

'I assume by your expression that was sarcasm,' she asked rhetorically. Ange shut her mouth, and took a double chocolate chip cookie off the plate. Bones pushed, 'Well, should I?'

'Hang on a moment,' Ange cautioned with her mouth full. 'I assume you've already decided not to allow him to-to…' Ange flapped her cookie hand, not wanting to say the words. However Bones had no qualms or, in her opinion, such unnecessary sensibilities.

'Manually stimulate me - yes,' Bones confirmed brazenly. 'I've thought about it and I told him the truth, that I felt uncomfortable when he couldn't reach orgasm. It just feels selfish.'

'What did he say when you revealed this pearl of wisdom?'

'Sarcasm again?' Ange gave her a wonky grin. 'He said that it would make him feel happy if I was happy. Then things went off track again. We didn't return to the subject.'

'Well, if you want my honest opinion.' Bones nodded, sipping her coffee. 'I think you're the one being selfish…' Shocked, Bones snapped her eyes to hers. Ange explained, 'If it does make him feel good to give you that kind of pleasure then surely anything to improve his self-esteem and wellbeing its surely worth the huge sacrifice you'll be making.'

'Do you do anything other than sarcasm?'

'No - live with it, Bren.'

'Ok.' They both laughed at one another, then Bones said sounding bashful, 'We've been kissing - just like we used to, and we talked a great deal last night. He remembered some things. Specific words seemed to trigger his suppressed memories. Some positive, some negative - but it's a start.'

'Yes it is. That's wonderful, Bren.' Bones grinned, kissing Christine's head as she reached for the cookie Ange was munching her way through, and whimpered. Seeing her eagerness to try the sweet treat, Ange asked, 'Shall I give her some?'

'No, Ange!' Bones scolded, horrified at the thought. 'But she can have a little sponge from the cup cakes, its sugar free.'

Astonished, Ange queried disbelievingly, 'You are joking?' She reached for a cup cake, and peeled off a little of the sponge, and gave her a tiny bit.

'No. They're sugar free,' Bones assured, watching as Christine put it straight into her mouth. 'Its just the icing that's ninety eight percent sugar.'

Michael crawled over to Christine again, and watched her mashing the sponge on her tongue. Carefully he reached into her mouth to pick off the sponge, and put it in his own mouth. Ange was chuckling as she gave some more to Christine and Michael his own. Then gallantly Michael gave his bit to Christine, she took it, staring into his eyes, and made an ooo-ing noise. Both Bones and Ange screwed up their faces to recognize how cute that was. 'Its love,' Bones said sweetly. They watched the babies interact and for another few moments, and enjoying the warm, butterfly-filled day, then Bones said, 'I have something else I need to ask you…'

'Wait!' Ange ordered, and covered Michael's ears again, then said, 'Go on.' Bones slumped a little, and gave her a nudge with her elbow.

'What do I do to him?'

'Oh. You mean when he's…' Ange was waving her hand aimlessly again.

'Yes, precisely. I don't know if I should try to stimulate him or not. I'm uncertain because what if he gets upset when he can't get aroused?'

'Oooo. Good point, Bren... My advice - play it by ear. You can be loving towards him without trying to stimulate him, can't you?'

'Oh. Yes. That won't be an issue - I do love him.'

'That much is obvious. Are we done - cos I'd like to let my son hear the birds and woodland creatures now?'

'Haa. Yes, we're done.' Bones gave her another elbow nudge.

Chapter XXII

Home

Bones was getting concerned as Booth seemed to be taking an extraordinary long time in the bathroom. She'd already twice primed her throat to call out to asked if he was ok but thought better of it, and shut her mouth. As she lay in her nightshirt and shorts, she couldn't decide whether to take them off or leave them on either. Normally they both slept naked, but she'd decided before he came home she wasn't going to distract him by being so. But she also considered whether by leaving them on she was sending a message of: don't touch me intimately. Then she realised her paranoia was increasing when she thought that maybe he was waiting for her to fall asleep and then he would come to bed. She didn't want to question the reason he might want her to do that either. Her discussion with Ange this afternoon was still running around her mind and usually mixing her up.

She flinched when he called out, 'Be out in a min-ute,' seemingly understanding she might be concerned.

'Ok -,' she said brightly, then as casually as she could, 'no rush.' Then she promptly grimaced, knowing that sounded really lame and exaggerated. To her joy and equal deep apprehension he purred out of the bathroom moments later. She didn't know whether to look at him or not, and twitched not knowing what to do for the best.

'Sorwee - Claude insissted dat I twy dis sssuff on my ssscars. Vit-min B cweam, he weckons itz good. Took me 'oody ages, got ssscars evey-'were.' Relieved by his explanation, Bones finally relaxed.

'I thought you might be avoiding me or waiting for me to fall asleep before you came to bed...'

Booth huffed to dismiss her paranoia, and shot her a glance, but realised she might be serious. When she smiled in grimace form he shook his head, and wagged a finger at her. 'Ssop dat,' he chastised, and swung his naked self onto the bed with a groan.

'Have you taken your pain relief and anti-inflammatory?' Booth was adjusting his legs, and grunted his annoyance because he had forgotten. Now he knew why he felt so sore. 'I'll get them - you relax.' Bones was up, and popping his pills out, and pouring him some water from his crystal flask in seconds. She didn't catch that he was watching her intently. He took them from her palm, and tossed the down his throat with a mouthful of water. His eyes followed her as she trotted around the bed again, and got back under the covers, already talking, 'It was lovely to see Michael and Christine together. They were very affectionate towards one another, I thought.' Booth hummed a distracted reply, staring at the ceiling now. She watched him from her side on position, and wondered what he was thinking. 'Your treatments went well, I'm told...' He hummed again, but looked towards her now. She smiled quickly, and held it. Then he looked away back to the ceiling. Bones sighed, asking, as she propped up onto an elbow, 'What's wrong, Booth? Are you still concerned about what happen, or rather, what didn't happen in the shower?' He hummed again, and nodded slightly. 'Ooh,' she pined, then snuggled up to him, placing her hand on his chest to caress him. 'Don't be sad. Like I said, it's still early days. You have to be patient.' He hummed again less powerfully this time though. She looked into his face, and saw tears brimming on his lids like amber gems coloured by the bedside lamp.

'I can't t-t uch oo either,' he said painfully, and clearly hurt as a lonely tear rolled down his cheek. Seeing it, she felt her heart tweak.

'Of course you can touch me, Booth. We can kiss, and touch - if you want.' Then she smoothed his chest with her palm, as she added coyly, 'You can touch me intimately if you'd like...' Booth's pupils dilated, and he stared into her for confirmation. She explained unbearably cutely, feeling her heartbeat in her fingertips, 'I've re-evaluated things since we discussed it last night.' Booth cocked a brow. 'I want you to be happy, and if making me happy makes you happy, well then - make me happy.'

'Dats lots of appy's.' Bones started to chuckle, and nuzzled his neck. To her deep relief his arms curled around her tightly. He rolled onto his side, and smiled, readjusting his embrace.

'That's better,' she said, stroking his smile softly with her index finger. Then she kissed him delicately, innocently. His head lifted to follow her lips as she eased away slowly to look into his eyes. 'Again?' He nodded keenly, watching her expression as she kissed him again, this time more sensuously. The slow slide of their tongues made him rumble deeply in his throat, and start to explore the contours of her spine which ruffled up her baggy night shirt.

Naturally her response to his exploratory touch was predictable; her blood started to run faster as her heart rate increased. Feeling the sweet tingle between her legs, and knowing what his intension was, only made her feel more urgent. Struggling to keep her ardour in check, she found herself moaning softly, and kissed a little more insistently. Flexing against him, her hand meandered over his torso, and picked out the peaking of his flat nipples which made hers peak too. 'Have I told you - I love to kiss you?' she whispered against his wet lips.

Surprised by her candour, Booth searched her twinkling eyes, and shook his head, but delved back into that soft wet cavern with is tongue, groaning into her responsive mouth. They began a long, sweeping, intense kiss which he felt quicken her heart against his chest, and smelt her rich scent thicken.

Booth's large hand crept under her shorts, and cupped a buttock firmly but then stilled. She crooned her displeasure of his stopping to tease her to heighten her passion. Breaking the kiss, she shook her head, pleading, 'Please don't tease - not this time.' That wasn't the reason he'd stopped. His newly knitted wrist fracture had tweaked and caused him a stab of pain. But hearing her plea tore at his soul, and he grunted through it. He immediately drew his hand over her quivering stomach. Again she flexed her body against him as his hand disappointingly went north. Parts of her were watering, broiling with heat and so sensitised she couldn't stay still. She'd forgotten how good he was with his hands, but it was all coming back to her now, so she told him, 'I've missed your wonderful hands, Booth.'

Rewarding her rare compliments, Booth cupped a breast gently, then kneaded the responding flesh. She gasped, and lanced him with her eyes, as he remarked erotically now, 'Big-er - ssoff-ter - ssex-ier.' The front teeth he'd not yet had replaced created a gap which made him lisp on his S's and she thought it was the sexiest thing she'd ever heard. It sent an electric current up her spine to stiffen it, and whimpered, revealing her strengthening arousal.

Instinctually she wanted to let her hand go south on him but knew she'd find nothing but a flaccid organ. Knowing his disappointment and hers would ruin this, she gradually brought it up to his face instead, and caressed him delicately. 'I've dreamt of you touching me but I didn't touch myself.' His eyes widened in surprise yet again. Out of a misguided sense of unity, she'd decided if he was unable to experience orgasm, neither would she while he was in hospital. Hence her ridiculous decision not to let him pleasure her, he realised.

'Not hell-fey,' he scolded tenderly, narrowing his eyes at her. Blushing, she nuzzled into his cheek, hearing him breathing in her scent deep into his lungs. She didn't want to tell him she hadn't felt like self-pleasuring with all that had been thrown at her, as that might upset him. But Booth already understood her reasons and was why he was determined now to give her a small escape.

To her mounting excitement he began to edge his hand downwards. Trembling with anticipation, she began humming her encouragement on each soft exhale. Her flesh quivered with long held tension under his palm and when he finally brushed over her strip of springy curls she froze. Snapping her flaming eyes open, she brazenly opened her legs wider to encourage him onwards. But she was burning up, and felt restricted under the material. He understood her frustration, and instructed empathetically, 'Take 'em off.'

With chest heaving, and hands trembling, she lifted her pelvis, and pushed the material down. His hand never left her hot centre as she did. Once at her knees she kicked them away slowly, while sweetly pecking his lips.

Naked below the waist yet still shrouded in the bed covers, her hand caressed his sensitized nipples. 'You make me feel very special, Booth. You're such a generous lover,' she idolised, whispering into his ear, and nibbling his lobe. A guttural moan escaped him as shivers ran his spine caused by her tongue's exploration of his ear and her feelings vocalised. 'Your strong hands have always excited me. They stir my passion for you and I feel treasured and safe in them.'

Hearing her say these things to him for the first time touched him deeply, more deeply than he expected. She was still holding true to their previous arrangement to tell each other rather than just assume with a lingering look. Assumption was one thing, he thought, but having these insights into her true feelings was akin to hearing her soul whisper to him. In the past it was obvious she relished their love making: by the way she freely gave herself over to him to explore and mutually enjoy. But this showed she was opening herself up to him emotionally, and by that, a new level of intimacy was building between them. Booth felt reassured and vitalized by that deepening of their relationship.

On her next revelation, 'Consequently, I've yearned for your touch - pined for it,' his passion flared like a match igniting. Not wanting her to pine any longer, suddenly he parted her slippery petals, and swiftly drove inside her with two long warm fingers . She snapped her lips together to muffle her hedonic cry, and arched to the melodic cords of it.

Booth felt a hot luxuriant gush leave her depths while her inner body clung to his fingers, and proved her statements. He was inside her again, and could feel and see her joy which made him feel renewed. 'Oooh, Bones, oo make angels weep with envy - oou're sso beaut-ful,' he said in worship as she clenched her core hard to hold him there on that spot. Hearing him deify her heart swelled fit to burst. She wanted to thank him but he kissed her so passionately, snatching the breath from her completely. Bones began a continuous hum, as she rolled her pelvis around slowly to build on her already deep pleasure.

He couldn't help but notice her eyes had turned misty and dark and watched him from under her heavy lashes. She began to lose the rhythm of their dance as his tempo increased, and her climax built fast, 'Mind-mind your wrist,' she panted caringly.

'Ssop worrying,' he calmed, making her eyes widen, turning her on more with his lisp. Ignoring her sweet caution, he rolled against her getting as much contact with her feverish skin as possible. The scent of her increased and he became dizzy on it, and rubbed his torso against her solid nipples. Sliding her palm down his arm, she caressed the hand that was pleasuring her so sensitively; thanking him for his generosity.

'Ar oo 'appy?' he asked, seeing her begin to lose focus as she began to effervesce with feel-good hormones.

'Yes -,' she said breathlessly, rolling her head on the pillow, 'deliriously.' Ego charged Booth placed his thumb over her slippery bud, then circled it in a cripplingly slow turn, encouraging it to bloom. She whimpered again, sobbing her pleasure, and snapped her lips to his. The tension in her body was almost painful as her breathing became so shallow she felt wondrously faint. It didn't surprise him at her how fast she was racing towards her peak after her long abstinence. Heightening all his senses, she burrowed her eyes in his. 'Just- a - moment - longer,' she encouraged, setting her jaw ready to take the savage hit they both knew was coming. Eager to please, Booth sped up his critical thumb caress, and moments later she breathed, 'Its - here…'

Egging her on, he whispered, 'Sshow it ta me…'

Booth groaned with delight, seeing her beautiful face crumple which signalled her long held release. Open mouthed against his lips; the pressure tore from her muscles in a bliss-filled torrent. 'No-one-compares,' she declared on her sizzling zenith. That admission shot volts up his spine now to make his hair stand on end; then like warm treacle the tantalizing sensation trickled throughout his body. Wet heat drenched his hand and her soft inner body convulsed on his fingers, drawing him inwards. He didn't resist the pull but went with it in the same cadence. Sober of his own, every nuance of her climatic state bewitched, thrilled and honoured him.

He whispered in her face as she trawled through his eyes with hers, drunk with ecstasy, 'Oo ar my liffe, my heart-beat.' Bones felt her eyes brim, and kissed her way over his tender face, bathing him in her hot breaths with gratitude. That was precisely what she needed to hear confirmed; to know he still thought she was.

Sapped of strength, Bones gradually began to wilt against him. Booth remained inside and still, until he felt every last tremor evaporate. He saw her trying to keep her eyes open and not surrender to the sleep she needed to start another day. As he withdrew, he caressed her sopping mound, making her twitch and cautiously smile.

Greedy, he pleaded into her ear through her soft tossed hair, 'One more before oo ssleep -,' then added dotingly, 'now I've warmed oo up…'

Opening an eye, she grinned, knowing this had been the right thing to do for him. Her change of heart was clearly justified by the positive energy his expression oozed. 'Ok... Wait-a-moment - let me plateau,' she explained, still recovering her breath. She could see his eyes were twinkling and he had a passion to please smouldering in them. 'So un-fit,' she added humorously, to clarify her long recovery time. He began to laugh in her ear softly, then garnished her serene face and moist neck with kisses.

Impatient, Booth whispered, 'Roll over for me.' Immediately her pulse rate doubled again, understanding what he was about to do, and hummed sensually. She could rarely resist his erotic commands when said with such heat. So she rolled away from him, but looked back over her shoulder as he almost spooned her. As his hand slid between her buttocks, she closed her eyes, and flexed backwards onto his slippery hand. Trembling, she lifted her knee to open herself to him metaphorically and physically. 'Weady again?' he asked.

'Very,' she just managed. With passion flaring again Booth bit a savage kiss on her shoulder, while slipping his thumb inside her, and pressed down on her G spot. 'Arrh,' she crooned, and clamped her core down on his thick digit. Then his other fingers massaged through her labia to her clitoris.

'I'm sooo glad I taught you this technique,' she muttered wantonly, then stole a riotous kiss from his chuckling mouth. Then she snapped away to gasp for the rarefied air.

'I did it to oo ffirst, 'member?' he corrected, while his frisky fingers and thumb worked their practical magic.

'Yes, but I-I, umm, refined it.'

'What-ever,' he said amiably, amused at the irrelevance of their affectionate bantering. Already knowing, he then asked cheekily, sensing her start to peak again, 'What did we call dis again?'

Suddenly she grasped the bed frame behind her head with a clink of her mothers dolphin ring, needing to hang onto something before she took off. 'Opposable-th-u-mb-strum,' she hiccupped, rocking her lithe pelvis to his heavenly rapid massage. Then she started to melt again over his fingers and held her breath as the stronger, deeper climax ripped through her.

Booth always felt a sense of coup d'art when in these climatic moments she cried out, Jesus or Christ. But this time however, she exulted his sexual prowess with, 'Oh-my-God-Booth…' He thought that exclamation entirely appropriate, and triumphantly watched her soar again.

Once the luscious internal lightening storm had passed, she rolled back over quickly, and cradled him to her, panting in the crook of his neck. Kissing his neck with her eyes closed, she sighed with utter contentment. Booth's gallant smirk couldn't be chiselled off his face as he wallowed in her tender pulsating glow.

'Mmm. I don't know what I was thinking - this is sooo much better than waffles,' she mumbled. Booth dragged his head back, obviously totally perplexed. Seeing his confusion, she grinned, kissed his lips, and was about to enlighten him when Christine snuffled. They pricked their ears to listen to the monitor. They heard her whimper and moan a little, which froze their mutual caressing. Holding their breaths, they stared into one another, waiting to see if she went off again. But she didn't, and heard her whimpers turn to sobs, then she began to cry. 'You go,' Bones said with a cheeky smile.

'Ok,' he said ordinarily, and began untangling himself from her snug embrace. Horrified, Bones pushed his torso back down gently, and pecked his lips.

'I was being humorous. Stay here, Valentino.' Bones flared her eyes at him seductively, sweetly flattering him.

'Don't mind,' he confirmed seriously. Bones flicked the covers back, and grabbed her robe which was hanging over the frame at the end of the bed.

'Yes, I know,' she said pleasantly, tying up her robe knot, noting her thighs felt weak. 'But I'm concerned that you'll take her for a midnight spin around the garden path. Then she'll never go back to sleep,' she accused knowingly.

Booth rolled back flat to the bed, and rested his head on his palms, grinning. 'Oo know me ssso well, don't ya?'

Tucking the monitor in her pocket, Bones left the room, saying quietly, 'Better than you'll ever know,' and closed the door behind her.

Nearly Dawn

Bedroom

Booth woke with a start, and looked to his right. Bones was up already and he could hear her in the bathroom. He lifted the cover, then snapped it back over himself.

'B-Bones!' he called with a rustic croak. 'Bo-ones!' he called louder this time, with more urgency and clarity. She came charging in with a huge fluffy white towel hastily wrapped around her, and toothbrush in hand.

Panicked, she asked, 'What's-happened, What's wrong?' Booth turned on the lamp bedside his bed, and beamed at her like the imminent sunrise.

Seeing him tenting the covers, she said, clearly startled, 'Oh! Umm. You have a… yes, I see.' Booth waggled his brows. She didn't quite know what to do but by the way he was grinning she thought she'd wait for him to suggest something. 'Right, well, that's most definitely an erection.'

'Haa. Lose da towel, Bones, I want oo,' he urged, holding out his hand for her to take. The open invitation wasn't refused, but she was now extremely nervous.

As she edged closer, she modestly dropped the towel causing him to rumble deeply in his chest. Taking his hand, she stuttered, 'I never expected - but - I'm not ready, Booth... Is this wise, I mean - what if I injure you?' Dismissing her concerns with a shake of his head, he kept on smiling, tugging her closer.

Flicking the covers back, Booth presented like a rogue stallion. They both looked at his twitching cock then at each other again. 'Ok -,' she said flatly, 'I'm ready.' Booth began to chuckle, immeasurably flattered by her subtext.

'Never ssseen oo ssscared of my cock 'efore.'

'I'm not scared of your penis,' she corrected tremulously, then explained, 'Just concerned I might do some irreversible damage.' Although her sentiment was just, she was already straddling his thighs carefully, which made a mockery of her statement. Her heart began to pound in her chest, and the thought of them connecting again overwhelming. It had been so long since they'd been intimate this way she'd given up counting off the weeks; never expecting it to happen again. She'd just begun to come to terms with their new reality but this development had flipped her world around again.

Seeing the turmoil in her he empathised: he couldn't imagine what she'd been through these last few months. 'It'z ok, Bones,' he sweetly eased her. Watching her wet her fingers with saliva and deposit the moisture on her centre, he groaned again. Seeing her touching herself always made him physically excited and now was no exception.

Trembling slightly, Bones carefully positioned herself and his erection on her throbbing labia. Carefully she rubbed his silky hood through her folds up to slippery clit. The feel of his hard flesh burning in her fingers heightened her excitement but also tempered it, as a worrying thought crossed her mind. She looked into him; he was still smiling, and caressing her thighs. Bones asked with hope, 'Can you feel that?' Booth shook his head but to her confusion he kept smiling. 'No, I meant can you feel me on your glands?' Again he shook his head, and continued to smile. She deflated a little, saddened he wasn't feeling her, and bit her bottom lip anxiously.

Booth understood she was upset that this was going to be another one sided encounter, so placated her altruistically, 'Don't need to.' Bones rolled her head on her shoulders, obviously discouraged. Booth caressed her cheek caringly, she rested her cheek in his tender palm, and looked into him through bleary eyes. 'Pleze, Bones, make luv ta me, ffor me,' he encouraged with a plea to her in his smile and eyes this time.

Despite her reservations, it appeared her body was forcing the issue. She felt her folds flood and clamour, urging her to meld with him. Starved of him for too long and needing to be whole again, Bones leant over him, staring into his depthless, toffee-soft eyes. Booth nodded slightly, urging her on with a gentle, 'S'ok,' while caressing her buttocks with each palm. Then, with apprehension etched across her face, she eased her hips down to take him inside. As his wide ridge spread her open so did her mouth gape with the sumptuous sensation of becoming part of him again. He felt like a lost companion returning and she rejoiced in his homecoming with a soft laboured drawn breath. When she settled right down and he filled the yearning emptiness inside her, she sighed it out.

Booth saw her allow her eyes to briefly close to the solace she felt in that glorious sensation, and was moved witnessing it. She desperately hoped he was experiencing the same sensation that was inundating her now. Connecting again with his eyes, quivering and terrified of hurting him, she asked, 'Ca-can you feel me now?'

'Heat -,' he explained what he did sense, 'pwess-sure.' Booth changed the subject, seeing a flicker of crushing disappointment that crossed her doe-y eyes, and that she was indeed scared, 'Do I ffeel good in-sside?' Curiously understating, Bones nodded, and grinned tentatively. Then he realised she was doing that for his benefit, touched, he declared, 'I luv oo.'

Kissing him again, she whispered against his lips, 'I love you too.' Bones relaxed a little, but still instructed him to, 'Tell me if your pelvis hurts, won't you?' Booth nodded, gliding his eyes across her full breasts, and following her contours by brushing his fingers down her curvaceous edges. Subtly she began to move her hips, trying very hard not to put too much weight on him. 'I didn't dare hope, Booth,' she confessed, stroking over his jaw, and kissing him softly. He hummed to sympathise, while his hands went to her breasts, and began caressing them reverently.

'Won't break,' he told her, unselfishly encouraging her to enjoy what he could offer her. 'Append 'effore - fu days go. I sssocked Mary.' He cocked a cheeky brow at her, trying to lighten the mood.

Bones laughed softly now, realising that's what Mary wanted to tell her when she explained he felt tingling. But that laugh drained away as she ran her hands over his face then onto his throat scar. She ached now, still haunted by the trauma of those dreadful hours. 'I thought you'd hate me - I thought…'

'Ssssh -,' he interrupted gently, calming her with, 'oo sssaved me.' Bones continued to gently slide herself up and down on his heavy flesh, gradually becoming more and more confident in her movements, seeing him not showing any signs of discomfort. She trickled her fingertips over his lean torso, sitting up a little more. He complimented, 'Breasstss are magnif-ssent - more bu'tiful now.' Booth could see her eyes start to mist not with sadness but arousal.

Distracted only slightly by his yellowing bruises and multiple scars, she adored him repeatedly with her body, lips, eyes and hands. But just when she was beginning to indulge her needs, she felt his cock start to soften. Her tension gradually dissipated when she felt him completely wither, and slowed her movements. As her earlier concern was confirmed, she dropped her eyes away from his, not wanting him to see her resurging anxiousness.

'Don't' sssop - I'm ok,' he said sweetly. Then she shook her head, and came to a stop as he slipped from her completely. Seeing her arousal wane a tad, he smiled, asking, 'As it gone?' Cautiously looking back into his eyes, she nodded slowly, worried what his reaction might be to the loss of his erection.

'It's ok, Booth. I was concerned I'd injure you anyway,' she said desperately quietly, and began to un-straddle him.

Booth gripped her buttocks, stopping her from moving off him, and explained, 'Peroni told me - auto responssse to mor-ning hor-moness, but weely ood 'ewes,' he lisped positively, sliding his palms up to her breasts again. He caressed her nipples by circling them with his thumbs.

Bones was relieved Peroni had pre-warned him, confirming, 'Yes, I thought it was - that's why I was reluctant to…' she trailed off as he leant up, and she kissed his smile gently. 'It means the nerve damage has not left you impotent.' Booth nodded gleefully, still urging her hips up his body.

'Patience he ssaid. Little blue pillss might 'elp.' Bones grinned tentatively, however a little confused by his continued stimulation of her, but didn't comment or stop his enjoyment.

'Your lisp is adorable, Booth. I find it very - stimulating.' Booth grinned hard at her sultry confession.

'Good. Come closser, let me issss oo.' She obliged, and leant down again to kiss him but he shook his head, making her stall directly above his lips. 'No, Bones - weely kisss oo...' he oozed against her lips. When the penny dropped she turned molten under his palms.

'Oooh. Booth,' she purred, 'What about your mandible?'

'Sssop it,' he warned huskily, licking his lips in anticipation. With the combination of his lisp and seeing his wet tongue her arousal went off the scale. 'Need to iss oo there,' he confirmed, drawing her closer.

'Weely? I mean - really?' Booth chuckled at her accidentally aping his lisp, and nodded. Bones mirrored his smile, and said bluntly, 'If you insist…' She carefully edged her core above his mouth, and grasped the brass bedstead behind him to steady herself, but he didn't wait for her to settle on him. Seeing her glistening earthy flesh just above his mouth, he rushed to lavish her petals with his tongue, and moaned wantonly once buried. 'Oh! God, Booth,' she rasped, flustered, and shocked by his ambushing of her now. Then, as his tongue flittered inside her like a hummingbirds wings, he nipped at her bud with his toothless top gum and she lost all reasonable decorum. Snapping her head back, she gripped the bed rail, and let loose a long drawn out growl of shameless exultation.

With Booth's disgraceful slurping: debauched humming, and with his unruly hot tongue doing unspeakable mischief, she was in a near frenzy in moments. She had a thought amid this cornucopia of mind blowing sensations: after such a drought of orgasms she was now being swamped by them. That irony was not lost on her, and it made her grin salaciously.

Noting her flush pink all up her torso, and seeing the seduced look in her eyes, he knew she was already teetering on the brink. This only fuelled him on, and he grunted his desire to fulfil all hers. She was muttering expletives half coherently, while writhing against his lips and tongue, and anchoring herself to the bed frame with her grip. He saw her wild, taut body towering over him, and avidly watched it flex and tighten via his efforts.

'Gums - incredible - never - allowing - incisors - replaced,' she breathlessly explained her lack of sexual etiquette. Generously Booth gnawed at her throbbing bud with more fervour, trying not to laugh as she was seconds from climaxing. He instinctually remembered those mesmerising signs in her, and saw a new one manifest. Her nipples began to leak milk with the let down reflex brought about by her imminent orgasm. Seeing that, his eyes flared like the suns corona.

Moments later Bones snapped free with an euphoric, unrepentant, 'Yesss!' Tossing her head back with eyes closed, her delicious tension released in a dark steamy velvet cascade. Her thighs quivered either side of his shoulders as he eagerly scooped up her spirit like a medicinal tonic. Looking down, still teeming with the blitzing rapture, she quivered a smile at him avidly watching her while murmuring his litany. 'Amaa-zzing,' she sizzled.

Blithely exhausted she rolled to his side, and collapsed in a moist fleshy heap on her back. Humming, she sensuously squeezed her legs together to experience every last heavenly throb at her core. Booth immediately snapped his wet mouth over her milky breast, and suckled. 'Oh. God, Booth?' she gawped, opening her eyes to see his cheeks hollow and feasting on her. It took her a few seconds to realise what was happening, then she curled a palm around his head, and caressed his long hair. 'I thought it repulsed you when I lactated…' she finally braved. He sucked off her breast, shaking his head, tortured by her admission.

'God, no. Oo were sso ssore 'n' bled - was sscared ta 'uch oo. Felt respon-zable for oor pain,' he explained humbly. Bones held him tighter, moved and reassured by his admission. He hauled himself closer, this time suckling her breast reverently.

Cradling him, she ventured with a wry smile, 'I think Freud would have something to say about this behaviour.' Booth flicked his eyes to hers, and flared them. 'Haa. You love your milk, don't you?' Grinning, he kissed her nipple, then up her neck over her chin to her lips in an ambling glide.

'Luv yours - s'like cream,' he breathed exotically against her lips. She opened her mouth on his, and kissed him just as sensuously, tasting her sweet rich milk on his tongue.

There was something slightly immoral but deeply honest in their kiss, they realised; it purified both their viewpoints, then it unified them. Booth was elated that they'd cleared the air on that issue now. Also his fragile ego and sexual pride had been restored via the love she'd let him make to her. Now he was basking in her relaxed demeanour and her open-minded acceptance of his secret desires. 'Ffirst time - I tasted your milk - in hosspi-tal - I got addicted,' he confessed slowly and precisely.

Bones slipped a shapely leg over his, and held him closer, while staring into his sparkling eyes from close quarters. 'Am I your first?' she enquired softly. Booth nodded bashfully, and from that she knew he hadn't tasted Rebecca's milk. Somehow knowing that made this moment acutely intimate between them. 'I find I'm very glad about that.' He couldn't stop grinning at his deeds to satisfy her, she noted. 'Judging by your smile and the twinkle in your iris, I don't think I need to reinforce your self-confidence after those superb performance, do I?' Booth snorted, and shook his head. 'I didn't think so.'

Content to cuddle, she drizzled her finger tips up and down his spine, and informed him lazily, 'I think Christine's first milk tooth maybe about to erupt.' Booth's brows rose, and he smiled harder as dawn began to break into their room. 'She was fretful last night and had a flushed cheek. So I rubbed her gum with a little anaesthetic teething jell. I can't believe how fast she's maturing - its alarming.' Booth nodded to agree, breathing in her rich fragrance, while absently toying with a peaked nipple, occasionally lapping it dry. 'And -,' she said, stretching out her back by yawning with her arms stretched out wide, 'I hadn't expected you to be a -,' she paused for effect, then hit him with her punch line, 'breast milk fetishist!' She leapt from the bed, and laughed manically at his shocked expression.

'Come 'ack 'ere!' Booth shot up onto an elbow. 'Sssso I can sspank oo ssen-ssless!' Bones was all a quiver at his sexy lisping again, and purred erotically. She walked around the bed to his side, and pierced him with her eyes. Booth knew by her fevered look she was smouldering again, and stoked her embers with deliberate key words, 'Uo sssexy, sssassy, sssultry, ssweet milk ssupplier.' Sliding his hand from her thigh, he traversed her body with it slowly until he reached a breast, then he pinched a nipple. She gasped, shocked as her warm milk squirted out and he caught the stream mostly in his mouth, and hummed provocatively as he swallowed it.

When he licked his lips, she confirmed, 'You're a such a bad man, Seeley Booth.' Booth waggled her brows smugly. While holding his head in her palms, she licked his face deliberately slowly of the milk, then captured his lips in a deep long kiss. Finally breaking the hugely erotic kiss, Bones stepped back a pace from him. 'I have to shower - again. You relax and regenerate.'

'I'm not Borg…' he quipped, amused by his own joke.

Walking away to their en suite, she slung over her shoulder, 'What's a Borg?' Booth didn't answer her but flopped back to the soft crumbled bed, with a long satisfied rumbling sigh.

Bones closed the door, stared at her ravaged self in the opposite mirror, then hissed to her glowing reflection an ecstatic, 'Yess.'

Chapter XXIII

Seeley, Temperance, & Christine's Home

The promise of another warm late spring day was infusing in the air, Booth noted, as he dressed after his shower. Their bedroom was glowing with sunlight and the garden visible through the French doors looked lush and bursting with life. He saw a butterfly flitter passed the windows and land on a tree trunk to rest, and smiled. Pulling on his sweatpants up over his hips, he wondered what else this gorgeous day could hold.

Taking his tablets, he looked at their bed, as he gulped the handful down with a glass of water. The sheets were rumpled and the covers pushed in a messy roll at the end of the bed. While the pillows were strew haphazardly at the other and the duck down filling in them held an imprint of their heads. He smiled, seeing the mess, and remembered the reasons how it got into that state. As he swallowed the raunchy memory still lingered under his tongue.

Booth could hear Christine belly laughing in the kitchen, and just knew she was throwing her breakfast about again, which made him smile even wider. Looking back to the bed, he decided to make it, knowing Bones would have her hands full.

By the time the bed looked like it was supposed to it was an hour later; he was exhausted but delighted with his efforts. Just as he was about to exit the bedroom and be lavished with praise for what he'd achieved, Bones came bounding in with Christine strapped to her back in the papoose.

'Oh,' she said, and came to a sudden halt, adding superficially, 'Well done.' Booth beamed proudly, twinkling a wave at Christine who was chopping on a teething ring, and drooling profusely. Bones made for the bed, and began throwing off the immaculately placed cushions to the floor, and stripping it. Booth's jaw dropped, seeing his hard work ruined and all for naught. 'Sorry, Booth, but it is Sunday - linen day. I want to get these on the line soon. Its such a lovely day out, they'll be dry in no time.'

Disgruntled, Booth sagged. 'Could of told me. It took me an hour to do that. It wass flawless.' Bones glanced to him, and smiled, shaking a pillow from its case. Booth pouted, and began picking up the sheets and pillow cases she'd put in a pile on the floor on his lap. He grumbled under his breath, 'All that time wasss-ted - could have been watching the game…' Bones didn't look at him, but kept on smiling as she pilled the rest ontop of him, almost blotting him out under the massive pile of linen. 'Hey, watch it. I could've dwowned.'

'You can't drown in sheets, Booth. Water, yes, oil, yes, sheets, no.' She stood in front of him, then leant down to look into his eyes, leaning on either arm of his chair. He was grumpy faced, and narrowed his eyes at her over the clouds of linen. 'Repeat after me, my name is Seeley Joseph Booth and I'm in love with Doctor Temperance Brennan.'

'No - why ssshould I?' he said belligerently, trying not to smile.

'Just say it - humour me,' she insisted, peering into his eyes.

He rolled his eyes, and said quickly, begrudgingly, 'My-name-is-Sseeley-Josef-Booth and-I'm-in-love-with-Doctor-Temperanze-Bwennan.' Bones stood straight, and grinned wider with hands on hips.

'Excellent - at least you haven't lost your sexy lisp...' She grabbed the pile of linen off his lap, and left him staring at the space she'd just vacated. As the realisation dawned on him, he began to smile. Then Bones popped her head around the door frame, and quipped, 'I suspect you just needed my lactations to lubricate your vocal cords. I can't wait to tell my interns, they'll be fascinated, I'm sure.'

Losing his smile, Booth shoved his joy stick forward, and sped off after her down the corridor, as Bones squealed to get away from him. Christine started to chuckle too, being bounced around in the papoose on her back.

Later

Booth was laying on his back, looking up through the new flush of lime leaves that were gilding the russet knobbly branches of an oak. A blemish-free power blue sky was the soft pastel backdrop to the tranquil painting. An earthy warm breeze trickled over his exposed arms and face like Bones' caress, and he closed his eyes to the wonderful sensation he was flooded with. He could hear the gentle flapping and rustling of the drying linen Bones had pegged out close by, and that slowed his heartbeat even more. Breathing softly, Bones lay beside him doing the same thing, with one difference, she was gently toying with his fingers. Christine was equally content, and napping off her last feed in her shaded stroller.

Replete after eating their lunch outside under the tree, laying in the garden and doing nothing seemed exactly the right thing to do, Booth mused. As it turned out, and was expected; it was sheer bliss.

Bones rolled her head to look at his serene profile, and smiled. Seeing it, she stared back into the sky with a contented sigh. She waited patiently till the inevitable happened. As he began to breathe heavily and evenly, she took another glance at him; to check he was asleep. Once sure, she quietly and slowly got up, and walked into the house across the spongy lawn.

Bones went into Booth's man cave, and found his cell phone that had slipped between the seat cushions of the couch. She started scanning through the previous call list as she made her way into her study. Closing the door behind her, she sat at her desk, and prepared his cell to send a message. She looked up into nothing, contemplating what to text. It didn't take too long for her to decide. She tapped in a short message, that read; Weds - DC - Lincoln Memorial steps. 11PM. Come alone. No reply. JB. With her heart trembling, she pushed the send button. Once confirmed it had been sent on its way, she then deleted the message tag in the sent box. Then she proceeded to delete any record of calls and text sent or received from that number; essentially wiping it clean.

Returning quickly to his cave, she replaced it exactly where she'd found it, then checked out of the window that he was still asleep. Seeing he was, she returned to her study. Picking up the phone on the desk, she dialled a number. A groggy voice answered her with, 'Make it quick - I'm still sleeping.'

Bones smiled, saying, 'Dad, its me - how did it go?'

'Oooh. Hello my sugar plum,' he yawned. Bones could tell he was by the sound of sheets rustling. 'I'm in. She's still there. I won big then deliberately lost it all.' Crawling slowly out of bed, he went on, 'I put on rather a good show - you would have been proud, Tempe.'

'Well done, Dad. You need more then…?' Max padded across his bedroom carpet and into the bathroom.

'No - I didn't use it all! What-da-ya-take-me-for? I kept some back for tonight. But I have to tell ya, these late nights ain't good for my wrinkles,' he informed, inspecting his reflection in the bathroom mirror, then stuck his tongue out to check it. He grimaced, turning away towards the toilet. He tucked the phone under his ear, and lifted the seat lid.

'Never mind your fatigue or wrinkles - have you made contact with her yet?'

'No - I've been flirting with her when I can though. She's a pretty thing, isn't she?' Bones narrowed her eyes. 'Tolstoy doesn't like me, I can tell, but he tolerates me because he cleaned me out. Greed is a nasty sin,' Max observed.

'Are you urinating?'

'Yes - it's a natural bodily function, Tempe, and at my age, I have to function at lot more regularly than I used to.'

Bones tutted, rolling her eyes. 'Yes - I understand that, but while talking to your daughter is a very disturbing trait.' Moving on as she heard his toilet flush, 'Miss Doolittle texted me - twelve forty five precisely.'

'Ok, Tempe,' he said, sounding very serious now, washing his hands.

'Remember what I told you?'

'Yeess,' he droned, then placated, 'I'll be care-ful.' Ripping his curtains wide, he was suddenly blinded by the blast of sunlight to batter his eyes and naked body. 'Oouuch! Oh. It's a glorious day - what have you been doing with it?'

'Eating lunch, laundry, playing with Christine…' As she rattled off her list Max's smile grew wider, while waving at a horrified dog walker outside his apartment window, who promptly walked into a streetlamp. 'Dosing under an oak tree, having an orgasm...'

Max's jaw hung in shock at her frankness. 'Temperance Brennan -,' he scolded, 'as your father, I do not need to know that!'

'Precisely, and as your daughter - I don't need to hear when you're urinating. Have a good day.' A heartbeat later she tagged on flatly, 'Oh - and I love you...' Max snapped his mouth shut, then laughed when she ended the call abruptly.

Even Later

Jack Hodgins knocked their door early evening, holding a six pack under his arm and a bag of chips. Booth made his way to the door with a smile and the gentle electrical whirr of his chair. As was becoming a habit, Christine was on his lap, eager to see who had come to visit too.

As Booth opened the door Jack smiled wide. Booth snagged his head back, surprised but delighted to see Jack unexpectedly. Looking past Jack to see if Ange was coming, he enquired, 'Where's Ange?'

'Home with Michael - she told me to get out,' he explained with a wonky pout, then stepped inside, closing the door behind him.

Booth snorted, asking suspiciously, 'What ya done, Jack?'

'Nothing!' Jack blanched. He paused, then turned, looking ashamed to Booth. 'I blew up my lab,' he confessed from under his lashes. 'Michael heard the explosion and became hysterical. Ange thought I was dead, I wasn't - just…'

'Just what?'

'Singed -,' he pointed to his non-existent eyebrows, 'and covered in heifer manure.' Jack blustered on, and into the lounge, 'There was an accidental methane escape during an experiment I was performing to calculate…'

Booth cut him off, 'You're in the shit house then?' Jack stilled, and laughed at his joke.

'Yeah.' He nodded, grinning. 'I've come to watch the game with you - its on in five.'

Delighted with the suggestion, Booth gestured the way to his man cave. As they walked past Bones in her study, Jack popped his head around the door, and smiled at her. She was sitting behind her desk and large MAC, surfing the web. There were piles of papers around her; a note pad, pen, plus a cup of cold tea in a china mug. Bones looked up slowly, barely able to drag her eyes away from the screen, then with some surprise, smiled. 'Oh. Hello, Jack.'

'I was out for a walk, then I thought, why don't I watch the game with Booth…?'

'Really?' Jack nodded innocently. Bones gave him a wry smile. 'Ange just texted me - you blew up your lab again and she's expelled you from the house.' Jack sagged, dropping his head being caught out in his white lie. 'She used many interesting words to describe what she thinks of you - I'm researching their meanings right now.' Booth snorted his amusement, and patted Jack on the back. Bones then looked to Booth with Christine on his lap. She was happily crunching her cooled teething ring, and slobbering. 'Do you want me to take her, Booth?'

'Nah - ssshe's fine,' he said casually, moving off again. Jack waved at Bones and the men disappeared again. Bones returned to her research, then began scribbling notes on her pad.

Man Cave

With the game in full swing and several chilled beers downed Booth and Jack lounged on the couch with Christine propped up between them. She was fascinated watching the fast moving colourful images ahead of her. She looked to her daddy and the man with a beard often as they cheered, sipped from brown bottles, and discussed the game over her head.

Booth sniffed the air, smelling something delicious in it. Jack smelt it too, saying jocularly, 'It wasn't me.'

Booth smiled at him, then leant a little closer. 'Bones is baking again,' he explained, flaring his eyes at him. 'Ssshe's got this whole mommy -housse wiffey fing going on - itz weely sssexy,' he confessed with a soppy adoring smile. Jack grinned too, awwing silently. Just then Bones came in and the men both lost their mushy smiles for manly ones. 'Oh. Hi, Bones - watz up?'

'Fresh cookies anyone?' She placed a plate of gooey cookies on the coffee table in front of them, blocking the next game play. Both Jack and Booth shouted, 'Out the way!'

Shocked at their rudeness, she snapped straight, and planted her hands on her hips, scowling at them. They stretched to see around her while flapping her aside with their hands, but she refused to move. Christine watched her mommy's expression, then looked at the sweet smelling treats on the plate, more interested in them now.

'Oh! N'aaah - ffum-ble!' Booth slumped back to the couch, and groaned his sulk along with Jack. Suddenly Christine threw her teething ring at his face for shouting so loud, as if that was only reserved for her. Booth jolted, feeling the wet pink silicone land, and snapped his eyes to her. Jack bit his lip, trying not to laugh.

'Good girl, Christine,' Bones praised, picking up the empties, and walked back out. She shut the door loudly behind them while Jack and Booth exchanged fleeting grimaces. Excitedly Booth nodded towards the cookies, and Jack handed him one, then began to munch another. Christine attempted to reach up, and whimpered, obviously wanting her own too.

'Oh. God -,' Jack gushed with his mouth full, 'these are…' He didn't have words to describe them eloquently. Booth flared his eyes, nodding.

'I know, ffrickin' awesome. Give Cwissy one.' Jack reached for another, and handed it to Booth. With one eye on the game and the other on Christine, he fed her little piece by little piece of the gooey cookie.

Jack ventured absently, 'I think you might be in the shit house too by the look on Bren's face.'

Booth shook his head. 'N'aaah. Bones iz cool,' he said to dismiss Jack's comment.

Evening

Booth waved Jack goodbye from the door, and returned to the kitchen with Christine on his lap. He smiled nervously as Bones gave him a sideways icy glance, and carried on scraping carrots with venom. Booth could tell he was indeed in the shit house because of the ominous silence her tense body shouted.

'I'm ssorwee, Bones,' he grovelled softly. 'Weely ssorwee. I shouldn't have diss-missed you like that but it was a weely important play.' Bones slammed the large knife down, and turned sharply to face him. Booth flinched. Seeing the storm brewing in her eyes, Booth thought about a hasty retreat but it was too late, Bones exploded in her own unique way.

'I'm so cross with you and not about the game, although that was completely disrespectful behaviour. Look at her! Just look,' she insisted, pointing at Christine. Booth did as Chrissy looked up at him innocently. Christine was caked in double chocolate chip cookie virtually from head to the toes of her romper. Bits of dough still clung to her cheeks, nose and hair and she looked like a victim of Jack's manure explosion. Booth tried to play it down.

'Sshe's just a little mucky, I'll clean her up, don't worry,' he said gingerly.

'Mucky? Look at her, Booth - she's on a major sugar rush! And probably diabetic now!' Bones began crashing about in a cupboard, and sprung up with a grater in hand. Booth grimaced, although he thought she was over dramatising it a little.

Ranting on, Bones started grating the carrots without any vegetable compassion whatsoever. 'What were you thinking, Booth? She's just started to crown a milk tooth and you feed her probably the worst possible thing for an infant at this critical developmental stage. That's bordering on insanity!' Bones threw a pile of grated carrot into a mixture she was preparing, and mixed it up frantically. 'All I've done is try to give her the best start in life and be a good mother and nurturer. I've insisted on nutritional foods, well balanced in minerals and vitamins, freshly prepared, and offered.' She shot him a iceberg glance over her shoulder, seeing him nodding fervently to agree that she was. 'So what do you do in a single afternoon while inebriated and hyped up on some ridiculous sporting event?' Bones answered her own question, 'You feed her one of my excellent, sugar loaded, mouth-watering cookies!'

Booth gulped. 'But, she wanted one,' he said quietly in his defence.

'Absurd! If she requested a firearm at two, would you give her yours to play with?'

Booth grinned, saying, 'I fink you're being a little irrassh…'

'I. Am. Not!' she corrected indignantly, harshly punctuating her reply, and throwing the full cake tin in the oven, then slammed the oven door. Booth flinched again. Chrissy looked up to her daddy, clearly confused.

Bones then took a deep controlling breath, ordering, 'You will clean her up and the kitchen, take the cake out in thirty five minutes, give Christine only my expressed milk before you put her down at nine.'

'What will you be doing?' Booth asked carefully, scared to make full eye contact with her.

Lifting her chin to look down at him, she informed aloofly, 'I - shall be having a bath -,' then warning, 'and I'm not to be disturbed.' Bones bounded out of the kitchen leaving them looking at one another.

Christine giggled heartily when Booth tickled her filthy stomach, and whispered, 'Izn't Mommy amazing when sshe's angry with us?'

Night

By the time Booth had carried out his orders to the full and a few other unspecified ones it was gone ten. He secured the house and finally took himself into their bedroom. Bones was already in bed, on her side and facing away from him, breathing heavily. That signalled she was already asleep, or awake, but still angry with him, so he went into the bathroom to finally prepare himself.

He carefully slid himself into bed, adjusted his legs into position, then laid down very slowly. While bathing Christine, he realised he had done something foolish; he shouldn't have given her the whole cookie. But at the time he thought it was adorable the way she got hugely messy and he hadn't stopped to consider the sugary downside. To his surprise Bones said softly, 'You were correct - I did over react. I'm sorry, Booth.'

'No-no, you were wight, Bones,' he corrected, then rolled to his side to face her back. Sweetly he thought, she gently backed her body up to be flush against his so he could spoon her. He slipped an arm over her waist, and felt her take his hand.

'It was just one cookie,' she told herself, 'and she was wearing most of it.' Booth tried not to laugh, but when Bones looked over her shoulder to him, she was smiling. Then they both laughed. He cuddled her a little tighter, and nuzzled into the back of her neck, breathing her powdery scent in. 'I think I'm still adjusting to my hormone fluctuations. She did look adorable though, didn't she?'

'Humm. Well, sshe's all baafed, changed and tucked up all cossy now. I put a little of that teefing jell on her gums too, just in case.'

'You're a wonderful father, Booth. She's so content to whiz around with you in that wheelchair. When you were in the hospital I kept showing her a photograph of you so she could recognise you when you came out.' Touched, Booth gave her a tighter squeeze. 'I'm going into work for a few hours tomorrow - I'll take her with me and put her in the crèche.'

'I can have her,' he said softly, nuzzling again affectionately.

'I know but you have a busy morning with the physio and Claude. Besides she is quite content in there and Michael will be there too, so…'

'Ok… I'll mizz her.' Bones squeezed his hand, and nodded slowly to acknowledge his sweet statement. Booth nuzzled again, and twitched against her, feeling drowsy, then remarked, 'You smell sso good.' Then he asked, 'Would you like me to pleassure you?' Bones shook her head slowly again.

'Thank you, but no. You've completely sated me, Booth.' She felt his lips curl on her neck into a suave grin. 'How did the cake turn out?'

'Oh. Umm. I ate it.' Bones didn't rise, knowing he was trying to provoke a reaction from her. All she did was chuckle, and flick her eyes over her shoulder again. She felt his lips curl against her neck again, then pucker to kiss her softly many lazy times. 'Iz there anyfing you'd like me to do tomorrow?' Bones shook her head again. 'Oh. I found my cell - it was down the cushions in my cave. I took a ffoto of Cwissy before I cleaned her up.' Bones nodded, again squeezing his hand again but with a little less strength behind it now. 'How was your baaf?'

'Long, lazy, lovely, thank you. I listened to my Ipod and caught up on a couple of articles then…' she paused to yawn, and snuggled down a little further. Booth grinned, knowing he was stopping her from getting her rest. Losing her train of thought, she asked, 'What was I saying?' Booth chuckled softly.

'Noffing important,' he eased. 'Go to ssleep.'

'Yes - sleep,' she murmured, and promptly did. Booth was not long behind her.

Chapter XXIV

Home

Conservatory

'Claude - is that your weal name?' Booth asked, as Claude's magic hands worked at his lower back diligently.

Booth felt his hands stop moving as Claude said indignantly, 'What sort of question is that? Of course its my real name- why wouldn't it be? You can talk - Seeley, what sort of name is that? Yours is camper than mine, Darling.' Booth's gay masseuse sneered, huffed, then carried on with his sublime massage.

Booth changed tack, 'Did you ssee the game last night?'

'Nooo - I'm gaaay,' Claude reminded. 'I don't watch foot-ball,' he said, sounding affronted, then corrected, 'I watch ballet, daytime soaps or Betty Davis movies,' he said airily. Booth began to laugh. Smiling, Claude commented, 'You're chipper, Boothy, what's the goss then?'

'I don't know what you mean,' Booth hedged, still grinning, and pumped his biceps alternately with dumb bells.

'Oh. Don't be bashful. Something's beefed you up.' With Booth staying silent, Claude then speculated audaciously, 'Does that gorgeous goddess have something to do with it, I wonder? Have you been fiddling with her skittle?' Claude pushed his tongue into his cheek, and began on Booth's thighs. Booth started to laugh out loud but gave nothing away, frustrating him. 'Ohh, come on, Boothy,' Claude pined like a spoilt brat. 'I'm sick of talking shop. Dish me some dirt, the dirtier the better.' Booth snorted, and pumped this hand weights up and down, staying silent on the matter.

Booth said finally, 'Ok -,' and heard Claude gasp with excitement, 'I gave Cwissy a double chocolate chip cookie and sshe got covered in it. That was dirty.'

Claude scowled at the back of Booth's head. 'That's not even funny. Cruel, that's what you are and no fun,' he said, tossing his bald head in the air as if he still had hair to toss. 'Do you want me to smack your tush - cos I will?'

'You do and I'll put you ffrooh that window.'

'OoOoo. Temper-temper.' Then Claude whispered in his ear teasingly, 'You'd have to catch me first though.' Booth laughed hard this time, then grunted as he worked his biceps hard.

'Tell me, Claude, why do you fink Bones picked me a gay masseuse?'

'The gorgeous Doctor Brennan picked me not because I'm gay but because I'm the ultimate. That's your lady all over, Boothy. I've had my healing hands on many VIP's.' Booth didn't doubt that, he knew he was good. 'I come highly recommended. And when I come, I'd recommend it. Haa!' Booth shook his head in disbelief at his blatant innuendo.

'I wanna do somefing nice for Bones. You're a girl, what do you fink sshe'd like?'

'N'aww. Thank you, Boothy, I'm touched.'

'I know that - but what would you ssuggest?'

'Oh. Sharp, you're so sharp - careful you don't cut yourself. You know her best - but from my experience with women, which is extensive, I'd say, lavish her with gifts.'

'I've already got a few idea's. Have you got a car?'

'Of course, how do you think I got here? I can't lug this table around on public transport, Darling, it would ruin my legendary hands. Its outside - why?'

'Come on - finish up, you're taking me sshopping.' Booth dropped the dumb bells to the floor.

'I. What? But?' Claude instantly changed his mind, 'Oh. Goody - shopping is my other envious talent.'

Twenty Minutes Later

Claude huffed, as he struggled to get Booth's fold up wheelchair into the rear seat well. Booth watched him stressing not to get the chair on his leopard print suede throw. 'Just rest it-rest it,' Booth urged impatiently.

Claude looked up. 'If it marks it - I'm suing.'

'Whatever. Come on - we haven't got long.'

Tutting, pausing again, Claude scolded, 'Rushing me won't make me go any faster. I'll just start crying - it'll be an ugly drama and I'll have to lie down.'

'What will then?'

Claude finally got it how he wanted it, and brushed his hands off, ignoring his obtuse question with, 'There, I've got it.' Claude slammed the door, and jumped in the drivers seat, then turned on the engine.

Booth looked at him, placed his hand over Claude's on the gear shift, and warned, 'If you tell anyone I went sssopping with you in this hideous pink VWubbleU Beetle, I will sshoot you.'

Claude gulped. 'Loud and clear, Boothy.'

Looking back out of the windshield, Booth said, 'And don't call me Boofy.'

Boutique

Claude huffed as he wheeled Booth into the exclusive boutique, and wiped his brow with the back of his limp hand. Booth was already looking around the garments while other bags hung off the handles of his chair.

The immaculate assistant with trendy glasses looked up from filing her nails discreetly under the counter. 'Good morning, Gentleman. How…'

Diva-like Claude cut her off with, 'Hush - listen...' She snapped her mouth shut, and cocked a perfectly shaped brow. Claude lent on the counter to recover his breath.

Booth took over, 'I'm looking for a dwess - a nice one.'

Wilting, Claude looked at him, and shook his head, obviously exasperated. Straightening, he explained, 'Its not for him, you understand. He couldn't carry it off - unlike me.' Booth shot him bullet glance.

Claude began pacing the floor like a lord, and gestured with his hands regularly. 'Its for a special occasion, a TV appearance, no less. We envision a one off - black, seductive - our lady needs to feel sexy in it, but not slutty or too prim. We require shoes and foundation garments too.' Claude spun theatrically, adding airily, 'We're imagining something fitting her sensuous curves - she has long shapely legs and a magnificent bosom. She's a world renown personality who has just become a mother and has a formidable professional reputation but we require this gown to soften that image...' Coming to an elegant pirouetting halt, Claude ended with, 'Have I given you enough, Darling?'

The assistant grinned smugly, walked off, then disappeared out of the shop. Booth looked puzzled for a moment, and looked to Claude for help. He saw his confusion, and patted his shoulder to ease. To Booth's amazement three other assistant returned with the first, carrying: several dresses, shoes and finally underwear. Claude smiled arrogantly at Booth, and sat down on the plush couch, then crossed his legs with a flourish.

An hour later Booth was smiling happily with his choices, and handing over his credit card.

Home Again

As Claude wheeled Booth over the threshold of the house, he said, 'Fanks, Claude. Add your extwa time and gas onto your bill.'

Affronted, Claude said, 'I will not! How dare you even suggest it. It was my delight to take you shopping. Now I must go - I'm late for the Obama's.' Booth snapped his head around, seeing Claude wink, and mince back to his luminous car with a joyous skip and a jump.

Booth closed the door, and wheeled himself into his cave to stow away his purchases. He was just in time because he heard Bones call out to him as he closed a cupboard.

'Booth? Was that Claude I saw just leaving?'

'Yess! He arrived late - he got caught in twaffic apparently.' Booth wheeled himself out and into the kitchen. Bones was already strapping Christine into the high chair to give her her lunch, and flicked him a smile. The island, Booth noted, was piled with more Jeffersonian files replacing the ones she took back this morning. He went straight to Bones, and pulled her onto his lap. She whooped with surprised, and began to chuckle at his spontaneity. Slinging her arm around his shoulder, she looked over his glowing face. 'How was work?' She shrugged, and caressed his nape affectionately, still studying his features with a wispy smile. 'I'm going to iss you now,' he said, staring at her lips intently.

'That would be lovely.' With a fire in his belly and love burning his eyes, Booth licked his lips slowly, then pecked hers first delicately. Then he smooched, turning his head slightly, he felt her open a little wider, and they gently touched tongue tips. He could feel a thrill ripple through her and through him too. He felt her settle more on his tingling lap and sigh. They looked back into one another, then kissed again. This time there was nothing innocent about it. They explored each other as if it was the first time they'd kissed this way. It was a wet, deep hot kiss that made her squirm on his lap a little. Eventually she dragged away to breathe more deeply, caught off balance by his desire filled kiss. 'Mmm. What did I do to deserve that?'

Booth wiped away the moisture he'd left on her lips with his thumb, then breathed in her ear, 'Come to bed - I wanna kiss you ssome more.' Bones almost said yes immediately, knowing what type of kissing he was suggesting, but looked to Christine and her pile of files. When she looked back to him he flared his smoky eyes at her enticingly.

Pouting, she rejected his offer of a little more sexual healing with, 'I'd love to - but we can't, Booth.' Not discouraged in the slightest, he continued to smother her throat and face with kisses as she spoke, 'Christine is hungry - and you need a shower and nap - and Daisy is due at four...' She gave him better access by rolling her head to the side, and closing her eyes as he continued his tender assault. 'I have to make a start on those - and paint a wall in the guest room - then there's dinner. Oooh. I'm so aroused,' she finally admitted at a whisper. A smug grin rippled over his lips. Booth then began kissing her mouth again but more passionately then before. With her motor fired up he slipped his hand under her skirt, and ripped the crotch of her pantyhose. Startled, she protested half heartedly, 'Booth - Christine?' and glanced to Christine with her back to them.

Booth whispered in her ear, 'You'd better come quick for me then.' Blindly pushing her panties aside, he delved back into her mouth with his tongue, and began a fast intense flicker on her moist clit with his first two fingers. Bones tensed on his lap, but opened her legs a little wider, biting softly down on his tongue to stifle her lusty moans. He snatched his tongue back. 'Faster,' he breathed his order into her mouth. Bones hummed her agreement and necessity, and stole another kiss from him, which he reciprocated just as firmly.

It was an illicit, almost silent, furiously intense encounter but one which inevitably heightened her ardour. 'Come on,' he encouraged, shimmying his fingers across her slippery bud. Bones grunted as the tipping point approached, and held her breath for the drop off, made speechless by her own scandalous lust and capitulation to him.

Booth flicked a glance to Christine who was bashing her play keys on the tray table while singing to the clanking sound she was making. He could only see the back of her little head, but knowing she was unaware, he looked back to Bones. With thighs spread, she rocked her hips to his impossibly fast pace, and suddenly broke their hungry kiss. She gripped a clump of his long hair at the back of his head, and looked into his wild smouldering eyes. 'Cum - now,' he commanded brazenly, so she did, powerless to resist.

Gritting her jaw, she rasped almost silently in his ear, 'God-damn-it, Booth,' quaking on his lap, and clinging tightly to him. Her pupils trembled on this one, blurring her vision, so she closed them till the tornado of sensation passed. Booth almost immediately withdrew his hand, and rested it on her trembling thigh.

Panting, Bones hauled herself off him, and staggered to lean heavily on the worktop beside the oven. She looked around to him, astonished by his bravado and flair, and she'd only been home ten minutes.

Booth winked at her cockily, while licking his wet fingers. 'Umm. Welcome home, Bones,' he said ordinarily, and wheeled himself away. Bones toed off her shoes, and slumped again, resting her hot brow on the cool work surface.

4PM

Nervously, and somewhat awkwardly for her, Daisy crossed the threshold as Bones welcomed her inside with a charming smile. 'I'm so glad you could come, Daisy. Please forgive the disarray - we're still decorating.'

Taking off her bright pink helmet that matched her gifted Vespa, Daisy said, 'Oh. No problem, Doctor Brennan. I brought Christine a little something. I wasn't sure what to get but…' she checked herself from blathering on. Blushing before she handed over her the gift in a pink present bag, she calmed slightly. 'I hope it suits her.'

'Oh. How thoughtful. Thank you,' Bones said sincerely. 'Come through.'

In the kitchen Bones untied the ribbon, and took out the tissue paper. Beneath was a pretty dress; matching booties, and bib. 'I know she'll grow out of it soon but I couldn't resist - it just screamed at me from the window - buy-me-for-Christine.'

'Haa. Its lovely.' Bones genuinely thought it was, and Daisy smiled, pleased she thought so. 'Did you knit these?' Bones asked, holding up the little booties in either hand.

Nodding briskly as if to dismissed her efforts, Daisy changed the subject. 'Um. How's Agent Booth?' she enquired quietly, taking an edgy seat around the island.

She saw Bones smile at her empathetically, while putting her outfit away safely again. 'Repentant,' Bones said. Daisy blushed again, dropping her eyes to the fruit bowl between them. 'You shouldn't feel embarrassed, he should - and does. But I'll let him explain. I hope you're hungry…' Bones trailed off as Booth appeared with Christine on this lap, and purred up to Daisy.

'Hello, Daisy,' he said. Daisy looked around, jumping up from her chair as if coming to attention, and smiled bravely.

'Hello, Agent Booth,' she said, twitching in her shoes.

Bones intervened casually, 'Daisy bought Christine a gift, Booth - a lovely dress and knitted her matching booties,' she explained, clearly impressed. Bones made herself busy putting the finishing touches to their meal and the table.

'Oh. Wow. Fank you, Daisy.' He made solid eye contact with her, but she avoided his eyes, looking to Christine instead. 'Would you like to hold her while I get up on the chair?' Daisy lit up suddenly like Christmas, and instantly took Christine out of his hands, and began interacting with her. She smiled, and widened her eyes in a flare of warmth, and whispered sweet hello's to her. Christine was perfectly content to sit on her lap, and receive her undivided attention. Booth hauled himself onto the chair beside them, but seeing Daisy perfectly content to hold her he didn't ask for Christine back. 'You have a way with babies, Daisy - I can tell.'

'Oh. Probably because I still act like them sometimes,' she said self-deprecatingly. Bones laughed, as she dished up their meal. They looked over at her, surprised by her chuckle. Through her amusement, Bones quipped, 'I hope not - Christine throws her food around and I'm certain you don't wear diapers, Daisy.'

Booth snorted now, and rolled his eyes at Daisy. She smiled, finally making eye contact with him. Taking the opportunity having Daisy's attention, Booth began softly, 'I don't expect or want your fforgiveness, Daisy - I don't deserve it.' He poured her a glass of chilled wine, then one each for him and Bones, as he spoke, 'But I'm deeply ashamed of my behaviour when you came to wisit me all vose times. I was rude and completely insensitive for not talking to you. I know and wegret the hurt that must of caused you. Especially when you took sso much care to read to me somefing you ffought I'd enjoy listening to.'

Bones quietly put the vegetarian lasagne in front of them, then placed the garlic bread in the centre of the island. Without disturbing Booth's heartfelt apology, Bones put a bib around Christine on Daisy's lap and her bowl and spoon beside her plate too. She instinctually knew Daisy would want to feed her. Sure enough Daisy picked up the spoon, and began to feed her efficiently. Sitting down opposite them, Bones began eating.

Booth went on, 'I did enjoy your wisits and began to look fforward to them.' Daisy dropped her eyes away, clearly not wholly believing him. Booth touched her hand to draw her eyes back to his. She looked back up cautiously as he explained with sincere emotion, 'You were the only wisitor I had who didn't unload their problems on me or just made ssmall talk.' He picked up his fork, and scooped up some lasagne but didn't bring it to his mouth. Bones watched Christine hungrily mashing her food and dribbling adorably, while smiling at her.

'I'm convinced you ffought long and hard about what you could give me that no one elze had ffought of.' Daisy smiled tentatively, then shyly nodded to confirm what he'd suspected. She flicked her eyes to Bones who confirmed Booth's statement with a tiny nod. Then Daisy scooped up some more food for Christine, and adeptly popped it in her open mouth.

Booth continued passionately, 'When you read to me, you took me away ffrom my twoubles and out of that room. You ssent me anywhere but there, Daisy. I can't tell you what that meant to me or how it lifted my spiritss. I might not have wanted to talk but your generosity and ffoughtfulness did humble me. I'll never forget the kindness you showed me ffroo vose difficult times.' Booth finally glanced at Bones for her approval, she grinned, and scooped up some lasagne. Daisy was smiling sweetly now, clearly thrilled by his explanation and sincere apology.

Bones opened a drawer under the island, and passed a wrapped package across the table to Daisy. She looked surprised at the gift, and asked, 'For me?' Bones nodded with a smiling glance to Booth.

'We ffought you might like it,' Booth said with a charming smile, taking Christine back so she could open it. She unwrapped the picture frame carefully, then started to laugh.

'Oh. Haa. That is so embarrassing.' She covered her eyes, and blushed scarlet, seeing herself sucking her thumb lying next to Christine. 'Lance told me I sucked my thumb when I slept. I always told him I didn't - now he has proof,' she wined.

'Don't worry, Daisy, all the best people do - Bones does,' he whispered mischievously in her ear.

Affronted, Bones straightened, and protested vehemently, 'I do not!'

Home

By late evening Bones was roller painting the guest bedroom wall and had her cell in the other. She was talking anthropological gibberish to a colleague who'd interrupted their evening. Booth had zoned out after the second fifteen letter word she spouted, and concentrated on his cutting in just to the right of where she was standing. Christine was sound asleep in the nursery.

Booth started whistling happily, as he carefully painted up to the masked wooden frame of the door. He heard Bones stop mid-sentence suddenly, so he looked at her. She flared her eyes at him for whistling, and began chatting again. Booth pulled a snooty face off her eye-line, and continued painting.

Moments later, unknowingly he began whistling again, dipped his brush, and continued to paint. Bones dropped a hip, and shot him a glance, still talking to her caller. As Booth didn't see her this time, she nudged him with the roller in her hand. Unfortunately as she did the roller splattered paint in his hair. She giggled, then mouthed oops, with a forgive me grimace. Shocked, Booth felt in his hair, and looked at what was in his hand. He set his jaw, seeing her trying not to laugh as she continued to talk, and paint the wall with long sweeps of the roller.

Loading his brush again, he snuck her a glance as she turned her back slightly, and stopped painting for a moment, clearly at an important point in her boring debate. Booth edged himself a little closer, pretending to cut in closer to her sneakers, and slopped the brush across them. Bones gasped, and looked down. Booth ignored her, and kept on whistling casually. She nudged him again, and pointed with the roller to her sneakers. Booth made another face at her, and carried on.

'Doctor Walstenhome, I have to go. I have something that needs my urgent attention. I'll call you tomorrow when we can discuss this in more detail. Yes. Good night.' Booth was already smiling on hearing her ending the call. 'You did that deliberately,' she accused.

'I didn't! It was an…' he didn't finish because she rolled the cold, wet, sticky roller over his face from brow to chin, then to chest very slowly. Booth opened his painted eyes to see Bones laughing so hard nothing was coming out of her mouth. Except she was staggering back, and taking a photo of him. The flash went off, and he grinned, loading his paint brush from the tray, then he flicked it at her. It splattered along her length from head to thigh, shocking her to stop laughing. Now he was sniggering, and reloaded his brush, a globule dripped to his sweats, and fatally, he looked down. Bones seized her opportunity, and rapidly loaded her roller again, this time rolling the gloopy paint up his sweats and over his lap in one slick move. Booth began to laugh hard, seeing he looked like a crossing. Then it was all out civil war.

By the time they calmed to breathe, all the walls needed painting. They were drenched in duck egg emulsion, more if it on them than on the walls. Booth grabbed her sticky hand, and pulled her onto his lap, and they giggled like children. She smeared his face over with the paint, then kissed him deeply. He pretended to caress her hair but mid-kiss she realised he was wiping more paint on her which made them laugh even harder at one another.

'This is sso much fun, izn't it?' he said sweetly, grinning from ear to ear. Bones nodded on his shoulder. 'I wish I could make love to you now - cwisten the room, you know?' he said wistfully.

'You are, Booth, we are making love. Just not the sexual kind. Don't you feel it?' She looked into his eyes with hope, caressing his lips with hers. As he stroked her sticky hair from her face tenderly, she added, 'We're not just about the sex, Booth. Not everything is about the act.'

'You're wight - I do ffeel it, wight here.' He took her hand, and held it flat against his heart. Bones nodded, feeling it beating strongly through his t-shirt.

'That's the most important place to feel it,' she confirmed, her subtext clear. They kissed again in an innocent yet deeply loving way, all at a snails pace.

As they slowed and broke, he snagged his head back, asking, 'Since when did you turn into me, eh, Bones?'

'Ha. That did sound like something you would say to me. Come on, let's get cleaned up - it's late.'

They made love again in the bath together as they slowly and carefully washed each other clean of paint - laughing at their antics. Then again when she dried him meticulously, and combed out his hair. He returned the honour with as much reverence and tenderness as she'd shown him. Yet again they made love when they snuggled under the sheets, and held one another all night long.

Bedroom

Booth's twitching and agitated mumbling woke Bones with a start. Bleary eyed, she let her cones adjust to the darkness, then realised he was dreaming again. Or more specifically, having a nightmare. This wasn't the first time he'd woken her since he'd come home. All she could do was hold him and whisper soothingly till he either woke or settled back into a calmer slumber.

By the tortured look on his face; his rushed breathing, and tension his body held she deduced it was the same dream. She tried to imagine what he was dreaming of, or catch a word or phrase but it was impossible to distinguish anything. When he woke he never told her what his nightmare was about and she hadn't asked again after the first time she did. When she had, he'd gotten tearful, and shook his head, obviously not wanting to relay it. He'd just look into her eyes, eventually calm and hold her tighter. But tonight it seemed a little more frightening for him, she judged. He struggled against her, and grasped at nothing; as if he was vainly searching for something.

As his hands flinched now and grasped for something to hold on to, she grabbed one, and squeezed it tightly, as she whispered into his ear, 'I'm here, Booth. Its just a dream.' Booth's eyes shot open to hers, and gripped her hand back simultaneously. She smiled warmly, sympathetically, as he panted his recovery and got his bearings. 'Just a dream, Booth,' she eased, while stroking his bow tenderly with her free palm.

'I-I was falling -,' he muttered, still looking terrified and disorientated, 'it was dark - I couldn't hold onto you.'

'Shhh. I found you - see?' Smiling, she squeezed his hand to reassure him. 'You're safe.' He let go a long held breath, calming, and nodded. As he nuzzled into her shoulder, she felt him draw in a deep breath, and sigh out all his remaining tension. 'Go back to sleep, I won't let go,' she whispered, kissing his brow several times.

Bones wondered if it was the brains way of allowing him to remember, as she been told it might. Although obviously distressing for him to experience and her to witness, they were a good sign things were improving, she felt.

'Sorry,' he finally said for disturbing her, sounding utterly calm and drowsy again. Bones continued to hold his hand, and smooth his hair with the other.

'Shhh,' she calmed again, closing her eyes too, and began to drift off.

Chapter XXV

Wednesday

When Booth woke from his nap after his treatments, he manoeuvred himself into his electric wheelchair. He was finding it much easier now as he regained strength and it was clear the physio was aiding his improvement and flexibility. He'd gotten his routine in the bathroom down and was filling his days with all kinds of jobs around the house too. He didn't attempt anything too taxing but painting and laundry were easy, he found. He'd even cooked a little although the height of the worktops posed a slight challenge.

Looking after Christine was his greatest joy, and although Bones was around most of the time, he relished the time they spent alone together. He found her to be of a placid nature, and was rarely fretful or temperamental. She was an easy going child with a happy, if not, carefree disposition and he idolised her. She could be loud but was always happy with it. The house echoed with her adorable chuckles most of the time; consequently filling him with deep joy and contentedness.

Booth also found himself seriously considering being a full time father and forgetting about his career as an agent. He hadn't once missed or thought if he was missed at the FBI, although he was told he was on many occasions. He thought too that Bones could go back to what she knows and loves if he were a stay-at-home parent. Money wouldn't be an issue, he mused, with Bones' six figure salary and her book and film royalties. Even with all that, he was still determined to get as fit as he could and get back on his feet. If he had one dream which powered his determination for that, it was to stand beside Bones again. Booth was not delusional though: he knew he may never be able to kick a ball with Parker again or chase Christine's boyfriends from the door but he wasn't giving up on standing up - not yet.

Leaving those thoughts aside for now, because it was Bones' big night, he closed the bedroom door behind him, and whirred down the corridor towards the lounge. From it he heard Christine laughing her head off, and couldn't help but smile even before he could see her amber eyes glistening and her cheeks flushed. What was even more joyous was the music in the house Bones had on. The stereo was ringing out: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and he suddenly remembered Bones singing karaoke to it years ago, more years in the past than he cared to remember.

Booth slowed right down just before he entered the large unfinished room to spy on his girls. What he saw made his eyes blister and his chest heave with emotion.

The dust sheets were back and protected a patch of the cherry floor under the pasting table. The paint splattered ladders were up too and the wallpaper they'd chosen, all those months ago, was unfurled on the table. He could see Bones had already ripped off the wonky pieces and those soggy strips lay torn and discarded below the ladder.

Beside the part of the wall about to be papered was the door into the hall and suspended in that opening was Christine in a bright yellow baby bouncer harness. She was bouncing about like a jack-in-a box and frantically pushing off the floor with her little legs, and flapping her arms excitedly. Clearly she was enjoying the new found freedom she'd been gifted. Adding to this magical scene, Bones had set up an electric bubble machine and the whole lounge was filled with floating translucent rainbow swirled bubbles. Christine spun and bounced wildly in excited awe at the ocean of bubbles and laughing at her mommy. Bones was dancing and singing the lyrics to her signature tune into the paper scraper; which was so funny, Booth had to cover his mouth to stop from being discovered too soon.

Bones' hair was roughly tied back in a pony tail, and wore a pair of his old grey sweats. They were way too baggy on her and tied tighter with a knot of excess material on her belly. But they were slipping down enticingly as she danced and she absently hooked them up every once in a while. One of his old armless t-shirts also adorned her, again too big for her. She'd knotted it over her midriff exposing her navel and plenty of toned flesh. Booth realised the messier and tramp-like she looked the more gorgeous she became.

As Bones sang into the scraper, she in turn was encouraging Christine to join in, which she did by trying to mimic the tune between her squeals. Booth could see the look of devoted connection they shared, and it swelled his heart to burst. Christine watched her crazy mother leap about with wide eyes, and likewise, Bones' were locked onto her daughters. To Booth it was a magical, noisy but a hilarious scene to witness.

At one point in her energetic performance, Bones spun excessively fast, and to his shock, slipped over on the plastic dust sheet, and crashed to the floor with a graceless thump. He gasped, losing his smile, worried she may of hurt herself. But like a true professional, Bones continued to sing through her laughter. Booth breathed again. She crawled to Christine as if the fall was part of her act, and sang into her face till the end of the Eighties classic.

When the tune died away, Bones blew a raspberry on Christine's neck, putting her into yet more giggle raptures. He watched as Bones sat on the floor with legs outstretched in the door way, and hugged Christine close, buttering her with kisses. 'Did you enjoy that, Christine?' she asked, beaming at her calming baby. Christine reached for her mothers face with her tiny hands and scrunched at her cheeks. 'I sang that with my Mommy, yes I did-yes I did,' she cooed, kissing her more. 'Give Mommy a kiss,' Bones instructed sweetly. Booth saw Christine open her wet mouth and sort of fall on Bones' face, gurgling. 'Good girl,' Bones praised solidly. 'W'hell,' she huffed, drawing breath, and wiping Christine's slobber from her cheek. 'This won't do - I must get this paper up. What would Daddy say to all this procrastinating…?' she said, getting to her feet, and yanking up his sweats. Christine continued to bounce about gleefully, reaching for drifting bubbles as Bones went to the pasting table.

Another song came on, this time with a heavy bass and a guitar riff he recognised. Christine began to bob her head to the beat, and sang cute gobbledegook as Bones pasted the strip of paper to the beat, bobbing her head too. Once pasted and folded, Bones picked it up, and began to climb the ladder. 'Here goes, Christine, wish me good fortune,' she said, clearly determined to get it right this time. Booth grinned, resting his head on his palm, content just to watch from the sidelines, with a goofy smile cemented on his face.

Bones was humming as she meticulously hung the strip, and biting her tongue in concentration, whilst flattening it to the wall. Once done she moved the ladders out of the way, and stood back into a cloud of swirling evanescent bubbles, inspecting the strip. She tilted her head one way and then the other, he saw her sag and drop a hip. 'That's it - I give up, Christine! We're painting this whole room, no paper - just paint!' she ranted adorably, flinging her arms around, and turned away. As she did she spotted Booth. He started to laugh, and finally purred towards her. Seeing him, Christine squealed, and danced about even more energetically, as if showing him her prowess in the new bouncer. He shot her a huge smile, and waved cutely.

'Oooh, Booth. It's impossible, look,' Bones whined.

Grinning, he shook his head, holding his hand out for her to take, and said, 'Forget the paper and dance with me.' Bones pecked his brow, and sat on his lap, draping her legs over the side of his chair casually. She clung on around his neck, and stared into him as he manoeuvred them around slowly to the song.

'I've been watching you. I saw you ssinging into the paint scwaper.' Bones grinned, and blushed charmingly. 'And I saw you fall over too - I nearly wet myself.' Bones went redder, and hid her face in his neck, chuckling. Gently Booth lifted her chin to look back into him. 'You're an amazing mom, Bones. Just look as this place,' he said in wonder, and caught a bubble in his hand. It popped softly on his palm, making them both smile. 'I never doubted you would be.' Bones looked into him again, and kissed his lips softly for the devotional compliment.

Stroking her cheek softly, he went on tenderly, 'Your Mom - would be so proud of you…' Deeply moved, Bones teared up immediately. She touched his lips with a finger to silence him, and shook her head for him not to say anymore. He understood that was her one secret heartbreak; not having her mother here to share in her joy or see her beautiful granddaughter. Booth held her tighter, and whispered, 'I'm sorwee - but it had to be said. I wish ssometimes that you believed in an afterlife, then you'd have the comfort of knowing she's watching over you and Cwissy.'

Bones wiped her eye, and nodded slightly, needing to change the subject. 'Christine loves the bouncer I purchased yesterday. And I've discovered she responds most to the power ballads from the Eighties and Nineties,' she explained softly, as Booth neared Christine, and brushed his free hand over her soft hair lovingly. 'Which is just like us, I suppose.'

Booth grinned, and began to sing the chorus to her of the current song, 'Don't wanna clwose my eyes, don't wanna fall asleep cos I miss you, babe, and I don't wanna miss a fing…' Half way through the lyric Bones joined in with him, while she held Christine's hand and they all swung slowly together.

'And I fank God that we're tooo-geveer!' they sang out of tune and sync to each other, then started manically laughing at how they were torturing the ballad.

Later

Booth opened the nursery door, and looked to Bones still breastfeeding Christine in the rocking chair. He tapped his watch, and gestured with his head out of the door. She nodded, and took Christine off her breast as she was already asleep, and laid her in her crib.

As she walked out Booth reversed, and whispered, 'The limo will be here in an hour - get your butt in gear, Doctor Bwennan.'

Bones hurried into their bedroom, and began stripping off her clothes. 'I was hoping you'd forgotten and I could just stay here. I really don't want to go, Booth. Let me stay here,' she pleaded, slumping to sit on the bed.

Booth pointed directly to their en suite, and said masterfully, 'No - get in that sssower wight now. I'm counting to ten and if you don't move then I'll...'

'Then what?'

'I'll ssspank you ssenss-less and dwag you in there by your hair,' he warned severely, but as he lisped adorably it took the edge off his threat.

Bones grinned with heat, and shuffled to the edge of the bed. She caressed his thighs, and brushed her lips across his seductively. 'Say that again,' she oozed sexily. Booth snagged his lips away, knowing her game.

'Don't twy and disstwact me with your womanly wiless. Sssower - now!' He pointed purposely again, glaring at her. As she didn't move he began to count, 'One - two - ffree…'

Bones pouted, knowing she couldn't get out of this, and made her way to the shower, muttering her insult en route, 'Homo habilis' Booth shot her arrows over his shoulder, and swung his wheelchair around. Hearing him coming after her, Bones hopped to move faster, and laughed as she closed the door.

Booth listened outside the bedroom door till he heard the hairdryer switch off then made his move. He opened the door with his lap pilled high with various gift-wrapped boxes and a bottle of chilled champagne and flute in his hand. Bones looked over curiously, standing. 'What's going on?'

He placed the boxes on the end of the bed, and poured the wine into the flute, instructing softly, 'Come 'n' sssit here,' and patted the bed.

She walked over, and sat, taking the offered glass of bubbles from his hand. 'Booth, this is lovely, but I have to get ready. I shouldn't be drinking either.'

'One glasss won't hurt - enjoy.' He smiled hard at her as she took a sip, and sighed to relax a little. 'There. Good?' Bones grinned, nodding. He reached for the smallest box, and pulled the ribbon to open the tiny box, as she watched on intrigued. He smiled a little wider as he looked inside it, then showed her the diamond stud earrings. She sagged, touched, and went to touch them. But he snagged them away, saying softly, cryptically, 'You're nervous about tonight, I know, sso I'm giving you somefing else to fink about when you're being interviewed.' Booth took an earring out, and the back off, then gently eased her closer. He carefully put the earring in her ear, and fastened it. She watched his face constantly as he did the same to the other lobe. Then he sat back, and admired them. 'These are to fank you for making me a dad again. You've made me so happy,' he explained, caressing her cheek with his fingertips.

Picking up the second box, he opened that too, and briefly showed the matching teardrop necklace. 'Booth, this is too mm…' He placed his finger on her lips to shh her gently.

Once he was sure she understood she was to remain silent, he continued, 'I know we didn't plan on getting preg-nant but you've embwraced the challenges of motherhood with commitment, grace and eternal patience.' He opened the clasp of the necklace, and draped it around her neck, refastened it, and positioned it. He smiled again, obviously pleased with how he'd iced her. 'I couldn't be more proud or asstounded especially as you've done this alone. I'm in awe of you, Bones.'

Gently he nudged her glass, and she took another sip, feeling her eyes start to cloud. Bones could see he was enjoying this as much as she was. She'd lovers undress her before, even Booth, but she'd never had one dress her, and found this twist compelling and equally arousing.

Before Booth opened the next box he got a little apprehensive. He'd never bought underwear for a woman before, and hoped what he'd chosen was to her liking. Bones could see his eyes flick nervously to hers. She wanted to reassure him that if his taste was as good as the jewellery he'd bought he had no need to feel anxious. But she did however drain her glass as he opened out the box on the bed beside her.

'A woman's body izn't her own for a while. I know at times you must have felt out of contwol with all the fizzical changes you went ffrough, and even unattractive. But I vow you are more beautiful and sensuouss to me now than you've ever been.' He unfolded the tissue to reveal a black satin and Belgium lace bra. It plunged deeply to a tiny diamond stud and Bones loved it. He heard her soft gasp, and dared to look into her. She smiled hard, and stroked his thigh.

As he placed his fingers under the knot of her towel she felt a shiver run her spine, and sucked in a breath to it. The towel dropped away to pool around her. He took his time to admire her, then lifted out the bra, and slipped her arms through the straps. Taking the two cups in his fingers, he slid the material over her breasts, and very slowly fastened it between them. 'I wanted to cwy when I saw the pain you suffered and hated myself for insisting you breast ffed. If I'd known your suffering, I would've given up. Your determination humbled me.'

Bones went to adjust a breast within a cup, but he shook his head, and slipped his hand over her breast to position it himself tenderly, while watching her reaction. 'Let me,' he said, sounding more than a little strained. Bones closed her eyes as he performed the action, and felt her nipple peak against his soft palm, and sucked in a breath through her teeth. He did the same to the other breast, making sure the straps felt comfortable.

Bones opened her eyes, noting her chest tightening and throat parching. Booth paused only to ask, 'Comfortable?' She nodded, then his lips were on hers, and they kissed deeply but extremely slowly. She ran her hand over his head and down to his mid-chest, whilst kissing him, trying to convey how much this meant to her.

Next out were the knickers, again in sheer black satin and lace. She was expecting a thong or string but they were a fitted French cut. She knew they would show the lower part of her buttocks, yet modestly, and were cut high on the leg with a V over her toned lower belly. At the bottom of that V was another diamond stud. Again she loved the elegant lingerie. She couldn't resist a, 'Their gorgeous, Booth.'

He didn't answer or look at her because he picked up her knee slightly, and slipped her foot through them, then repeated it with the other. Holding them in his fingers, he said croakily, 'Sstand up, pleze.'

Bones did and he eased them up her legs with trembling fingers. As he did he rested brow on her belly, and kissed her just above her trimmed curls smoky with her undoubted arousal. He felt her place her hand on his shoulder like a petal settling out of a breeze to steady herself, murmuring, 'Booth-mm-Booth…'

Booth eased them higher, and adjusted the front till the diamond was in exactly the position he wanted it, seeing her stomach twitch under his fingers. Putting pressure on her hips he made her turn around slowly, and she closed her eyes. His hands caressed over the material and then slipped down over her exposed buttocks. She sucked in another breath, as he kissed the small of her back like a feather stroking her. 'I know you've worked hard to get back into shape and not just ffor your own self-esteem.' His hands trickled down her thighs. 'Like everyfing you sset your mind to - I gotta say, you've excelled yourself this time...'

They were making love again, she realised, creating new wonderful moments of love and tenderness that were going to be remembered for decades. He was worshiping her with his delicate touch, treating her with gifts, and thanking her for loving and supporting him. The near silence in their room was electrifying. An intense passion burned in both of them for the other and was dizzying.

Turning around once more, she placed her flute on the side as he opened another stunningly packaged box. She daren't look for fear of collapsing to the bed; she just knew it would be perfect whatever he'd chosen, so she closed her eyes.

'Keep 'em closed, Temperanze.' Bones nearly combusted on hearing her name in full slipping from his lisping mouth. That's when her knees betrayed her and she sat back on the bed to stabilize herself. 'I wanted to give you somefing that highlighted these amazing changes you've been ffroo - while supporting me, and dealing with the emotional sstwain...' She felt the swish of material like gossamer pour slowly over her head and his hand on her arm as he lifted it. Then the other was placed through the slip with great care. She felt him fasten a small button on her back, yet she still felt naked, and guessed it was made of silk. Then he said, 'Just wait - shoes first.' She heard more rustling and then he was slipping on shoes to her feet. They felt like gloves to her and was astonished he knew what size she was.

Then he said, 'Ok - sstand up.' She did, and felt the material of the dress drop like warm soft rain down her body, and it thrilled her. Goosebumps erupted everywhere causing her to moan softly. His hands adjusted the material slightly, then he whispered to himself, 'Per-ffect.' Booth added slowly and deliberately, 'You've become, all you can be, a fulfilled woman and mother, admired, envied, weespected, and loved more now than I ffought possible…' She heard him purr away slowly. 'Open your eyez…'

Bones fluttered open her eyes and standing in front of her was her own reflection in their long bedroom mirror. Amazed at the person looking back at her, she walked curiously to the mirror to check it was her.

The ebony silk kissed her curves like a lover, like he'd done. While the plunged neckline was softened by a ripples of silk which cascaded around her breasts and framed her necklace. The soft silk hung perfectly off her hips to below the knee. As she turned side on she saw a elegant yet sultry slash which hinted at her bare thigh below. The shoes weren't too high but high enough to shape her calf muscles and adorned with a tiny elegant diamond on the side strap. She looked a million and felt it too. It was a smart yet sexy ensemble which not only flattered her new figure, it accentuated the best parts of it too. Bones felt completely overwhelmed.

They looked into one another in via the mirror, and he saw her eyes begin to water. Wagging a finger at her, he warned, 'Don't. If you do - I will, sso don't.' Grinning, Bones went to him, and kissed him solidly, purring her delight, astonishment, gratefulness, love and passion for him.

'From now on you're buying all my clothes. I'm deferring all my decisions until you approve them.'

'Haa.' Checking his watch, he grimaced. 'Quick - lip sstick, per-ffume - that's all you need, nofing elze. Oh. Here, clutch and I've put your ssell in and your wallet,' he rushed efficiently as she spayed her favourite fragrance, and put on her lips.

'Booth, you've thought of everything,' she praised, looking down at the bag he placed beside her on the dresser. 'Except I'm so aroused now, I have to…' she gestured towards the en suite, and began to head in its direction.

'No,' he said forcefully, then added sexily, 'Sstay sslippery then when you cwoss your legss, you'll remember.' They heard the door knock, and Bones got flustered. 'Go-go!' Booth urged, flapping her out of the bedroom, and whirring behind her in his chair.

Two Hours Later

Christine was happily on her last bottle before she was put down for the night. She was cradled in her dad's arms as they both watched Bones being interviewed on a live show on The Discovery Channel. Booth was taping the event, and twitching excitedly as Bones was introduced to the audience to vigorous, yet respectful applause. He couldn't help but burn with pride as he saw she looked absolutely stunning and completely photogenic on his huge TV screen.

'Look, Cwissy - Mommy!' Christine was already watching the bright lights and large moving images ahead of her. Christine finished her bottle so Booth sat her on his lap, and they watched in silence as Bones was asked a question by the tweed-clad bushy eye-browed interviewer. Booth thought the crusty old guy looked completely smitten with his prestigious guest, and couldn't blame him.

Bones listened intently to Dr Walstenhome, and nodded seriously. Then there was a pause as she gathered her thoughts to reply. But before she did, Bones demurely crossed her legs. To Booth's hilarity, she looked to camera and a naughty smile crossed her lips, then she began to answer the question seamlessly. That was his very own, secret smile from her, directly to him. She knew they were watching at home and had done that mischievously, he realised.

'Haa!' Booth bounced Christine on his knee throughout his laughter. Christine burped loudly, and started to giggle. 'Good geerl,' he praised, then asked, 'Can you ssee Mommy, Cwissy? That's Mommy, doesn't she look ffan-tass-tic?'

'Mmm… mmm.' Booth snapped his eyes to Christine with his jaw dropping.

'Yess-yess! Ssay Mo'ma-Mo'ma,' he encouraged excitedly.

'Mmmm mm.'

Chapter XXVI

Wednesday

Home

10.31PM

Booth received a text from Bones at ten just after the interview had finished. Knowing she was going to be out late, because she'd been invited to the after dinner party, he went to bed.

Laying alone, he stared at the ceiling with a glorious smile on his face. Still excited, and reliving today's events he was too hyped he couldn't sleep. Booth was content to know Bones was having a well deserved night out, and receiving the rightful praise and attention she justly deserved from her colleagues. So he lay, waiting patiently for her to come home.

Lincoln Memorial Steps

11PM

The illustrious seated figure of a meditative Abraham Lincoln looked down from his marble seat towards the stone steps that led up to him. His imposing effigy was lit and shone flawless and serene amid the park. The usual tourists were milling about but one man, not a tourist, stood still, anxiously awaiting his contact.

Francis DeCosta checked his watch every few seconds, and looked along the paths to see if anyone approached him with intent. Tired of standing, he sat on the step, and ran his fingers through his short silver hair, trying to stay calm.

He heard the clip of a woman's heal, and looked in the direction of the sound, but looked back to his hands again, wringing them. 'Mr DeCosta?' as soft voiced asked. He snapped his head up, surprised, and stood quickly.

'Yes. How do you know my name?' he asked, trying to see her face clearly through the gloom.

The striking woman stepped closer into the light, and smiled warmly at him. 'I was the person that contacted you. I'd rather not talk here, my car is just around the corner. Would you like to follow me?'

'I-I don't understand - who are you?'

'I'm… a friend - and I've had contact with your daughter, Charlene. Please, follow me,' she encouraged, gesturing with her palm the direction she wanted him to go in. Edgily looking around as the surprisingly smartly dressed woman clipped away, DeCosta decided to follow her although still suspicious of her and her motives.

Blacked Out Stretched Limousine

Lincoln Memorial Park

The chauffer held the back car door open and Bones slipped inside, followed closely by DeCosta. As he anxiously settled the doors locked, and the car began to drive off, heightening his anxiety.

'Where're we going - who are you - where's JB?' DeCosta rattled off his questions, getting tense.

'Mr DeCosta, please, calm down. I have a long story to narrate and then a favour to ask of you.'

'You said you've seen my daughter - where?'

'To answer that, I first should tell you what happened to JB… Please relax - would you like an alcoholic beverage?'

Hoover Building

FBI Conference Room

Agent Shaw tapped the microphone on the lectern nervously as she prepared to address the SWAT teams sat in the overly large auditorium. AD Hacker stood at the back of the stage with his arms folded across his broad chest like a brooding sentry. But to her it felt as if he was waiting to step in if she balls-ed up this briefing, being the only female in the team assembled. Then she remembered Dr Brennan's advice to her: don't be intimidated. So she took a deep breath, opened her note folder, and cleared her throat.

Shaw flicked on the screen behind her and a street map of lower DC was projected on it. 'Gentleman, Operation War and Peace. Target Location - 120 Warbetons Street.' To her delight the burly men sat straighter, and stopped chatting amongst themselves.

'You should all be fully aware by now that this investigation has brought us an excellent opportunity to crack a series of illegal gambling dens located in the south side of DC. These, we've discovered, are run by a man called Tolstoy Green. You all should have a photo-fit and full description at your disposal - familiarise yourself with this man. He is known to be armed and dangerous and is suspected of attempted murder, cocaine offences, fraud, prostitution and kidnapping. What's more, in these dens we have strong evidence of drug dealing and via our surveillance team, a counterfeiting factory on the second floor of 120 Warbetons Street.' Shaw looked around all the faces staring intently at her, and saw she had their pointed attention now.

She drew in another breath, picking up her pointer, and went on, 'We shall gain entrance via three points. The street, here. And two emergency exits - here and here. The imaginatively named - Team One…' she paused when the gathered men snorted at her little joke, and the tense atmosphere broke instantly. Behind her Hacker's cheek flickered but his lips didn't crack into a smile it was threatening. 'Team One will enter the bar from the street entrance at 12.45 precisely and secure the area - please make sure you've learnt the layout of the bar, Agents.'

'Team Two will enter via this fire escape on the second floor and secure it. Team Three, which will include AD Hacker and myself, will enter here via the east side alley exit. We expect to find Tolstoy here - in this back room. Your team leaders have their individual orders and have briefed you all accordingly. Once we've secured the target areas a fleet of vans will be called in the detain the patrons for questioning. Please note - many of those patrons will be armed…' The tension in the men clicked up a notch, Shaw noted, and understood the risks they were all taking tonight.

'Similar specialist teams will raid two other locations in the city at the same time - precisely 12.45. We estimate there will up to one hundred people in our target tonight - but be prepared for an excess of that number. We estimate causalities will be kept to a minimum due to this raid taking place mid-week. This Wednesday was chosen with exactly that in mind… Any questions?'

A hand rose at the back of the gathered Kevlar-clad men. Shaw nodded for him to ask his question. 'Agent Shaw, can you confirm that Tolstoy was the guy that tried to kill Special Agent Booth?'

With a wry grin, Shaw shook her head, then responded, 'I've heard that speculation around these corridors too, Agent Swonton. I can confirm that's idle water-cooler gossip. We've not found any evidence linking Tolstoy to Special Agent Booth's accident… Any other pertinent questions - no? Then all that's left for me to say is - I'm sure I don't need to stress how important this operation is to the FBI and its reputation at home and internationally. We expect all of you to carry out your duties with professionalism and honour. Be safe and good luck. Oh. I'm sorry, Assistant Director, did you have anything to add?'

Hacker stepped forward with a smirk. 'Nope. You said it all. Thank you, Agent Shaw.' Then he released the men to make their final preparations with, 'Dismissed.'

They waited until the room cleared, then looked at one another. 'Excellent, well done. Are you ready for this, Agent Shaw?'

'Yes. But I don't understand why you…' Quickly but delicately he touched a finger to her lips, and imperceptibly shook his head at her.

Tolstoy's Den

Back Room

12.33AM

Max rubbed his eyes to smear away the thick smoke from the cigars that were clogging the rank atmosphere in the poker room. Picking up his scotch to take a gulp, he checked his watch surreptitiously. As he place in down again, Charlie came to his shoulder quietly, and asked silently if he needed another. He turned his head a fraction, and nodded slightly, while staring at his cards. She took the glass, and poured him another from the small drinks table behind him. 'A little ice this time, please,' he requested, sounding exhausted and unsure of himself.

'Come on, Max, what ya gonna do?' one of the other men goaded, already out of the game.

'Shut up -,' Max snapped back, then added a little calmer, 'I'm thinking - thinking…' he trailed off, looking back to his cards. Charlie placed his glass back on the table, and retook her seat behind him. Picking up her nail file again, she deliberately crossed her legs in a signal to Tolstoy who was opposite Max. They were the only two left in the game and the pile of cash in the centre of the table was reminiscent of a smouldering Mount Fuji. The electrifying tension in the room was pulsating through the other five men who watched on in rapt sweaty silence.

Max's brow looked moist to Tolstoy: a sure give away he was not convinced of his cards. Then when the old man adjusted the peak of his cap he knew he was on a winner.

Taking a deep breath, Max scratched hard at his long scraggy beard with a grimace, then carefully laid his cards face down on the ash-strewn baize. Looking into Tolstoy's emotionless eyes, Max reached into the inside pocket of his kaki jacket, and eased out a wad of bills held together with a pink elastic band. All the men around the table twitched in their chairs, and glanced to Tolstoy and each other. They were made harmless phantoms on Max's periphery by the single light bulb hanging over the table. When Tolstoy saw Max was going to continue his blood surged with adrenalin as doubt started to creep into his mind.

'I'll cover your thousand - and raise you - another thousand,' Max said tremulously, carefully flicking fifties off the thick roll.' Tolstoy didn't change his expression but tilted his head slightly, to study Max closely. Once the pile of cash was on the table, Max tucked away the depleted roll in his pocket, and sat back. His wooden chair creaked as he did, which was the only noise to pierce the oppressive silence. Picking up his scotch, Max knocked it back in three consecutive caustic gulps, while keeping his eyes on Tolstoy over the rim.

Behind him, Charlie uncrossed her legs, and started on a different nail. Max rested his arms flat on the table either side of his cards, and drummed his fingers softly on the baize, waiting for Tolstoy now. Having been given the signal to call Max, and knowing for sure he was bluffing, Tolstoy drew in a pitying greedy breath. However Max looked unruffled now he'd made that balls-y decision, and Tolstoy felt his heart pounding with uncertainty too.

Reaching into the hip pocket of his jeans, Tolstoy grinned falsely, as he pulled out a wad of cash, and began flicking the bills onto the pile. Everybody gasped when Max snapped his hand over the first fifty he laid, then snatched it away to check its authenticity.

Outraged by Max's audacity and insinuation, Tolstoy grunted angrily, 'What the fuck, Old Man?'

Innocently, Max eased, 'I'm just checking it. Can't be too careful - there's a lot of criminals around.' He held the bill up to the bulb, and saw it was genuine. 'But not in here, I see,' he added with a sycophantic smile, and tossed it back on the pile. Tolstoy's razor-like glare didn't seem to effect Max, he noted, although the bitter tension between them was at snapping point.

Now Tolstoy continued to flick the cash out, saying, 'That's your thousand.' Max nodded once, wiping his sweaty brow from under his cap. 'There's another.' Then with some relief to everybody, he added coolly, 'What you got, Old Man?'

Exhaling, Max slid his cards off the table inordinately slowly, reading his watch as he did. He held them close to his chest, while splitting them out one by one with his thumbs to read them again. His apparent stalling riled Tolstoy, and he twitched on his chair. Irrationally doubting his own hand, suddenly Tolstoy barked, 'What ya got! Lay 'em down!' Clearly the unbearable tension had cracked Tolstoy's glacial façade wide open.

Lasering his icy eyes into Tolstoy's, Max smiled, asking rhetorically in a slow Confederate drawl, 'Do you know why I love poker?' Tolstoy twitched again, and felt his brow bead with sweat. 'I'll tell you,' he said equally slowly and smugly, 'It's the sweet anticipation - that once in a while - I get to fuck over scum like you...' The insult didn't hit home, although Tolstoy's nostrils flared, but when Max slapped his four explosive aces down, and cocked his bushy, got ya eyebrow, it did.

Disbelieving of what he saw, Tolstoy glanced to an equally stunned slack-jawed Charlie over Max's shoulder. Rabidly incensed, Tolstoy reached under the table for a concealed weapon strapped to the underside. Seeing Tolstoy reach, Max jumped up, spun, and grabbed Charlie off her chair with a speed to defy his age, and crashed her to the ground, smothering her with his body. Jumping up amid the scrambling of the other men to retreat from the weapon, and sneering, unhesitatingly Tolstoy pulled the trigger twice. The murderous bullets cracked off in blinding flashes and hit Max square in the back. He jerked twice on receiving the two savage impacts, and groaned, but still lay over Charlie as her human shield.

In the same instant the door behind Tolstoy flew open among the terrifying cacophony and confusion. The room was filled with screams from outside, crashes of chairs and bottles inside, and shouts of: FBI-FBI. Hands in the air! Hacker and Shaw crashed through the door in full Kevlar and helmets, as Tolstoy spun, wide-eyed with the gun in his hand.

It was Hacker that pulled the trigger first, and the second, and the third time. Pop-pop, pop Shaw heard, and froze for a split second, stunned as her visor splattered with Tolstoy's blood. The first bullet pierced Tolstoy's heart, killing him instantly. The second tore through his stomach exploding it from inside to out, gutting him. Then, obliterating his memories, the third round exploded Tolstoy's skull apart. The violent momentum catapulted him across the table and smashed him through the light bulb, throwing the room into a grizzly darkness. Tolstoy lifeless body slumped to the dirty floor beside Max and Charlie.

In the pandemonium that followed, through the half light given off by the FBI weapons, and after scrambling handfuls of cash into his pocket, Max heaved Charlie up to stand. She was hysterical with shock, confusion, and seeing the bloody carcass of Tolstoy slumped against the matter-covered wall. Max glanced to Hacker who was squatted to secure Tolstoy's gun, and flicked his eyes towards the door. Max was already leaving though and didn't need to be prompted.

Max practically carried Charlie out into the alley through the exit with his hand over her mouth to stop her screams being heard so they wouldn't draw attention to them. Charlie lost a shoe in their frantic escape but was helpless to resist as Max clung to her, hauling her down dark stinking alleyways and away.

'Please shut up, Charlie,' he said sweetly, dragging her down another alley that led off the first two they'd negotiated. Finally he came to halt with her wiggling and sobbing in his powerful clutch. 'You're safe now. I'm Booth's friend - Booth's friend...' Charlie stopped fighting him instantly as his statement registered. Wide, wet eyed, she panted to recover under his palm. 'Are you going to scream again?' he asked before he removed his hand. Charlie vigorously shook her head. Gingerly Max removed his hand, and let go his clutch of her. Max smiled warmly when he pealed off his scraggy beard, eyebrows, and cap, then slung them in a nearby dumpster they were butted against.

Charlie panted, astonished, 'You're Booth's friend?' Max nodded again, drawing breath too. 'Did he send you?'

'In a manner of speaking - yes.' Then he asked curiously, 'Can you ride pillion?' He pulled out two helmets from the dumpster, and handed one to her.

Tolstoy's Club

Shaw lowered her semi as the men around the table were being frisked and roughly cuffed with packing ties by the rest of Team Three. Suspicious of his actions, Shaw scrutinised Hacker's granite expression.

Standing up from the bloody corpse, Hacker said flatly, seeing her quizzical look, 'It's a pity, Agent Shaw. We all wanted to take Tolstoy alive…'

'Yes - we did,' she said, watching Hacker briskly leave the room, as he spoke into his radio strapped to his shoulder.

'Team Three secure...'

Lincoln Memorial Park

1.09AM

'So - do you understand, Mr DeCosta?' Bones asked nervously. DeCosta sat back in the sumptuous seat, and swigged the remnants in his glass. He held the amber liquid in his mouth for a few moments, then swallowed slowly, nodding. When he looked back up he was smiling, so Bones relaxed, and settled back too. Just then the privacy window of the limo swung across and a be-capped Cam handed Bones her cell. Bones took it from her over DeCosta's shoulder, and read the text.

Handing it back to Cam, Bones said, 'I have some good news, Mr DeCosta.'

Astride A 100cc Pink Vespa

Max shouted over his shoulder to his passenger, 'Are you cold? Slip your hands under my sweater to keep warm!'

Charlie shouted back over the wailing of the struggling engine and the rushing of the wind, 'Where're we going?'

Max grinned. 'I thought I'd take you sightseeing! Have you seen much of the city at night? It's magnificent you know. Wonderful city DC!' he yelled over his shoulder again. Charlie's brow furrow at his explanation. Then she ducked her head behind his, and held on a little tighter. As she did she saw that his jacket had holes in it where he'd been shot, then remembered.

'You tricked him, you cheated! I don't know how, but you did!' she shouted in his ear but not caring anymore now she was free of Tolstoy oppressive chains.

Max smiled, imparting some sagely advice, 'A tip for the future, Charlie - never try to kid a kidder! It's bound to end in tears!' Charlie held her hero tighter as Max revved the little engine of the Vespa, and sped on through the Capital's streets. Twenty minutes later they stopped in a deserted car park, and Max turned off the engine. 'Isn't that a glorious sight?' he gushed, pointing ahead.

Blacked Out Limousine

Bones looked to the window as it was tapped with a gold signet ring, then shifted across the seats to open the door. Max popped his helmet covered head in, and said cheerily, 'Pizza delivery for a Mr DeCosta?' Bones shook her head at him with a wry smile, then stepped out of the car, and closed the door again.

Bones smiled at Charlie as she walked over to her, seeing Cam considerately covering her trembling shoulders with a thick blanket. Charlie's face lit up as she recognised her.

'You..?' Charlie said. Bones nodded, and immediately hugged her.

'Yes, me - and some very good friends,' Bones confirmed over her shoulder. Charlie squeezed her back hard as Max and Cam exchanged smiles.

Looking back into her saviours eyes, Charlie said, tearing up again, 'I-I don't know how to thank you…'

'That's taken care of,' Bones said cryptically. Then she gave Charlie another strong smile, and added, 'I've got a surprise for you.' Bones gestured with her head back towards the limo, so Charlie hobbled over beside her.

Francis DeCosta's jumped slightly as the car door opened again. To his unadulterated elation and heart-wrenching relief his long agonising search was over, he realised. His bedraggled, long lost, prodigal daughter slipped in beside him to the sobbed words, 'Papa? Papa…' He crushed her to him, and sobbed with her, thanking his God for finally answering his prayers.

Bones closed the door carefully on the tearful reunion, and walked back to her father now, wiping her cheek dry quickly. 'Ooo. Nice duds, Tempe,' Max complimented her attire as she neared. Bones hugged her father tightly too now, which he gave back with gusto.

'Thank you. Well done, Dad. Were you injured?' Her eyes flicked over him to check.

'Nooo,' he droned, then tapped his chest with his knuckles and it made a clonking sound.' Max went on, 'I took slugs in the back, but I'll be fine - with a little back rub,' he dismissed all the drama with a flippant air. Bones smiled, relieved to know the Kevlar had done its job.

Bones took a deep breath, then asked gravely, 'Is he dead?'

Max rubbed her bare arms with his palms affectionately. 'Hacker had no choice, Tempe…' Bones sighed out that breath, and nodded solemnly. She dropped her eyes from his as he brushed a lock of hair from her face, then he changed the subject, 'Oh. Here - I won it back for you. I think you might be up a few grand,' Max explained smugly, and pulled out a fistful of scrunched dollars from his pocket.

'Keep it. Get yourself a massage,' Bones said, then kissed his cheek sweetly.

Max shoved the cash back in his pocket, and walked back to the Vespa, then got on it. 'You know what? I think I will.' He turned on the scooter, then added with a mischievous smile, 'One of those Swedish ones...'

Bones laughed as he kissed her cheek again, observing, 'You're irrepressible, Dad.' Max sweetly saluted her, then rode off into the DC night, leaving her and Cam in a cloud of burnt two stroke.

Cam doffed her uniform cap at Bones, and they began to walk back to the limousine side by side. 'You look exceptionally good in that uniform -,' Bones remarked, 'and you drove this vehicle very well.'

'Why thank you, Doctor Brennan, but I'm not going to change careers just yet,' Cam said, opening the door for her to get in.

'I'm delighted to hear it. I'd keep the uniform though. I'm sure Paul would very much like to see you in it...' Cam's eyes widened at her innuendo, and took a double take of Bones' wry smile as she elegantly slipped inside the car.

Home Again

2.04AM

Bones eased the covers back, and slipped under them as quietly as she could. Settling her head back to the pillow gradually, she closed her eyes. Then a moment later she let the air in her lungs escape through pursed lips in a long silent sigh. Her body melted into the mattress as all of her tension sapped away from her muscles.

She heard Booth take a deep breath and shift slightly, so rolled her head on the pillow to look at him. To her amazement he was wake and watching her. Bones smiled. 'Sorry - did I wake you?' she whispered. His warm hand slid over her stomach and rested there. Bones placed hers over his, and they laced fingers.

'Did you have a good 'ime?'

'Yes. It was a most enjoyable evening after all.'

'Fank you,' Booth said softly. Confused, her brow crinkled into a question, so he answered it, 'For the ssmile and cwossing your legs.'

'Oh. Haa. Yes. I was hoping you'd spot it.'

'I did.' Bones nodded keenly, still grinning. Booth edged closer, nuzzled into her neck, and kissed it several times. 'Ssweet dweams, Bones.'

'You too,' she whispered, then closed her eyes again.

Chapter XXVII

St Theresa's Private Medical Facility

Dr Peroni's office

'Well, Booth - this all looks extremely promising.' Booth agreed with a solid nod. 'The MRI and CT shows a marked improvement. The reports from the physiotherapist are very positive too. Your muscle atrophy has greatly improved and the tingling has drifted to your knees now. Your speech has improved too indicating your jaw is knitting together nicely. Remarkable changes in such a short period of time - all excellent. Let's keep on doing what we're doing then.' Again Booth nodded with a cheered smile.

Peroni stood, and shook Booth's hand across his desk. The doctor opened the door and Booth wheeled himself out, beaming at Bones as she stood up from the chairs outside his office. 'Wonderful, we're very pleased with Booth's progress, Doctor Brennan.'

'So I can see.'

'I've got to get Booth's prescription filled - I won't be long.' Peroni walked off down the corridor. Booth kept grinning, as he took Christine from her, and bounced her on his lap.

'You asked for Viagra, didn't you?' Bones accused, narrowing her eyes at him the moment Peroni was out of earshot. Booth nodded vigorously, snuffling into Christine's belly. She began patting his head with both hands, and gurgling.

'I told you that wasn't necessary. You're putting to much emphasis on this, Booth. I'm perfectly satisfied with cunnilingus and manual stimulation to bring me to orgasm.'

'Wow. You make it ssound sso romantic.' Booth looked up and down the corridor making sure they were alone. 'He ssaid you have to sstimulate my genitalia and then mount me if it works,' he explained at a whisper, like a naughty school boy using words he shouldn't. Bones rolled her eyes, and sat back down. Sitting Christine on his lap, and seeing Bones sulking, he reached for her hand. She looked up at him from under her lashes. 'Pleze understand, Bones - it's a man fing. There's no harm in givin' it a go, iz there?'

'Personally, I think it's too soon. I'm concerned you'll get depressed if your male pride is dented again if we have a negative result.'

Booth nodded, understanding her concern, so encouraged her, 'Ok. How about if I pwomise not to get depwessed if it doesn't work - will that make you smile again?'

'Possibly, I'm not sure,' she said, looking up the corridor, trying not to smile.

'Haa. Come here 'n' kiss me.' Bones grinned finally, and kissed him.

Inside Bones' Prius

'Wow. It'z busy. What's the hold up?' Booth asked, noting the streets of DC were crammed with cars it seemed at every intersection. Bones shrugged her shoulders as she came to the red lights, and stopped. The hoots from frustrated drivers and the sour faces on them hinted at something more than general traffic congestion. So he turned the station on her stereo to the local news.

'Tut. I was listening to that,' Bones huffed, glancing in her rear-view mirror to check on Christine who was asleep now. 'The motion of the vehicle must simulate the movement she felt whilst in the womb and the dullness of sounds too, consequently lulling her to sleep.' Bones looked to Booth who was ignoring her completely or hadn't heard a word she'd said. 'Booth?'

'Mmm?' he mumbled, still distracted, and fiddling with the radio buttons.

Sighing, she began again, 'I said, the motion of the…'

'Shussh. Listen,' Booth instructed, turning up the radio. Bones cocked an affronted brow at him, which he missed, too engrossed in the DJ's banter.

(( Yes, folks we know it's clogged up like my deaf grandmothers ears out there. But stick with Capital and we'll keep you smiling' with some cool tunes and the latest road closures on the south side. Try this one for size - the immortal, Road To Hell by Chris Rhea…))

'I think he's being ironic,' Bones said flatly, and edged over the intersection. Booth was already changing the stations again.

(( And now for the traffic update. After the police raids on several addresses in the south side of the city last night and the resulting street closures for the ongoing investigations, we have jams backing up to… )) Bones said uninterestingly over the bulletin, 'Put the music back on, Booth. There's nothing we can do about the traffic congestion. We're not going to the south side anyway.'

'Okay.' Booth tuned the original station in again, and relaxed back into the seat. He looked out his side window at nothing. Bones glanced to him, noting him drumming his fingers on his jean covered knee. 'It must be somefingbig to get vem to close down sstweets like that,' he mused out loud.

'Mmm. Quite possibly. Here we are. Do you want to come in or stay here? I shouldn't be too long.' Bones pulled up outside a run of stores, turning off the engine.

'N'aah. I'll stay with Cwissy.' Getting out, she went to the trunk, and took out a bag. Before she crossed the street to the stores, she looked over her shoulder, and tapped his window. It purred down, and she leant in. 'What'z up?' he asked. Slipping her hand behind his head, she pulled him closer, and kissed him wetly. Then she was gone and Booth was left grinning stupidly.

Prius

Booth thought Bones looked angry, for her, when she crossed the street, and opened the car door. She jumped inside, and slammed it jolting Christine awake. She was staring out the windshield, and gripping the wheel so tightly Booth could see her knuckles paling. 'What iz it? What'day ssay?'

Bones looked at him with frigid eyes, and opened her mouth to explain, then snapped it shut, changing her mind. Booth knew that wasn't a good sign, so he tried again, with more caution, 'Bones, what did they…'

Bones cut in over his question with, 'Sanctimonious gob-shite!' Booth's jaw dropped at her language and her all too apparent rage. She narrowed her acid blue eyes at him, adding another shocking, but excellent, insult to whomever she was directing it at, 'Sycophantic knob-sucker.' Booth recoiled, absolutely astonished she knew these words but completely adoring her letting off steam this way.

'I was extremely polite -,' reassuring him, Bones began stuffily, 'I took the remaining roll back and explained, quite calmly, that when we hung the wallpaper something was amiss and that I thought that the pattern was defective in some way.' Booth nodded to agree. 'He was exceedingly polite too and checked the bar code and batch number. Then he proceeded to tell me that they were fully aware of the defect and would quite happily replace the rolls we'd purchased with new unblemished rolls. I was relieved, as you can imagine, Booth. We were correct in our assumptions that the paper was indeed defective and our property wasn't subsiding after all.' Booth nodded, but was biting his lip, desperately trying not to laugh.

'So, not wanting more rolls I opted for a refund instead. I produced the receipt to be refunded for the wallpaper we purchased at $115 per roll times four - equalling $460 plus tax. Do you know what he said?' Booth shook his head, seeing her eyes start to spark like flint chips. 'He said he couldn't give me a refund for all four rolls as I'd only returned one. W'hell, then, I asked to speak to the manager. He told me he was the manager, so I told him how was I supposed to bring him the other three rolls when they'd been pasted, hung and ripped off numerous times? He then said, aloofly, I'm so sorry, Madam, that wasn't his problem…' she sneered.

'Umm. Where's the roll then?' he asked carefully.

'I was so incensed I unravelled it and began ripping it up then throwing it around the store, saying he might as well use it as toilet paper then because that was all it was useful for…' Now calm, Bones paused to look out the windshield, then added her recollection dreamily, 'It was like a ticker-tape parade in there when I'd finished, Booth…' Now she looked to him and they both burst out laughing. Booth was kissing her freely and copiously as they laughed themselves silly.

Home

Dinner was a busy affair. Bones and Booth, with Christine in her high chair, sat around the island eating their jointly prepared meal. Bones was relaying all the details of her TV interview and the party afterwards. While Christine had fun trying to feed herself between her parents actually feeding her. She was bodily caked already with liquidized goop of the adults meal that reminded Booth of the stuff he had to feed himself with not long ago.

In a lull in the conversation Bones reminded, 'I'm going into work tomorrow - just for the morning. But I do have a meeting with the board at one. It should only take an hour but I'll not be back mid-afternoon. Will you be ok?'

'Ssure. Have I got Cwissy?'

'No - she's coming with me. She needs regular interaction with infants of her own age, the crèche obviously delivers that.' Although Booth was disappointed he understood Bones' logic.

Already on the subject of childcare Booth thought it was a good time to tell Bones what he'd been mulling over for a few days. 'I've been finking, Bones.' She looked up from her plate briefly, seeing Booth spoon food into Christine's open mouth. 'What would you ssay if I said I don't want to go back to the FBI?' Bones stopped chewing, and looked up again slowly into his eyes. Seeing her stilted surprise, Booth grinned nervously, and explained, 'I've been seriously finking about it. It will be months, maybe years, before I'm ffit enouff to return to active duty. And honestly, I love taking care of Cwissy.' Bones swapped her gaze between him and Christine then back to him.

'Fink about it,' he went on eagerly, 'you could go back full time and be the forensic anfropolo-gist you worked so hard to become. I could finish off da house and get it how we planned, you know? We'd survive easily on your salawy. And if fings got tight I could do some desk work or be one of those consultants types. Then if - when I'm well enouff and want to return to work, I could… What do you fink?' Bones put her fork down, and her eyes to her plate.

'What do I fink?' she said quietly, repeating his question and lisp.

Gone were the days, it seemed, of everything down the middle financially to the point of insanity. Gone was the irrational ego and his control issues that had so marred their first months as a pregnant couple. Sweets had been correct; peoples peripheries may change but their core stays the same. This core was essentially her Booth, everything else was stripped away and he'd emerged: bright, fresh and handsome to dazzle her.

As she looked up into him again he was smiling hopefully. 'I think - I think it's something to consider but…'

'Buuuut?' he said, knowing there would be a hitch.

She said cautiously, 'Christine will be crawling soon, then walking and running, I know that wheelchair is very manoeuvrable and fast but what if…'

Booth grabbed her hand putting her on pause, as he said, 'I know-I know what your worried about, and we can cwoss that bridge if we need to. But as an idea, just an idea - would you have any objectionss to me being a sstay-at-home dad?'

Bones replied instantly and positively, 'Absolutely not - no objections at all.'

Snagging his head back, completely surprised, he clarified, 'Weely - none what so ever?'

'No. You're an outstanding nurturer, Booth. You're patient; loving, gentle, have all the necessary skills, and, of course, more experience than me. The human male is just as capable as the female to raise their progeny. In fact, there are many anthropological precedents I could quote. For example - in the Um-kobe tribe of…' Booth was over the island in an instant, and kissing her passionately for her endorsement and support. Bones gasped off his lips to chuckle at his excitement. Then she realised, in the same moment as he did, what had just transpired.

Looking at her daddy, Christine cooed, 'OooOOOooo,' in the pin-drop silence that followed.

'Oh. Sshit,' Booth said, looking partly scared, partly jubilant, partly astonished. 'Bones - I'm sstanding up...'

Later

As Bones slipped into bed, she urged, 'Promise me you'll take things slowly. Booth?'

'I will, promise.' After turning off the lamp, Bones snuggled into his chest, and slipped her hand into his newly cut hair to play with it like she often did. 'How long do you reckon it will take me to walk unaided, Bones, roughly?'

'I can't answer that with any accuracy. It depends on the continued regeneration, you're efforts and fitness levels and other factors. Don't think about it now - my advice would be, to be patient. I'll leave a message for Peroni with his secretary tomorrow, informing him. He'll probably call you about it.' She felt Booth nod as he held her tighter. 'Have you taken your medications?'

'Yep, I'm rattling with 'em. Booth, the human maraca,' he observed jovially. A heartbeat later, feeling a delicious trickle of serenity creeping down his back, he oozed, 'God, I love it when you play with my hair like that.'

He felt her smile on his chest, as she returned the observation tenderly, 'Good. I enjoy playing with it - it soothes me. Bones - strokes her pet.' Booth sniggered, then kissed her brow. 'You feel very warm tonight, like my personal hot water bottle.' She snuggled a little closer. Booth grinned. Then she postulated, 'I hope you're not coming down with something.' Booth grinned even wider, and waited for her to make the connections. He forgave her the long three seconds it took before she shot her head up to look him in the eyes. 'You've taken one.' Booth smile brightly, and nodded.

'Peroni ssaid you have to sstimulate my genitalia - its in that direction apparently,' he said with a wicked grin, pointing south.

Bones sulked. 'Oooh, Booth, I wish you'd told me you were going to take one tonight - I'm ex-hausted.' Booth's smile slid of his face and thumped to the floor, and she felt his chest deflate. Settling her cheek back to his chest, she sighed.

'Oh. That's ok, Bones, I've got a ffew for another time,' he said flippantly, trying to disguise his heartbreak and disappointment but failed atrociously.

Bones grinned, then looked into his sad smile, resting her chin on his breast. She eased herself closer to his face, and oozed against his lips, 'You're so gullible.' Grinning happily, yet nervous now, Booth felt her hand slip off his stomach. It trickled south as she kissed around to his ear, and licked into it softly, hearing him groan.

Bones knew she had to use all her wiles to pamper his body but stimulate his mind too. However, she began her inspired strategy with a tender warning, 'Remember your promise.' Booth nodded, closing his eyes to her seductive touch. 'There's no pressure on you to perform tonight, Booth,' she whispered again, and licked into his ear, as she stroked his flaccid cock like she was smoothing the coat of a cat. 'Remember when you dressed me to deliberately arouse me?' Booth nodded, taking in a deep breath, intently listening to her erotic voice that sounded as if it was dipped in smooth dark chocolate.

'When you saw me cross my legs on national TV… I was very slippery, Booth. Those beautiful panties were drenched.' Booth grumbled with the image she'd given him. 'All I thought about was you spreading my thighs and sliding slowly inside me.' She bit soft kissed over his cheek towards his mouth. 'Have I told you, how erotic that initial sensation is for me?' Booth looked into her dewy eyes, and shook his head slightly. He was loving her revealing these little details to him, like they shared the other night.

'It's a primal, carnal moment I relish. That first penetration feels sublime,' she mouthed against his lips, and sweetly wet his with her tongue. Booth groaned, flexing his pelvis slightly against the warm sheets. He didn't doubt her explanation because he'd seen a wondrous expression of ecstasy cross her features many times when he forged inside her.

Bones continued to caress him, while oozing her words into his ear. 'But I was alone, Booth, and you'd made me feel so sexy...' Bones felt his flaccid cock begin to swell gradually and lift off his thigh; causing her heart rate to double in a matter of seconds. Feeling him go from soft to hard under her palm was a natural aphrodisiac and affirmation of his desire for her, she felt, and it thrilled her. Bones began to relax into this seduction, knowing the combination of her touch, the pill and arousing talk was working for him. As his cock grew firmer she stroked his underside from root to tip, and relished the velvety softness of his engorging flesh. Finding the protruding vein that ran his shaft and pulsed, she concentrated her attention on that for a while. He serenaded her delicate technique with his demanding mumbles.

'I went into the restrooms, and closed the stall door.' Bones wrapped her palm around his furry tight scrotum and found his spot, and began to massage it gently, while she continued quietly and slowly, 'I lifted the sexy silk of my dress because I was too impatient - I had to satisfy myself.' Booth lids hooded, she saw, and noted his eyes cloud with the racy image she was giving him. 'I closed my eyes - put my foot up on the seat to open myself just enough. Then, I felt for my smooth clitoris through the black lace. It was jutting out - erect and insistent, Booth…' He nodded, breathing heavily. 'I caressed it - just like you do. Ooh. It felt so good to touch myself again, Booth,' she droned wantonly. Booth held onto her tighter as he felt his heart pumping fast, and a luxurious heat rise up from his groin to fill his torso.

Writhing subtly, he suddenly gushed, 'I feel, umm - I'm hard, Bones…'

Hearing his anxiety dissipate, Bones' heart leapt, and she twitched against him, giving away her own arousal. 'I know - very hard.' Feeling the heat he was creating, she slid the covers off him to witness his cock bouncing slightly on his stomach. With each heartbeat more blood pumped into his fully extended cock and in turn her sex pulsed in sync with him. Sharing a scorching look, they both smiled.

Carefully Bones straddled his thighs, then reached to turn on the bedside lamp. She was eager to see his handsome cock clearly and reacquaint herself with him properly again. 'Gorgeous,' she mumbled admiringly, whilst palming his twitching thighs. Booth saw her eyes cloud now with desire but instead of mounting him as he thought she would, she just grinned at him. He reached for her breasts with either hand, and caressed them to her delight.

'Tell me more,' he begged sweetly, flashing fire from his eyes. Bones could see his relief and excitement at being a fully fledged man again as he perceived himself.

Shuffling down his legs, Bones obliged his request in a lascivious way, 'I stroked my clitoris faster and faster but I wanted to touch myself, skin on skin - so I did. But I had to bite my lip, Booth,' she explained with a pout. Multitasking, she curled her massaging palm around his cock, and thumbed his ultra-sensitive fraenulum. Booth gasped at the lusty sensation that shot up his back. 'I wanted to hum and moan like I usually do when you touch me.' She watched as he slammed his eyes shut, and began to tense. 'I imagined your naughty tongue there, Booth.' She saw his lips curl almost into a wry smile. Then she fired up his ardour with obligatory smut and a deliberately pornographic, 'My impatient dripping fingers were your reprehensible, untamed - fucking tongue…'

Booth rumbled like an earthquake had just shaken his foundations, and flexed his torso, scorched by her lusty narration. 'Do you want to feel my tongue here?' she asked, squeezing her thumb and forefinger on his glands, making him juice. Booth grunted, clenched his fists and teeth, and nodded fast. Bones wasted no more time, desperate herself to fulfil his every desire.

She reached into the nightstand drawer, and brought out a tube of intimate lubricant. He watched her every move ardently, and panted with sexual energy. Excited by the anticipation of the sensational slippery glide he knew the lube would create, he groaned deep and long. As she smiled down at him, she deftly tossed the tube back in the drawer, rubbing her palms together. 'Just a little to smooth things along - helps with the friction,' she said carnally. He nodded fast again, sinew taut. 'I love watching you orgasm,' she confessed suddenly which notched up his urgency, thankfully he didn't have long to wait. 'I'm going to make climax so hard you'll see stars - I promise you that…' He didn't doubt her sweet arrogance in the slightest. Then his angel lustily tossed her halo aside, fell from grace, and onto him.

Clamping his eyes shut, Booth jolted as she curled her tongue around his wide glistening hood, then flickered it against his ultra sensitive underside. 'Fff-uck,' he grunted, and looked down to her wide eyed. She grinned up at him without any spec of innocence or modesty in her eyes and with her mouth chock full of him. He didn't know at what point she'd spread his legs and knelt between them. Nor did he recall when she'd begun to use both slippery hands. One was busy gliding him up and down, while her thumb continued to wind up his torque. The other palm was massaging his solid scrotum and the root to his prostate with her other thumb. Completing the three pronged exquisite attack, Bones then began to suckle tenderly.

Yes, she thought, she wanted him to fuck her mouth. She hummed at the sensation of having his smooth crown rub against her palate. She wallowed in the decadence of his tang back on her tongue too. And loved that her jaw began to ache as it stretched to accommodate his satisfying girth. She sucked, lapped and kissed around him in an energetic welcome back. Those weren't her only physical delights: she knew her libidinous eyes were gorging on his lean physique too. Now his body looked as if it was hewn from Appalachian granite.

Inevitably he'd lost weight but with the physio and weight work, it had defined his abdominals and pectorals to perfection, she keenly observed. They were pumped sinew-tight and twitched with the life and power, while his biceps were rock-hard just like his penis was. His narrow hips rocked slightly and she lecherously let her eyes traverse up to his broad shoulders, and felt her inner thighs moisten with her own arousal. He was pinch-fit despite his scars and safely, utterly mountable. But that option wasn't on her agenda tonight, this was for him alone, so she did the next best thing.

Bones opened her throat, and filled herself with him in one deep satisfying plunge.

'Bones,' he gasped, sounding panicked. He was obviously out of practise and her wet mouth and flickering tongue were overloading him with sensations he couldn't possible endure. Bones saw the alarm in his eyes, and snapped her lips around his throbbing shaft again. Letting her mouth continue, she reached for his blindly grasping hand with hers, and laced her fingers through his. She willed him to let go, moaning her entreaty, and rapaciously bobbed up and down on him.

He felt the tension building in his solid cock at a frightening speed. He felt on fire and the flames ate the air out of his lungs, starving him. He couldn't watch her any more because that vision swirled and made him dizzy. Watching her only made him want to lose control, and fuck her amazing mouth hard. It was so soft and hot, wet and deep; and he just wanted to delve in there over and over, forever.

He had an illicit memory which he'd cherished. That memory was just before he came she would always, without fail, push hard on his hot spot with her tongue, and simultaneously push up under his scrotum. It used to blow his mind, and he wondered if she would do the same. Even the thought of her doing it, the anticipation of it, was blowing his mind now. It was like she instinctually knew when to capture the exact moment to bestow the greatest pleasure. He knew the recital of Saints names was a futile exercise once he felt her do that. Then, to his wonder and relief, she was doing it.

Moments later Booth cried out her given name in homage, scrunched her hand in his, and saw explosions of vivid primary colours and crackling light blaze across his retinas. A split second later his cock erupted violently, with it his body went into repeated spasm with the acute ecstasy he was experiencing. Booth knew she'd promised him stars but in truth she'd unleashed a supernova.

Whimpering ecstatically with him that he'd finally achieved a climax, she felt his warm pearly spurts fill her mouth confirming it. Bones milked him now, and gulped him down with equal triumph and elation. She crushed his hand back, seeing his pent up emotions slip from his lids and change his expression from taut to euphoric in a mesmerising instant.

Panting softly, she kissed her way up his now trembling mushy meridian, and placed a calming kiss over his twitching heart: all the while gliding her hand up and down on his waning erection. As she settled slowly on her haunches, she admired him savour and slowly recover. Her lips tingled seductively, and she licked the mild numbness of them. She mused that was the fastest she known him climax during fellatio. But it also meant that despite her previous reservations of success, she felt the evidence of her error on her tongue. Happy to be proved wrong in this instance, she sighed with huge relief for both of them.

Booth fluttered open his eyes, and pulled her over him. 'I'm ssorry - lost contwol,' he wheezed.

Bones just laughed softly on his chest, not caring about that, while covering them both over again. 'You're not the only one with a secretion fetish, Booth.' Then she coyly flicked her eyes up to his. He knew what she was implying but had to check, so he cocked a brow into a question. 'Yes, to me your ejaculate tastes like rich, smooth, peanut brittle,' she explained softly, nuzzling again now, and closing her eyes. She licked her lips slowly, savouring him with an unabashed graphic description, 'Its slightly salty with a syrupy tang, distilled with pure you.'

Booth grinned, and held her tighter, then mumbled humorously, 'Umm. Tasty then?'

Bones chuckled. 'Yes - delicious,' she cooed lovingly, then added seriously, 'You should try it.' Unfettered by pointless moralities or any aversion, he kissed her passionately, and tasted himself infused with her.

When that unconditional kiss ended, they cuddled in silence, then finally he asked sleepily, 'Did you - come in the sstall last night?' On hearing his question, Bones grinned, and kissed his cheek sweetly.

'Twice.' Then she reached over him to the lamp, and turned it off, then snuggled back up against his radiating heat until he drifted off to sleep.

Chapter XXVIII

Home

Booth woke only as Bones minty lips kissed his softly. He yawned, then only after did he open his eyes. With her shimmering halo back firmly in place, Bones was sat next to him with a cherubim Christine on her lap. Both of his girls were dressed and obviously ready to leave.

'Morning my angels. What time is it?'

'Eight. We wanted to say have a good day, Daddy - didn't we?' Bones said to Christine, and placed her on Booth's chest after he pulled himself up to lean against the pillows. Bones then went to the drapes, and opened them, as she said, 'I made you pancakes - warm them in the microwave. Any after effect from last night?' she asked casually, and walked to the dresser, and put on his gifted diamond studs.

'Apart from ffeeling like I'm floating' on-a-cloud, and having this weird sensation that I'm a lot lighter - no.' Bones snorted, and grinned, flicking him a, you're so bad smile. Booth was bouncing Christine up and down on his lap, and making silly faces at her. She was smiling back, and kicking her legs like she was back in the baby bouncer.

Bones sprayed her neck with perfume, then flicked her hair about with her fingers. 'You can't look any more beautiful than you already are, so stop twying. Don't mess with perfection.' Bones' moved smile warmed his heart as she sat back down beside him on the bed.

'Thank you, Booth. Don't forget you've got…'

'Yeess, I remember. And I won't over do it,' he droned, kissing Christine with a mmwah sound, and giving her a cuddle.

'Sorry, am I irritating you?' Bones caressed his hand in an apology, and he held it flat against hers. She measured her fingers against his, then they split them, and grasped them closed, creating a bond.

'No - being you. Which I'm used to. I'll cook tonight. Be prepared to be dazzled by my prowess in an apron.'

'I shall. Oh. I've left a message on Peroni's answer phone about you standing yesterday. I didn't say the Viagra worked though - I wasn't sure who'd be listening.'

'Smart move. Any chores need doing?'

'Yep, I've left you a list on the fridge. But only do them if you get time or aren't too tired. Right, we better go then. Call me if we need anything, and I'll pick it up on the way home.'

Booth became distracted, and peered into Christine's mouth. 'Bones, look, iz that?'

As he pointed, Bones peered too. 'Yes! Oh. My word, her first tooth, Booth! Christine you have your first tooth! Yey - Well done, Christine!' Bones was ecstatic and the air around the trio buzzed, and they stared at the tiny tooth just peaking above her lower gum. 'Oooh. I'm so proud,' Bones sighed, knowing that was a totally irrational thing to say because it was a natural progression of her development. But felt that emotion all the same.

Bouncing Christine again, Booth laughed, 'Haa. Did ya hear that, Cwissy, Mommy's sso proud.'

'MmMm omm mma,' Christine mumbled, excited by her parents jubilant smiles. Bones stopped breathing, and froze. Booth grinned, seeing her terrified to even suggest what they were both thinking Christine was attempting to say.

'Yeess. Saay Mo'ma, Cwissy, Mom-my, Mommy,' Booth encouraged his daughter sweetly.

Nervously Bones said, 'D-don't force her, Booth, she'll…'

Bones trailed off as Christine mumbled again, 'Mmmo-ma,' and reached for Bones while still in Booth's hands. Automatically Bones took her, and promptly melted into a puddle, then added to it with her tears, biting her bottom lip.

Booth encouraged, wrapping his arms around both girls, loving the fact that Bones had lost her composure, 'Clever geerl, Cwissy!' Booth kissed Bones cheek fast then Christine's. 'Mmo-ma, that's, Mommy.' Christine just kept giggling, and jumping up and down on Bones' lap, thrilled with the praise, and ticklish kisses she was receiving.

'Oooh. Booooth,' Bones whimpered, collapsing to his chest. 'Her first incisor and her first word. How can I concentrate today?'

Sympathetically Booth said, 'You will. You're a profess-nal. If you start cwying just tell the interns that its vose fweaky hormones - or shock.' Bones gave him a gentle nudge in the ribs, then kissed him. Christine joined in with a high pitched squeal, and slobbered over their cheeks, pulling at Bones' hair.

Jeffersonian

The lab was flooded with natural light from above through the glass ceiling. It was busy with people dressed in formal white lab coats hurrying from one place to another. Most were wearing safety glasses, and milling about on the space-age platform around computer screens or technical equipment. As Shaw walked around the platform, she glimpsed two cleaned skeletons laid out on separate gurneys, and they were being inspected studiously by several interns. It wasn't a hushed atmosphere because there was the background hum of the AC and the computers and muted discussions going on. But it was a subdued professional atmosphere, Shaw mused, and found it a little intimidating.

Agent Shaw looked through the vast glass windows that fronted Dr Brennan's office as she neared, headed to the open door. She felt slightly anxious visiting her unexpectedly but as she'd not heard from her, she felt it was her move.

Bones was busy typing on her keyboard, not watching her fingers flurry across it, and reading from an open file which was balanced on top of another twenty or so. Shaw paused in the doorway, deciding whether this was a good idea. To her surprise the doctor said, without looking at her or breaking stride on her keyboard, 'Good morning, Agent Shaw. Please, come in and take a seat. I'll be with you in just a moment.' Relieved by the pleasant welcome she'd received, Shaw came in, and quietly took a seat in the comfy chair opposite her. As she settled and was about to cross her legs, Bones spoke again, 'I'm apologise for not contacting you, but I was aware you'd be very busy after Wednesday night.'

Shaw nodded, and finally crossed her legs, then straightened her jacket as Bones was still furiously typing. Shocking her, Bones suddenly snapped the file shut, chucked it in her out pile, and tapped another key. Then the printer behind her began burst into life and began to spit out her report. Standing, Bones then smiled at her, gesturing with her head out the door, saying, 'Lets get a beverage.'

Shaw just got up as Bones was already out the door, and briskly walking along the corridor. Flustered, Shaw hopped, then almost had to run to catch up with her. In the busy corridor she noticed the white-coated technicians part like the Red Sea as the doctor power walked through them. Shaw, on the other hand, had to dodge the technicians as they circled back around her, and made her passage intricate.

Seeing Bones now heading up a staircase, she managed to dodge another gaggle of sober technicians, and trotted up the stairs after her. Bones was at the coffee pot, and pouring herself a mug as she reached the upper platform that overlooked the lab floor below. 'Tea - coffee?' Bones asked casually.

'Tea, thanks - black,' she said, looking over the lab. From this elevation, Shaw had an excellent view of the lab and skeletons, and went to the rail to have a closer look. Bones came to her side, and placed the mug beside her. 'Thanks,' she said, taking the mug, but her eyes were scrutinizing the scene below, clearly fascinated by it. Bones leant casually on the rail too, and looked down with her.

'Those are two sets of remains from storage. Booth calls it the Bone Room. People's remains found and unidentified or unclaimed are stored there. Part of our job is to discover who they are, where they lived, how they died and if foul play was involved. The Jeffersonian receives remains from all over the country, often from other countries for identification. Those particular remains were discovered in a farmers field as he was ploughing it over last fall.'

Surprised, Shaw asked, 'Murder?'

With a hint of a smile, Bones said, 'War, Agent Shaw - the American Civil War, it appears. We found scraps of uniforms and weapons, and a few personal effects with them. Eventually we will contact there nearest living relatives, if they have descendants, and the remains will be handed over for burial. Sometimes if we can't find their relatives we'll take care of the remains ourselves. In this case we'll probably arranged for them to be interred with their comrades in the official war graves.'

'Fascinating. What stories you must uncover here.'

'Yes. The process can be long and frustrating but it's the journey of discovery that I most enjoy…' she explained thoughtfully. Changing pace, Bones moved them forward with, 'Anyway, you didn't come to talk about my skeletons, did you?' Shaw shook her head to confirm. 'No - I didn't think so.'

Shaw said softly, 'I've got some questions for you and I hope you'll be able to answer them for me…'

'If I can - I will,' Bones said, taking a sip of coffee.

Shaw stared her in the eye, and asked bravely, 'Where's Charlie?'

Home

Bones' pancakes were to die for when fresh but when an hour old, and heavy with soaked in syrup and butter they were like manna from heaven, Booth mused. Consequently, he was savouring the last one on his plate, while flicking through The Post on the kitchen island.

As he turned the page his eyes flicked over the two sheets, scanning to see if anything caught his interest. 'FBI blamed for traffic snarl-ups yesterday,' he read aloud the headline, then began to read the article, 'Traffic chaos, blah, blah, south side, spokesperson for the police apologised to commuters blah, blah. It was necessary to close some roads due to the nature of the raids at three locations, blah blah. The FBI made seventy arrests in connection to fraud, drug, counterfeiting, aaannnd…' Booth turned the page to read on, as he did a photograph leapt out at him off the page. The image bludgeoned his skull and rattled loose a cascade of repressed memories and twisted grey dreams. It felt like he'd been punched in the stomach too, and was suddenly winded by the image. He gasped to breathe, and read the caption under the image. 'Tolstoy - Green, shot dead by FBI,' he whispered, feeling his heart pounding. Then he looked up into nothing, muttering, 'Charlie…'

Panting to calm himself, he began to read the rest of the article. Words like: gambling den, tattoo, and prostitution all gave him more dots to join up with each memory they stirred. He held his head in his hands, and closed his eyes, concentrating hard on another word, dead.

'Dad,' Booth finally moaned, and felt his eyes burn as he looked over his shoulder towards his man cave. A warm leafy memory held in a tatty sepia photograph tore at his soul. His troubled father had made and bruised his early history. But now those harsh memories faded and the misdeeds forgiven as Booth grieved again.

Another line was drawn in his head between two dots and he whimpered at the ugly revelation. 'Bones-oh-God, Bones…' Everything she'd told him about his behaviour had been true although he couldn't recall then, now he did. It was all coming back to him; gone were the monochrome half remembered dreams and fractured memories. They'd all been real and now turned vivid and clear in his head.

Booth blindly stared at the pages, weeping unknowingly, as he made the connections; building the outline until it formed a structure. Eventually his mind created a matrix where everything interlinked. But one line between two remaining connections on the periphery stalled his total recall and full understanding. But money, was the word that resounded most and he knew then it was the thread to completing the puzzle.

Snatching up the pile of his forgotten unopened mail by the fruit bowl, he began ripping open the envelopes, and scanned the contents. In them Booth found his last connection. With that, the flimsy web-like matrix solidified and stood out clear, strong and tangible. The epiphany that came with it though was horrifying, yet deeply moving, and equally unbelievable.

Trembling, Booth reached for his cell on the counter, and through blurry wet eyes he sent a text message. He wrote: Need to see you - I remember now.

Jeffersonian

Not intimidated anymore by Bones, Shaw narrowed her eyes at her. 'Doctor Brennan, you've told me absolutely nothing,' she berated, then continued to openly air her grievances but in a measured way, 'You've hedged my questions, dismissed all my suppositions and frustrated me at every turn.' Bones listened patiently, while keeping her expression even. 'I thought we had an understanding. I assumed we were working this case together - as partners. But it seems you've been using me to get exactly what you want. I have to admit that I'm really hurt by that.'

'Yes, and I'm very sorry. I have used you - but my purpose in doing so was just and necessary to protect you and others. You deserve the truth. As for the hurt you feel, I respect that and understand it completely. If I'd done the same to you, no doubt I'd feel the same way.'

The quirky, annoying genius doctor was at it again, Shaw realised, and knew there was only one course of action she could take. Scanning her honest but resolute expression, she replied, 'Right, ok - apology accepted.' In the next heartbeat and in the same breath, she added brightly now, 'How's Agent Booth and Christine?' Then Shaw stepped away to top up her tea.

Finally Bones relaxed. 'Haa. Agent Shaw, I find myself liking you very much.' Bones came to her side, and smothered her face with a glorious smile. Shaw knew that was high esteem, and smiled back. Bones went on, as they leant on the rail to watch the platform again. 'Christine has erupted her first incisor and she said mom to me this morning.'

Delighted to hear that, Shaw exclaimed, 'Oh! N'aaww. How cute is that?'

'Exceptionally cute, yes. I became quite emotional,' Bones confessed sweetly, then went on, 'As for Booth, he's much more content and his recovery is progressing swiftly.' Shaw nodded gleefully. 'Plus, the Viagra he ingested last evening produced a very strong erection. He was most pleased with the results, as was I.' Shaw spat her tea out over the balcony, and everybody looked up hearing the splash as it hit the floor below and showered a few unsuspecting technicians.

Mortified, Shaw scolded through gritted teeth, 'Doc-tor Bren-unn, too much information.' Blushing, Shaw wiped her mouth, surprised nobody heard her casual intimate disclosure. Turning her back to the platform, Shaw had a thought, and aired it, 'Wait - how come you can tell me something so personal but not tell me about Charlie?'

'Oh. I was endeavouring to engage you in easy female repartee to reassure you that indeed we've a secure bond of friendship and re-establish trust with you. Miss Montenegro, who is my closest friend, and I often talk about sex with our partners and other intimate subjects.'

'Oookaay. So from that I can deduce that you see me as one of your friends therefore you're relaxed enough with me to tell me these personal things. But that you're not at liberty to tell me, however trustworthy you believe me to be, about Charlie yet?'

'Yes!'

'Great - I've got it. I just have to be patient.'

'That's it in a Brazil nut,' Bones confirmed, grinning cheerfully, delighted she understood.

Trying not to laugh Shaw corrected her gently, 'Nut - shell. In a nutshell, Doctor Brennan.'

'Oh. Yes, of course, I knew that. With Christine's eruption and her vocabulary expansion, I'm a little distracted today.' Bones reached into her lab coat pocket as her cell bleeped. As she read the message, she lost her smile, and explained, 'Oh. I have to go - I'm needed.' Bones was off down the steps immediately. Then she slung over her shoulder, 'Good bye, Agent Shaw.'

Stunned by her sudden exit, Shaw called after her, 'Bye. Bye, Doctor Brennan!' She watched Bones part the waves of technicians again as she powered through the lab and away into the distance.

Home

Eyes, Booth knew, were the thin veil he had to go through to get into the soul of a person. He'd been blessed with a gift which allowed him, for the most part, to read the truth in people even if they uttered a lie. The closer that person was to him, the easier it was to read them, he'd discovered. Sometimes this gift was a true blessing, other times it could be harrowing to know whether a soul was tainted. So it was with apprehension that he purred up to his front door, took in a deep breath to prepare himself, then opened it.

With a single look, a mere glance, Booth knew his suspicion were confirmed. He sagged, looked away, then purred back to the lounge in silence. Soft footsteps followed him, then stopped when he did.

'You called - I'm here, Booth.'

Nodding, Booth rubbed his thighs with both palms as they tingled persistently, and felt like vomiting. The acrid bile rose, and he swallowed it back down, hard.

'You have questions...'

Booth nodded, and turned himself around. 'Look me in the eye and answer this -,' he managed to say, as he scrutinized the soul staring back at him, 'did you kill Tolstoy for putting me in a wheelchair?'

Immediately the answer came, 'No.'

'Lair,' Booth snapped.

'Prove it,' Hacker challenged back just as fast. Then silence fell again as Booth wrung his hands, gravely agitated.

Booth began rambling, 'This was - Bones must've - you let her do it - she's known about - never said anyfing - then this, this,' he asked, confirmed, and tortured himself throughout his half spoken questions. Hacker squatted in front of him but Booth couldn't look him in the eye now.

'Look at me, Booth.' He did tentatively but with real fear for what else he might find inside his eyes. Hacker saw the heavy weight his soul carried, being almost as perceptive.

'What would you have done if it had been her, Booth?' Booth rolled his head to bow it, and closed his burning eyes, knowing he was right, he would have done the same. 'I knew, whatever I did, she'd find a way to get to the truth - and she did. I told her nothing, nothing. What she discovered was by her own instincts, pure and simple.' Hacker clasped Booth around the back of his neck, and touched his brow with his, as he said passionately, 'What she did, she did to protect you, me, and the FBI. But most of all you, Booth. A love like that can make us martyrs to the truth. And its clear Temperance Brennan loves you so completely, she was prepared to live with whatever she found to be the truth.' Hacker saw Booth's moved tears drip onto his lap, and soak into his jeans. 'Tempe never doubted - you, or your motives - not once, even when others did...'

Hacker stood slowly, and squeezed his shoulder in a gesture of sympathy. Giving Booth time to compose himself, with discretion he wandered way. Snooping around the unfinished lounge, he then went under the arch into the kitchen.

Booth wiped his cheeks, and took a ragged breath. 'I was so caught up in the mess I'd made I did stupid fings.' Hacker nodded, glancing at him, as he opened the fridge. 'I was angry with myself so I took it out on her.' Hacker peered inside, was impressed with the contents, then took out a bottle of beer. 'I said hurtful fings to her when I wanted to tell her everyfing but my pride got in the way,' Booth explained, throbbing with anguish.

Hacker closed the fridge, and ran his hand along the counter tops, admiring the design and space. Humming thoughtfully on Booth's words, Hacker commented, 'Umm. I remember my mother saying to me once,' he paused to twist off the cap, and wandered back to Booth. 'That we hurt the ones we love the most because we know they'll forgive us, because they love us.' Hacker handed the beer to Booth, continuing, 'I don't doubt you two will have problems again in the future, like any couple, but its how you deal with the aftermath that really counts, I think.'

Booth looked at the bottle in his hand without seeing it, and then to Hacker, who was grinning pleasantly. 'Fank you, Andrew.'

'Oh! Nothing to thank me for, Booth.' Hacker flapped away his gratitude with an elegant palm. 'So, moving on. How long am I going to keep your job open for?'

Booth smiled weakly, and sniffed, wiping his nose with the back of his hand. 'Maybe you should consider somebody elze for my job. I'm not sure I'll be coming back or if I want to.'

Hacker looked horrified, and blanched, 'But, Booth, you are my go-to man - you have to come back...' Then Hacker sparked a thought. 'Oh. Lord, you've gone gaga for that little creature, haven't you?' he accused playfully, narrowing his eyes at him.

'Ha. Yeah. I've talked about the possibility of being a full time dad with Bones, she doesn't have any objections. It might take me a year, maybe longer, to get back into the shape I was before the accident. Then again, I might never be able to. I have to be wealistic.'

'Right, well, that gives me a time scale at least. Let's not make any hasty decisions right now. I'm sure I can find somebody else to fill your shoes for the time being - till you make your final decision.'

'Again, fank you.' Hacker shook his head to dismiss his gratitude again.

Looking around the lounge, Hacker observed, 'Have you noticed - that wallpaper's wonky?' Booth grinned strongly now, and nodded. 'If it was me decorating this space, I'd make that wall around the fire the feature.' Booth looked over his shoulder to the unfinished fireplace, and grinned as he thought his suggestion was a fair idea. When he looked back to agree with Hacker, he was gone. Booth heard the front door click, and allowed himself a tiny smile. He looked at the frosted bottle in his hand, seeing it now, and took a sip.

Later

Home

Booth's heart leapt as he heard her key in the door as it signalled his girls were home. He heard too Bones grunting as she struggled in with her usual files, change bag and car seat with a squealing Christine inside it. This squeal was not usual type however and he immediately dropped the spoon he was holding to stir the sauce with, and rushed over to see what the commotion was about.

Bones dumped the files on entering the lounge and they spread out like spilt milk across the floor. 'Booth - Christine's poorly,' Bones proclaimed with an anguished expression but trying to mask her grave concern courageously. Bones headed straight for the nursery, and Booth immediately followed as she hurriedly went on, 'The crèche called me in to her. She has a temperature of 99.2 - and has had three sudden bowl evacuations. One of which is currently riding up her spine - these diapers are clearly inadequate for such explosive events.' Bones flared her nostrils, seemingly irritated and applauded at their inefficiency. 'The stench on the ride home upset her so much we drove home with the window fully opened. She's been inconsolable and wailed the whole way home.' Booth was trying not to laugh as he assisted her to strip Chrissy of her soiled clothes, and discarded them. He was also adoring how over the top Bones was being about such a mild temperature and a few sloppy diapers.

Booth eased her softly with, 'Calm down, Bones. I expect she's just picked up a…' They both paused their actions, and recoiled at the gut wrenching stench and mess she was squirming in. 'Hoooly Mother of God, that's nasty.' Bones covered her mouth with her palm, and visibly retched twice, nodding at him to agree. It amazed him that she could sniff a month old, maggot-infested, putrefying human remains and not bat an eye lid. But one, albeit, rancid diaper and she almost spewed her lunch. Booth had never seen her do that, and it amused him no end.

Christine was still crying heartily and flushed bright pink with her concerted efforts. She kicked her legs, and flailed her arms, clearly trying to get away from herself. Seeing Bones' reaction, he said, 'You run her a baaf, I'll sort her out.'

'Really? I don't understand my revulsion, I've never…' she paused to heave again, looking even more confused and horrified by her reaction. Then she took a cautious breath to control her urge to vomit.

'Haa! Bones, go and run her baaf, go on,' Booth urged her away sweetly. Flustered, and torn between helping him or leaving him to deal with the mess, and still anxious, Bones finally went to run her a bath quickly.

As Booth cleaned the worst off, and began to calm Chrissy down, he listened as Bones continued to call out to him from the bathroom, 'I've given a sample of her stool to Hodgins to analyze!' Booth snagged his head back hearing that, while wrapping Chrissy in a towel. 'I've instructed him to scan it for bacteria, virus and parasitic infection! Then we'll know what we're dealing with, and can medicate accordingly or have her hospitalized!' Booth rolled his eyes, and amusedly shook his head. 'He's promised to send me the results the instant he has them!' she explained only just veiling her panic. Booth started to laugh at her seriousness and complete overreaction. He could imagine the lab had been sent into meltdown by her wacky instructions. He kissed Christine's cheek, and she began to whimper and finally calm being clean now.

Bones strode back in, looking flushed herself. She'd stripped off her suit jacket and had her sleeves rolled up as if she was going into battle, or surgery. Booth had Chrissy over his shoulder, and was patting her back gently when she returned. He was smiling at her, Bones noted, and Chrissy was completely calm now if not exhausted by her exertions. Bones sighed, and finally took a breath to calm too. 'You know, Bones,' Booth began carefully. 'It's quite common when babies teethe they sometimes get a mild temperature and diarrhoea…?'

Bones opened her mouth to comment, but snapped it shut a moment later. Booth left her with that thought as he purred past her into the bathroom to bathe Chrissy. As she watched Chrissy sail past on his shoulder, she looked into her eyes, and mumbled, 'Mmm omma,' while reaching for her. Pouting, and deeply moved, Bones paced after them, while offering her index finger to Chrissy. She grasped around Bones' phalange tightly, and rested her head on her daddy's strong shoulder.

Bones' Study

Purring out of the nursery after putting Chrissy to bed for the night, Booth went to find Bones. He found her in her study surrounded by piles of files and sleep on her cheek with a pen still in her hand, hovering over a pad. The meal he'd prepared for them this evening had been cremated and consequently disposed of once all the drama was over. They'd opted for a takeout Thai which was still to arrive.

Shocking her awake, and making him flinch Bones' cell sounded. She scrabbled to pick it up, then bleary eyed she read it. Booth watched her face relax as she was consoled by the message's content.

'It's ok. Hodgins found no parasites or unusual bacteria and she is free of all known viruses.' Nodding, Booth purred around the desk to her, and gently peeled off the yellow Post It note stuck to her cheek with an enchanted smile. Then he kissed her blushing cheek softly. 'I was completely irrational, wasn't I?' Bones lovingly rubbed her cheek against his, and closed her eyes.

'Yeah, it was pwetty funny.'

'I think I'll stay home tomorrow though - just in case.'

'Ok. I've had an idea, Bones. Leave this till tomorrow. Let's snuggle up in my cave, eating Thai food out of the cartons and sswig a beer from the bottle like we used to.'

Grinning, and turning off the computer, she said, 'Sounds - perfect.'

Man Cave

The coffee table was strewn with empty cartons of Thai and three empty beer bottles. Booth had on his ice hockey game and was watching the images but not seeing them, but mulling over today's events and revelations. Bones was draped over him like a blanket, and dozing off her meal and the beers. He caressed her forearm casually, and looked down to her, face up on his lap. He tilted his head, to see her the right way up, and sighed, knowing what she knew about his exploits now and everything she'd done to find out about them. He looked away from her flawless serene face out of the French doors to the wounded pink sky, and grit his jaw, trying not to get emotional again.

Booth knew Hacker had seen what had possessed her, what had driven her. It was an unconditional love of the deepest kind, thought only to be bestowed to a parent and child that spurred her on. He knew many search for, but never found, that kind of emotional security in another human being. But her love for him, he had no doubts, was as fierce and unwavering as that. What was more emotional for him she'd refused to give him permission to die that day, because she knew her paired heart wasn't ready to let him go. Being that essential and loved so powerfully clogged his eyes with tears and his soul with humility.

Stirring on his lap, Bones blinked opened her eyes, and looked into his watery ones. Knowing she was watching him, and with his heart thumping in his chest, he bravely looked back down into her eyes in silence. He saw her swallow, then almost smile. Without anything to confuse or obscure their deep connection anymore the task was effortless again for both of them. They'd finally found their way back to each other. It was a euphoric moment yet laced with pathos for the time they'd been lost to each other.

'You know,' was all she said. Booth nodded once, futilely gritting his jaw, trying to stave off his welling emotions. In silence Bones slid up, then carefully straddled his lap. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she held him in a vice-like clutch to her, and rocked him. Booth held her back just as powerfully, burying his face in her soft neck. 'Promise me one thing, you'll never hide anything from me again. Can you do that?' She looked into his face, tracked with tears as he nodded.

Snatching a breath, he nodded again. 'I wanted to tell you - I did so much but I'd messed it all up,' he said agitatedly. 'I ffought I could put it right and you'd be none the wiser. My pride would be in tact and…'

'Sssh,' Bones calmed, tenderly brushing his tears away with her thumbs. 'I know what motivated you now, Booth,' she said empathetically. 'At first I was hurt, then annoyed you didn't tell me. Then, during my investigations, I realised why you couldn't explain what had transpired.' Bones smoothed his hair down at his nape, while speaking softly, 'When you love someone you accept their faults along with their virtues, don't you?' Booth's chin was still wobbling, but he was gradually gaining control of his emotion again.

'Yeah,' he said weakly, caressing her back with both his hands.

'I selfishly asked you, I needed you to prove you still loved me, do you recall?' Booth nodded. 'I realised that was the wrong question, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. I reasoned, if you trusted my commitment - my love, then maybe you'd have felt secure enough to tell me what you felt you couldn't. It was me that had to prove to you that I loved you whatever the problems were between us. But the accident put a sudden halt to my efforts to reassure you.'

'We didn't talk enouf.' Bones nodded with a gentle smile of agreement. 'I'm not going to let us to fall into that twap again.' His chin began to quiver as he admitted, 'I was so sscared…' Bones kissed him into silence, and held her lips to his, until she felt him relax again.

As she sat back, she smiled at him compassionately. 'Yes, Booth. I know you were scared now - we both have to share the blame for that.' Booth pecked her lips, as he nodded. 'You were scared I'd walk away. You thought, wrongly, that I take Christine away from you too, like Rebecca took Parker away.' Booth nodded, looking down between them. She lifted his chin sensitively with her fingers to look at her again. 'With my apparent apathy you weren't sure of my devotion. Your insecurities about the woman you've loved rejecting you - resurfaced.' She saw his watery eyes search hers, and he nodded again. 'You thought my insecurities prevented me from fully committing to our relationship long term. While your masculine pride stopped you from opening your heart to me and admitting a simple error of judgment and unforeseeable misfortune.' Bones pulled a handkerchief from her robe pocket, and sympathetically wiped away his rolling tears. 'Since then I've tried to prove my love and commitment to you by my actions, both physically and emotionally - that was my sole motivation.'

With conviction, and equal passion, he avowed, 'I do love you and I'm certain of your commitment and love, Bones. Knowing what you've done on my behalf I'm convinced and humbled by the truth of it...'

Bones nodded slowly, searching his searing eyes. She took a deep slow deliberate breath, then kissed his lips feather-light. Shuffling a little closer to him on his lap, she rested her brow on his, and asked, 'Will you then, in light of what you've just declared, Seeley, will you validate our love - confirm my commitment and prove you trust in my love and are secure enough in me now - by marrying me?'

Although not said quite how she'd rehearsed, she thought it came out reasonably well and had enough solemnity and emotion nonetheless to make her tear up.

It was akin to dawn breaking on a vast epochal horizon, Bones thought, as his glorious smile gradually rose to brighten the shadows on his face, then glisten in his eyes. The heat given off by it warmed her up till both of their smiles were fully risen.

They knew these brutal months had ensured and confirmed that they could survive whatever life held for them. They'd guaranteed each other that words would no longer be avoided but would be spoken freely and without fear again. Doubts that had blown in their faces and through their minds were just fickle memories to be forgotten now. Their love was inevitably made stronger, fitter and deeper by their triumph over those trials. With that richer love branded on their expressive eyes, etched across their hearts and fertile smiles, they began to laugh and hold on to it, tight.

Ecstatically Bones snapped her lips to his, then slipped her tongue passed his malty lips, and gorged herself on his love. Booth crushed her to him, and blithely tangoed with her exuberant tongue in giddy, mutual jubilation. Bones squirmed on his lap, gasping off his mouth, then ripped her robe open to free her breasts, staring heatedly into his eyes. 'You're incredibly handsome, have I told you that?' Booth mumbled an incoherent reply, gasping at her robe to pull it off as fast as he could between their frantic kisses. She knelt up to give him access, as she fumbled to untie the knot of her robe. 'You're eyes, aww, Booth your eyes they - they umm…' she whimpered, unable to complete her adulations as he instantly captured a nipple between his lips, cupping that breast, and suckled.

Thrilling her more, Bones felt his groin start to tighten against her tingling pussy. Booth mumbled urgently, 'Bones, I'm getting an…'

Bones struggled to tear the thick annoying garment from her flushing body and arms, whimpering her urgency. 'Aaw. Umm. Yes, I know, gah. I know -,' she muttered, sounding strained, finishing his sentence, 'erection - taken pill.' Once the robe was finally shed and tossed, she started on releasing his engorging cock from his pyjama pants. She gulped for air.

'No pill, that's-all-me,' he revealed, just as frantic to connected with her. Bones froze for an instant like the world with his throbbing cock in her palm, and speared his eyes with hers. Realising the implication, she rejoiced with him in an eloquent blistering smile. Then their world turned again, but span faster this time.

'Don't move - I'll mount you,' she said breathily, almost clinically, massaging quickly to harden him more.

'I wish you'd get on with it then - I'm not gonna last long,' he warned puckishly. Bones snorted, wildly kissing him again but took him at his word, and happily made haste. Moments later Booth felt the heavenly velveteen slide of her juicy pussy down his shaft as she brought him home. This time he felt exactly what she did as his mouth gaped in awe.

Closely watching his reaction, Bones thrust her pelvis forward once to deftly wedge him to the hilt, which stole both their breaths. From under his hooded lashes, he saw her eyes roll back in her head as she became an extension of him, with an uninhibited thrilling croon. With it he felt the vibrations of his heartstrings and pitch-blended with her in his own bass tone.

With their bond established, the seismic shudders it evoked created a shift in their tempo from unbridled lust to sedate passion. 'Ex-quisite…' she murmured. As the steam cleared from her eyes slightly, she refocused on his, and smiled with such intense love he struggled not to cry again.

Sentimentally he wooed her, 'I'm sso lucky, sso, sso lucky - you could have any man, Bones, you're beautiful, ssexy, clever…?'

Touched by his adoring question, she interrupted him, breathing sultrily in his ear, 'I don't want any man -,' Booth's eyes dreamily shut to her dulcet loving tone, 'I wanted Doctor Walstenhome but I'll settle for you instead.' As her seductive retort registered, he bellowed with laughter. Grinning, she kissed around from his ear to his lips, emboldened by his amusement. Bones then routed him with a licentious French kiss which he'd no option but to surrender to.

Moaning into her, he eased himself deeper into her tight body by pulling her buttocks inwards, as she continued to gently make love for both of them. There wasn't much room to move as he was pinned to the couch, but she made the most of that by using her trained yoga core to massage his shaft. The gentle clench, hold and glide of her pelvis that she employed escalated their joint ascent. 'Climaxing with you inside me is the most divine sensation, Booth, I feel like I'm airborne.'

Again she was speaking the sentiment he could read in her eyes, but hearing these things confirmed made it more seductive and emotional. However he was surprised by the context of the use of divine, so asked, 'Divine as in, feels incwedible or bestowed?'

She snuffled a little chuckle into his neck, adding a few precisely placed kisses, asking silkily, 'If I said both, would you believe me?'

'I'd believe anyfing right now.' Grinning, Bones slowly rolled right back to lay over his knees, prostrating herself and tilting her pelvis to change the angle of his glands inside her. His venerating hands immediately trickled from her thighs up over her ribs to her breasts. 'Oh, Bones, that ffeels amazing,' he purred as she rippled like hot silk under his wandering hands. She hummed to acknowledge their mutual pleasure, as she reached to where they fused, and caressed herself. Narrowing his smouldering eyes, he watched a rainbow of colours shimmer across her projected onto her from the TV. 'I love to watch you do that…' After a few moments more he leant forward to take her free hand, and pulled her back up to face him.

'Yes - I know it stimulates you, but thank you for telling me.' Her hair settled around her smiling face as they interlocked fingers. 'Now - ask me the question that's been haunting you, Darling,' she whispered softly, seeing it lurking within his soulful eyes.

Instead of asking it he kissed her so passionately for that rarely uttered term of endearment. He felt her quicken her movements, and her breath shorten, so he began to thrust gently. When that scintillating kiss ended and before the next one began, with courage he asked, 'When you came to the hospital dwessed like a…'

'Prostitute?' she clarified, still gently riding them along. 'That was my alter ego, Tallulah Goodshank,' she explained proudly, flaring her eyes. 'Oh. Would you like me to slip into character now?'

Horrified at the thought, Booth shook his head fast. 'No - no, God, no. I was wondering, err, who you met that night.'

'I met Charlie - Charlene DeCosta.' Sensing his sudden nervousness, she went with her instincts, and a smile, 'You're curious to know whether I thought you and her had some kind of physical relationship.' Booth nodded nervously. 'I cannot lie, the thought did briefly cross my mind, but I dismissed it almost immediately. I know you, Booth, more completely than you realise, I think. You wouldn't risk us for a brief affair or a sexual liaison. You couldn't live with the guilt, your integrity would prevent you from it, and - I trust you.'

Booth ran his fingers through her hair, taking it off her face, then held her close to thank her for that relentless trust. Feeling his eyes burn, he whispered, 'Your faith in me is sso strong.' Smiling, she soothed him with more caresses and warm kisses. 'Her name wasn't released to the pwess, was she hurt in the raids or a-wested?'

Caressing his worried face, she cleared his eyes of Charlie's ghost with, 'Neither, Booth. She's safe - and with her father.' Astounded, Booth searched her eyes for the answer. Then with a wispy humble smile, she explained, 'I had help, lots of help from our family and colleagues. Mr DeCosta was very grateful to have her found. Umm. Do you mind, Booth? I can de-brief you tomorrow but right now I'd very much like to orgasm on your magnificent phallus,' she cutely pleaded, with a flare of her steamy eyes.

'Haa! Orgasm away, Bones.' Now with a jolly smile, Bones sped up again, undulating nimbly on his snap-hard cock. 'God, I love you,' Booth declared, rocking gently back to her sweet careful rhythm, and littering her neck with honeyed kisses. 'Magnificent, eh?' he mumbled against her dewy skin with an impish grin. Bones ignored his clearly rhetorical question, but it did make her grin a little wider.

'Stay still, Booth, or I'll tell Peroni,' she threatened adorably, then relented slightly with, 'But I'm sure you're allowed to stimulate my clitoris, if you like.'

'Haa! Will you stop making me laugh, this is ssupposed to be serious love making,' he reprimanded, caressing her most sensitive bud with his thumb pad.

'OooOoo. It is extremely serious,' she muttered, licking her lips for the impending climax to come. Suddenly she lanced her roasting gaze with his, read his mind instantly, and urged, 'Take whatever you need. Mmmm I'mmm, all-most…' Booth could see she understood and had virtually insisted, so he didn't hesitate. He cupped a milky breast in a free hand, and suckled the hard nipple that crowned it. As her wholesome milk flowed into his hungry mouth, she wrapped her arms around his head preciously, and crooned, 'Aww. Booth - love you.' That was enough extra stimulation for both of them.

Their long awaited crescendo was breathtaking and worthy of the gruelling enforced hiatus. A fierce rapture crashed through them like a dammed river breaking its retaining wall. Booth's brutish side emerged as he felt an overwhelming impulse to take over, having been passive for too long. He threw her sideways, going with her to lay over her, and thrust hard on each of her sublime contractions to synchronise them. Gasping with shock and in ecstasy, and without the ability to stop him, she had no option but to give in to his savage artistry.

Rhythmically buttressing her pelvis against his, Bones took her greatest pleasure when a second later she felt him fire his hot spirit deep inside her. 'Arr. Divine-divine,' she murmured on each balmy surge, squeezing his hard buttocks into her. Booth's predatory eyes staked her to the couch, while he thrust deeper into her on each raw grunt. She whimpered deliriously her double delight at being loved so hard and claimed as his in such a manner. Then their milky wet mouths merged too, joining in with their rhapsodised bodies.

Their joint airless flight into ecstasy was brief, too brief for either of them but they relished the sensational unity nonetheless. Tears sprung organically from both of them, cumulating in them breaking that kiss. Then they laughed softly at themselves for their shameless slushiness. Softly panting their quivering recovery in each others faces, they smiled blissfully hard at one another. Finally they lovingly caressed the other on their slow glide down to earth.

When their laughter and tears slipped away, Bones goaded, 'That was very cave-man-ish, Booth. Will you be dragging me around by my hair next?' Booth hadn't stopped thrusting yet, and readjusted himself against her slippery flesh to possessively embrace her.

'You enter my manly man cave at your own wisk, Bones, anyfing is possible in here,' he bantered back, with his charismatic bad-boy smile.

Her hands continued to meander over his ripped muscles under his t-shirt, wallowing in the luscious comfort within his embrace. 'Ho'kay,' Bones placated, amused, but grew concerned for him, so sweetly warned, 'You'd better relax now.' He shook his head, and continued to pleasure them.

Spaniel-eyed, Booth explained his persistence, 'Again, Bones. I'm not done, neither are you. Once is never enough, for either of us - you must remember?'

Bones thought it ironic that he was asking her that question after all he'd struggled with. But nevertheless she was deeply moved that he remembered their previous insatiability. 'I do remember, Booth,' she confirmed, caressing his hair tenderly. 'But no. As much as I want to make love to you all night, I'll not be relaxed enough to enjoy you. You're clearly euphoric, so am I - I understand that, but you need to rest. Please, Booth, just relax and enjoy our post-coitus glow.' His adorable sulk almost changed her mind but as he slowed down gradually, so she felt him start to wane inside her. 'We've got the rest of our married lives to make all kinds of love, haven't we?'

Nodding, Booth's smile returned with that question, so did his soothing kisses. Bones eased him to her side, then laid along and facing him. He draped his arm over her waist, and sighed contentedly. Snuggling comfortably against each other, they lay quiet and almost still as the huge TV flickered sporting colours across them.

'How can I ever repay what you've done for me - and everybody that helped too?' he asked, suddenly appearing overwhelmed by the task ahead of him.

Bones shook her head to dismiss his query, then eased him with, 'You'd don't understand, Booth…' Drifting her finger tips up his spine, she saw his brow furrow, so she enlightened him, 'There's no debt to repay. What little we did was to thank you - for all you've done for us in the past…' Deeply moved, Booth swallowed the ball of cotton in his throat, and held her soft body closer. There was nothing he could say to follow that, so he remained silent. Seeing his emotion, Bones grinned a shade deeper, and slipped her thigh over his until they were virtually seamless.

Submerged in one another's expressive eyes, they grinned hard as both knew what he was attempting. Bones murmured, 'Have I told you - that when you stare this deep into me, it feels like we're still making love?' Booth cutely kissed the tip of her nose in reply. 'One day, I imagine, you'll achieve your ambition and I will orgasm.' Booth flared his eyes to sweetly acknowledge that was indeed his burning ambition, which made her chuckle softly. But his fatigue prevented him from trying anymore now as his lids started to droop: although he desperately tried to keep them open, and stay sunk in her glittering eyes. She knew her gentle fingers curling repeatedly against his nape would send him off to sleep much sooner than his dopamine surge. Once he was asleep, she carefully slipped away, then draped a throw over him.

With deliciously wobbly legs, and her body still fizzing, Bones went to her study to her cell, and with a smile teasing her lips, she typed in a message. It read: Required: One Maid of Honour. Position would suit closest friend & most treasured Aunty. RSVP X . Then, with an even greater smile, she sent it.

Chapter XXIX

FBI Hoover Building

Hacker looked around the busy pool of agents under him outside his office. Spotting who he required, he called out, 'Agent Shaw?' Shaw looked up, and swallowed nervously as AD Hacker motioned with his hand for her to come into his office.

Standing from her chair, she tugged her jacket straight, then grabbed her note pad and pen. As she crossed the floor she felt all eyes on her, but ignored them as she weaved between the stacked desks. Hovering on the threshold, she peered in, seeing Hacker pouring himself a coffee from his machine. 'Yes, Sir?' Hacker flashed her a smile over his shoulder.

'Come in and close the door, Agent Shaw. Take a seat,' he instructed brightly. Shaw did as pleasantly commanded, tugging her skirt down this time over her knees. Shaw scanned his immaculately polished empty desk and the Armani Code scented room. She checked the camera wasn't on or that he had an open line on his phone on the desk. Seeing neither surveillance, she relaxed slightly.

'Agent Shaw,' he said, making her jump. He turned with two mugs in either hand with a brilliant smile, and offered her a mug.

'Oh. Thank you.' She took the drink but didn't want to put it on the desk in case it left a burn ring, so held it on her lap. He sat down placing his mug on a coaster he retrieved from his drawer, then slipped another across the desk to her to do the same. 'Oh. Thank you, again,' she said a little nervously. Hacker took a sip, then looked her over carefully. She felt uncomfortable under his scrutiny, but lifted her chin to prove she wasn't intimidated too much.

'Have you been in contact with Doctor Brennan or has she contacted you recently?'

'Errr. No. I've not heard from her for well over a month, Sir. Is there something wrong?'

'No! Quite the contrary actually. The reason I've asked you in today is that she has contacted me. Let me explain…' Shaw nodded all ears. 'The FBI have been in negotiations with the Jeffersonian over the last week or so. You see, we've got a few cases staking up which need a little help from the wizards at the Jeffersonian. With Special Agent Booth being out of action for some time, the Jeffersonian - Doctor Brennan to be precise, has requested a new liaison here at the FBI, naturally. She's requested you for that position. In fact, she's refused to work with anyone else.'

Surprised but delighted, her question reflected both of those emotions, 'Oh. Wow… Can she do that?'

'Haaa! Not really but Doctor Brennan does pretty much what she likes, Agent Shaw.' Hacker sat back in his leather chair. 'We, here at the FBI, give her that leniency because of her remarkable insights and case solving record alongside Agent Booth on those difficult cases,' he understated. 'Now, this position, if your willing to accept it, will be a temporary one. Special Agent Booth's position will remain open indefinitely until he's decided when, or if, he comes back to work with us. Doctor Brennan was quite specific that you should understand and accept those terms. If you do not, then we will have to have a rethink. But if you do accept this treacherous, often frustrating, liaison with Doctor Brennan, then it will undoubtedly further your career and status as an agent. The position will start as from Monday. There will be a salary increase, of course, which will be back dated by five months, on Doctor Brennan's insistence.' Shaw assumed that was for her moonlighting efforts for those months they worked together.

Hacker went on, 'You'll also be given, for the duration, Special Agent Booth's office to use. In addition you'll have at your disposal an FBI vehicle, necessary equipment and use of the Agents in the pool to aid you both in your investigations…' Shaw took a deep breath, flabbergasted by the perks of this position. 'So, first of all, do you understand the terms? And second, do you accept the position?' Shaw opened her mouth to reply, but she snapped it shut as Hacker lifted a perfectly manicured finger, and went on, 'I would just like to add something before you answer.' Shaw nodded for him to continue. 'In the light of recent events - your professionalism and discretion, courage and intuitive investigative skills, plus your previous experience working under Agent Booth, I would have recommended you for this position over and above any other Agent outside this office.'

Shaw wanted to leap over the immaculate desk and kiss Hacker's high forehead leaving her lips stick on his left lobe, she was so happy. But she tempered that riotous and scary, not to mention, disturbing impulse, and went with a restrained, 'I'm, I'm completely humbled, and thank you so much for your endorsement, Assistant Director - that means a great deal. Yes, I understand and accept Doctor Brennan's terms and conditions. And yes, I'd be delighted and honoured to accept this temporary, treacherous position.'

'Haa! Wonderful! Con-gratulations, Agent Shaw,' Hacker gushed, getting to his feet, and thrusting his hand out for her to shake. Shaw mirrored his actions, shaking his hand with a jubilant smile. 'I'll let Doctor Brennan know immediately then.'

'Thank you, Assistant Director, thank you.'

Hacker looked at his Breitling, and flapped his hand in the air aimlessly. 'Take the rest of the afternoon off to tell you family - I'm sure they'll be thrilled for you too.'

Stunned, she checked, 'Are you sure?'

'Absolutely. Off you go, Agent Shaw. Have a great weekend.'

'You too, Sir. I'll just finish up then,' Shaw said, leaving the office as high as a kite. She closed his door, and retook her seat in the pool. She felt all eyes on her again as she finished up her report but paid them no heed. Just as she was about to shut down her computer she saw that while in Hacker's office she'd received a message on her cell. She opened it to read: You've been patient long enough, Miss Doolittle. My home. 11AM Sat. TG J. Shaw laughed hard, then licked her lips, immediately thinking of delicious baked goods.

Home Of Seeley, Tempe & Christine

10.59AM Saturday, mid July

Checking her watch, Agent Shaw saw the hand tremble to precisely 11AM, then knocked the door. As she waited for it be opened she noted the additions to the property. Firstly, there was another car on the long drive: a silver people carrier, and a racy looking convertible Mercedes SLR, again in silver. Bones' Prius was nowhere to be seen but she wondered if it was in one of the garages. The cherry tree had grown, she judged, and looked healthily bushy and whispered gently to her in the hot breeze that rippled through it. Below the tree the rich carpet-like grass was perfectly striped and trimmed. There were a few more shrubs under the huge lounge bay window but essentially it was as it had been when she last was here.

The door swung wide and a gleaming Dr Temperance Brennan resplendent in a cool white vest top and figure hugging jeans greeted her wholesomely, 'Agent Shaw, I'm delighted you could come. Please, come in.' As she stepped over the threshold, she was crushed in an affectionate embrace. Shaw was mildly shocked by her familiarity, but touched by it all the same, so gave it back with gusto immediately. With a mild hetro-girl-crush Shaw noted she smelt gorgeous and looked it too. She had a pair of diamond studs in her ears and no make up, not needing it. Her skin was bright and slightly tanned and Shaw notice a few distinguished grey hairs had appeared at one temple.

Shaw didn't know why she said it but did, 'Wow, Doctor Brennan, you look amazing. Motherhood really suits you,' and handed her a bunch of yellow roses.

'Ooh. Thank you so much - how kind. Yellow epitomizes friendship, I believe.' Shaw nodded, happy she seemed pleased with her little gift. 'Please call me Tempe or Bren - but at work…'

'I know, its Doctor Brennan.'

Bones stepped aside, then flicked the door closed with a clunk. 'Precisely. Come in, Genny.' As Shaw followed her down the wide hall towards the kitchen. She noticed pictures on the finished walls and a few coats hanging up. 'You'll notice some changes, I hope. Booth's been extremely busy - we both have. We're not far off completing the decorating, and getting the property how we envisaged.' Bones entered the kitchen, and went straight to the sink to attend to the roses. The kitchen looked as it had done but a few more appliances were dotted about on the worktops. The fruit bowl was still over flowing and there was a pile of unopened mail neatly stacked beside it.

'How is Agent Booth and Christine?' Shaw asked, but was surprised when Bones laughed at her question, and glanced over her shoulder to her. She took a seat around the island.

'Excuse me,' Bones apologised, seeing her confusion for her laugh. 'The last time you asked me that, as I recall, I made you blush and spit tea on my technicians with my reply. I was just remembering the humorous incident.'

'Haa! Oh. Yes. Are you going to be so frank this time, because I'll prepare myself?'

'Ha. No - not this time. They're both very well, thank you. Booth is progressing well and Christine is thriving. Her vocabulary has expanded too. She can now say da-da, ark-er, tar and poodge. Poodge, means she would like some porridge, oh and, ooze.'

'Juice, I presume?'

'Yes! How do you know that, do you have younger siblings?' Bones asked, impressed, glancing over her shoulder.

'No, I'm the youngest of four - three older brothers but I have nieces and nephews.' Shaw could see Bones nodding as she explained while busy cutting stems.

'Arrh. That explains it.' Bones spun with a perfect arrangement of her roses in a crystal vase, making Shaw think they can't have been the roses she brought. 'There. They're quiet summery, so very appropriate.' Shaw nodded to agree as Bones placed them pride of place next to the fruit bowl. 'We'll go outside later but I'd like to show you around - I know you've taken a keen interest in our property development.'

Blushing, Shaw said, 'You mean you know how nosey I am.' Bones laughed, and shook her head at little.

'It comes with the territory, Genny. You're an investigator, like Booth, attention to detail is important to you. That's not being nosey, its being observant. Drink?'

'Ooo. Yes please. An oose would be lovely, thanks.' Bones chuckled again at her little joke, and offered her a choice of three juices. She chose pineapple and was delivered a large cool glass immediately. Bones poured herself a glass of white wine, and took a healthy sip, humming as she swallowed it.

'Mmm. I needed that. Ok - let me show you the lounge.' Shaw got off her chair, and they walked under the arch with their drinks in hand. Shaw couldn't believe the difference, and her lower jaw dropped. Over the cherry boards were several large woven rugs. There was a huge fireplace to her right with several dark brown sumptuous leather couches positioned around. On her left, where the door was to the hall, was stretched fixed shelves and display cubbies filled with intriguing artefacts, stone relics alongside vintage curios. Shaw thought them a curious mixture of tastes but somehow they worked, just like Bones and Booth.

On the opposite side of the door was a large matching full bookcase. In the large bay window were two leather Regency chairs with a glistening brass saxophone and an electric guitar on stands between them. Brass standard lamps with draped shades were dotted around in strategic places too. She noted there was a state-of-the-art stereo in one corner and a drinks cabinet in the other. The drapes and fabrics were all in muted warm tones of brown, tan and cream and made the room cost yet feel family orientated.

'Oooh. Tempe, its gorgeous. I love the feature wall and the fireplace.' Bones walked over to the right hand side of room, and looked over their handiwork.

Bones explained lovingly, 'Booth and I built the fireplace together - the heart of the home…' Shaw glanced to her, hearing the happy memory of that task in her tone. 'And the carved cherry mantle is antique. Cica 1830. Amazingly we purchased it for just a few dollars.' Bones ran her hand over the wood, admiring it again. 'We were visiting a reclamation yard for some train sleepers when Booth spotted it. It had been painted and we don't think they had any idea what it was or how old. We brought it home, cleaned it up then waxed it. The flock wallpaper was a house warming gift designed by Ange - Miss Montenegro.' Shaw nodded, wanting to touch the textile it looked so tactile and warm. 'Ange certainly has an eye, don't you think?' Bones asked, admiring it again.

'Yes. Its lovely and a one off to boot. Who plays the instruments?'

'Oh! I play the Stratocaster -,' she explained, Shaw cocked a fascinated brow, 'and Parker has taken up the saxophone. His aptitude for the instrument is improving - slowly,' Bones said with a wry smile.

'I had you pegged for a piano player, if anything,' Shaw ventured.

'I can play but even a baby Grand would be too big for the space,' she explained without ego.

'No TV?'

Bones grinned. 'No, not in here. There's a flip down one in the kitchen and in Booth's man cave he has a huge monstrosity. Parker and Booth have all their boy-toys in there. In the basement there's a pool table and an air hockey table plus our…'

Shaw asked surprised, 'There's a basement?' Bones nodded keenly, sipping some more of her wine.

'Yes, but I can't take you down there. Its still extremely cluttered with our accrued joint furniture. We're still bickering about what to keep and what to discard. Come on, let me show you the rest.' Shaw took a swig from her juice, and followed her, keen to see the rest.

Shaw loved the nursery in its soft yellows and white, and thought the guest rooms were beautifully proportioned and dressed, with French doors out onto the garden. When Bones took her into a conservatory she audibly gasped. The space was brilliant with natural light and had an almost complete view of the garden. It looked to Shaw that the large window frames were bordering a beautiful painted landscape beyond. Bones explained this was her favourite room in the house. She used it to exercise and practise yoga when the weather wasn't good enough to go outside, and it doubled as a playroom. That was obviously to her, as Shaw saw a playpen and numerous bright toys in an overflowing carved oak trunk. A baby-bouncer harness was suspended from one of the conservatory joists, and swung gently in a sweet breeze wafting through the open doors.

Then they came to Booth's man cave. As they entered, Bones warned her backhandedly, 'He cleans in here - I've given up. He grumbles if I move anything to dust, so please excuse the disarray.' That confession amused Shaw, but she didn't think it was a mess just typically male. A huge couch slumped in front of an equally huge TV mounted on the wall. He had an X Box, a Playstation with several handsets, and a DVD player underneath it. A stereo with a turntable and a five foot stack of CD's but a Ipod docking station on top of that to the right of the TV. A small glass fronted fridge purred quietly in the corner chock full of beers next to a stylish 50's juke box. While five blue stadium seats were positioned against the nearest wall to her left strewn with sweaters and a pair of sneakers. Scattered on shelves or the floor he had a set of hockey sticks: baseball bat, blades, a very worn leather mitt, and a football. On the coffee table were a stack of magazines; Marvel comics, periodicals and a Bakelite phone.

'It's a man cave,' Shaw said, not impressed but not unimpressed either. Bones nonchalantly waggled her head to agree.

'Next door is my study, that's tidy,' Bones said, again with a wry smile.

Bones opened the door and Shaw immediately cooed, 'Oooh. A day bed - how utterly decadent.'

'Haa. And excellent for a certain sex position,' Bones confessed, nudging her, and grinning.

'Page 187, I presume?' Shaw ventured, used to her frankness and immodesty.

Delighted that Shaw understood her reference, she barked, 'Yes! You've read my novels, what did you think of the last one?'

'Seriously? You're asking me that? Its yet another best seller! It was gripping, frantic, completely immoral and the sex… w'hell, I took two cold showers and it still didn't help.'

'Oh. Good,' Bones said solidly, clearly thrilled by her review. 'Those were the first sex scenes I'd written without assistance - from memory - and adventure with Booth. I do most of my writing from that day bed actually, looking out into the garden.' Shaw suddenly saw the image of her and Booth on the day bed doing what was on page 201 and got hot under her t-shirt again.

Changing the subject quickly, Shaw said, looking around the huge bank of bookshelves, 'This is a lovely room, tranquil, feminine, yet functional.' Then she cooed, 'Oooo. You have a collection Chinese literature.'

'Yes - do speak Mandarin?'

'Haa. Not yet, I'm taking evening classes in preparation though. I think they're going to be the next super power and probably take over the world.'

'Ha. I agree and I speak a little,' Bones understated. 'If your require any assistance I'd be glad to assist you with the phonetics.'

Surprised but charmed by her genuine offer, Shaw said, 'Thank you, Tempe.'

Bones glanced to her watch, then asked, 'Have I satisfied your curiosity on the subject of our home?' Shaw nodded. 'Good. Follow me, please.' Bones led the way into their bedroom, and motioned for her to take a seat on one of the chairs by the French doors.

'This is fantastic,' Shaw awed, as she sat down, and gorged on the décor and understated opulence of the most intimate room in their house.

'Thank you, Genny,' Bones said uncharacteristically shyly. 'I'll be back in two minutes.' Leaving her glass on the small round yew table between the chairs, Bones then walked briskly back out, and closed the door. Shaw snagged her head back, and furrowed her brow, confused as to where she'd gone. But that confusion didn't last long, as her eyes trickled over the luxurious bed then swept the room and the elegant furniture. Shaw thought it was inspired by a Jane Austen novel and sighed to relax as that was the emotion the tranquil room evoked. Just as she did, the door opened and the doctor returned with a plate of cake and cookies, sporting a huge grin. Shaw laughed, and wagged a finger at her.

'Can you read minds?' she asked rhetorically, picking up a cookie immediately the plate was put in front of her.

Taking up her glass again, Bones gulped down two mouthfuls which drained it, then pierced Shaw with her eyes. 'That's a good place to start this,' Bones said cryptically, replacing the empty glass on the table. She walked over to a large four tiered cream cloth dressing screen as she pulled off her vest top, and was behind it before Shaw went into panic mode.

Bones continued to talk as she undressed from behind the screen, 'No, Genny, it's impossible to read minds. However, certain people have a gift of knowing when someone is lying.' Shaw knew she was referring to Booth; she'd seen his gift in action many times. She flinched when a bra and t shirt where flicked over the top of the modesty screen. 'They can read body language, or the dilation of the pupil, or with familiarity with that person, can judge when something is amiss, don't you agree?' Bones peered around the screen on her question, and Shaw nodded fast.

Bones continued, 'So, although I can't read a mind, per sa, I can read Booth, and he me to a certain extent.' The jeans were next to flap over the top of the screen and Shaw took another bashful chomp on her wondrous melt-in-the-mouth cookie. Butt naked and unabashed, Bones walked out from the screen on the other side, and walked towards her en suite. Shaw took a double take, catching she had several love bites on her voluptuous ass, and nearly choked on her mouthful. 'Follow me, please,' Bones instructed flatly. Shaw got to her feet, and followed her but tried not to look or visualise how they got there.

'You know most of what happened leading up to and after I gave birth to Christine, between Booth and me,' Bones jogged her memory, and walked into the shower to turn it on. Then she turned to face Shaw, who was hovering on the threshold flushing cerise, as Bones tied her hair back into a pony tail. 'You told me during the course of our investigations that the evidence suggested that Booth needed money - you were partly right,' Bones said, as she started to wash herself with a foaming jell and buff.

After her initial shock had worn off, Shaw saw yet another handy chair in the bathroom, and sat down pigeon-toed to listen next to the Victorian-styled roll top bath. The conversation was more enthralling than seeing her new partner showering. 'But in truth, Genny, he didn't.' Bones looked over her shoulder to her, seeing her confusion, and smiled. 'Booth had, a few months before, lost his father - he'd died… And consequently was left a substantial legacy. Booth had a, difficult relationship with his father and found the money hard to accept,' Bones explained compassionately, not needing or wanting to expand on that relationship. 'As it happens Booth split that legacy between himself, his brother and grandfather. Booth's part of the legacy he invested.' Bones looked over her shoulder again, seeing Shaw nod thoughtfully. 'It was around about that time that our personal problems began.'

Rinsing the suds off now, and turning slowly in the powerful cascade, she went on, 'Now I shall narrate what transpired and I have since verified with Booth once his memory retuned.' Bones stepped out of the shower, and Shaw instantly handed her a large fluffy towel to wrap herself in. 'Thank you,' Bones said with a grateful smile, as she started to dry off. 'One night on his way home to me, Booth stopped off at his monthly meeting at GA - where he saw a familiar face,' Bones emphasized, flicking Shaw a glance as she rubbed herself down quickly.

'Mr Fenton,' Shaw interjected, obviously making the connection.

'Yes,' Bones confirmed. 'Booth had seen Fenton many times in his bank and at this particular meeting, over coffee, Fenton raved about where he thought he should invest this unexpected capital.'

'Don't tell me - China,' Shaw said with a set jaw.

Bones nodded. 'It was when I heard Fenton talking to my father and pushing investment in China that I became suspicious. I didn't take much to research and discover where Booth had decided to place his legacy. Booth trusted Fenton, he was a professional and knew his stuff as you quite rightly said.' Shaw nodded, following. 'So to swell this legacy until we found a property, Booth invested it in a small copper mine in a province in China. It was a high return investment as the price of copper was, and still is, exorbitant. It was a sound company investment, except, just one month later the company collapsed after the mine did - tragically killing 22 ore extraction miners. The share price inevitably plummeted and Booth lost his entire legacy, and more, in an afternoon when he was eating lunch with me.' Shaw sagged, and followed Bones out into the bedroom again.

'By the time he realised what had happened to the mine in China, it was too late.' Bones went to the dresser, and sat down. Spraying deodorant, she carried on, 'He sold his shares, for what they were worth, but only got a small amount back - not even enough to cover his gas expenses that month.'

'Ooh, Crap…' Shaw slumped to the bed, feeling terrible for Booth.

'Booth felt he couldn't tell me because he felt foolish for investing so much in one venture and humiliated. He thought I might think he'd gambled it away, and would think twice about starting a life with him,' Bones explained, staring blindly into her reflection, pausing brushing her hair out for a moment. She shook her head to clear her mind, adding, 'There were many reasons he felt he couldn't tell me what had befallen him.' Shaw watched her reflection as she began again to brush her hair.

'In the aftermath of this misfortune, we had to buy things in prep for Christine's arrival, general expenses and so on, and he'd found this property. So what little capital he had left depleted very quickly.'

'I see. I'm assuming then he managed to get the money to pay his share though?'

'Yes. First of all he went back to his bank - they refused his application in the current climate, having no savings and on his salary scale. So then he went to AD Hacker to ask for a raise. Andrew couldn't give him one - not until the pay review in April. But Booth pleaded with him, he was desperate to pay his half - to house me and his new child. His pride demanded at least that. So with no capital left and the clock ticking, and in haste, Booth made a decision and went to a loan company.'

Shaw interjected again, 'That was why the financial check on his old address showed the loan he'd taken out.'

'Precisely. It confirmed my suspicions, hence my excitement. We paid for the house, all the charges and taxes. Unbeknown to me though the pressure was mounting on him to share the costs of all our purchases - the new furniture, decorating accoutrements and so on. He'd insisted we spilt the financial costs fifty-fifty although I could easily afford it on my own and had offered.' Shaw nodded, knowing Booth wasn't the type of man to be kept; that wouldn't have sat well with him.

'Unfortunately the surcharges and interest on this loan where extortionate and he couldn't keep pace with the crippling repayments or our added expenses. Hence his increasing short temper with me and a few missed payments to his ex-partner. It was a rash decision made at a time of great pressure and emotional stress, one which happens everyday in this country and can be forgiven.' Shaw agreed, rocking her head on her folded palms on the brass bedstead, as she absently watched Bones putting on a little mascara.

'I understand - but how does Tolstoy and Charlie fit in?'

Bones stood, discarded her towel, and naked as a new born, said with a severe hopeful expression, 'This is where I have to ask you - plead with you to never repeat what I'm about divulge.'

Snagging her head back, Shaw said credibly, 'You have my word,' not noticing her nudity anymore.

Accepting her pledge, Bones gave her a sharp nod, and took a deep breath. 'AD Hacker had taken pity on Booth and wanted to help his old friend and colleague if he could. So he secretly offered Booth an alternative to boost his salary. Andrew gave Booth the number of a man looking for his wayward daughter. The missing persons case had gone cold some years earlier and the FBI had no leads so had shelved it. He'd tried, at great expense, many private investigation companies - with no results. Booth was reluctant at first, knowing the risks, but after the loan repayments began to swallow up his salary, Booth felt he had no options left. So he called this number and agreed to privately investigate his daughters case for a fee. He didn't tell DeCosta he was still employed by the FBI but had excellent connections. Booth knew if the FBI found out he was working freelance he would have lost his career and Hacker's would have been on the line too. All this added to the pressure on Booth, as you can imagine...'

Shaw slumped back flat to the massive fluffy bed, and stared at the ceiling. 'Agent's do that all the time, Tempe,' she said stoically. 'Most eventually leave the Bureau to work in the private sector because it's more lucrative. But Booth must have thought it was a one off deal. He couldn't leave the FBI because…' she trailed off, shaking her head, then sat bolt upright with her thought.

Bones smiled at her, seeing her question, and answered it, 'Yes - Booth's late nights, smoky clothes and tetchiness and sometimes distance from me, were all symptoms of where his covert investigations had led him - to Charlie. The mounting emotional pressures were all taking their toll.' Bones retrieved underwear from a drawer, and began pulling on her panties. 'Over a period of weeks, Booth befriended the patrons and staff of…'

Shaw jumped in with, 'Whiskers.'

'Yes,' Bones confirmed, and started putting on her bra. 'Booth had discovered where she was finally - his investigative skills are quite extraordinary,' Bones boldly eulogised. Shaw snorted, nodding furiously to agree with her statement.

Settling her full breasts into the cups of her bra, Bones went on, 'One night, while Tolstoy was dealing with other business, Charlie came into the bar for a drink and Booth began to talk to her. He told her who he was and why he was there. She was scared, but overjoyed that her father wanted her back home, and told Booth her predicament. So Booth arranged with her an escape plan while they talked at the bar. He retuned the next night, and talked with her again, giving her the final instructions of her escape. Whiskers, told his boss later that she'd been chatted up by Booth on several occasions and she seemed to enjoy his company a little too much. So when Booth next came in Tolstoy was tipped off. With no sign of Charlie Booth left. The ever vigilant, possessive and jealous boyfriend followed Booth home here and hatched a plan.'

Shaw lost her smile, and muttered, 'Oh. God, I thought…'

'Yes. That's why Charlie said it was a mistake and she was sorry. She was sorry because all she'd done was talk to Booth and her boyfriend had tried to kill him.'

'I assumed Booth had an affair with her -,' she said remorsefully, 'after what you said about his behaviour towards you... God, Tempe, I'm so sorry,' she pleaded sweetly to be forgiven and jumping to the wrong conclusions.

Bones came over to Shaw on the bed, with a gentle smile laced with sympathy. 'You were right - the evidence fitted the events as you perceived them.' Bones sat beside her on the bed, and crossed her legs now clothed in her sexy underwear. 'But at the beginning of our partnership, Genevieve, I asked you not to assume anything, do you recall?' Shaw nodded shamefully. 'I didn't because I was convinced of one thing...' Shaw looked up into her warm eyes. 'Booth would never betray me that way,' she said with a devotional, secure smile. 'Therefore, there had to be another reason for him being there and talking to Charlie.'

Shaw's cautionary smile returned, as she said, 'It must be an amazing feeling knowing that you're treasured and loved so deeply.'

Staring into her eyes, she expounded, 'It is, and the feeling, I assure you, Genny, is mutual.' Bones was up again, and behind the screen to redress, talking again, 'When I spoke to Hacker he told me, he had to lie to me to cover a truth. That truth was, that Booth was working outside of the FBI. So you see, Hacker had to lie to me to protect himself and Booth, which confirmed my suspicions and explained something else…' Shaw pricked up her ears, straining to hear her over the sounds of clothing being put on. 'In Booth's bank statements were three cash deposits for large sums. They weren't his gambling winnings as you suspected, they were payments by DeCosta for his expenses and ongoing investigations. The cash was sent to a wire office then Booth simply put it in his account to be swallowed up by the ever increasing charges by the loan company. Those payment just kept Booth financially soluble, then, of course, the accident happened.'

'So Booth was innocent of all the charges I made against him. He wasn't gambling again or having an affair…'

'No - but you weren't the only one who thought that of Booth. Max, Hank, and even Ange thought the worst. Do you see, Genny, I had to protect Booth, Hacker and ultimately the FBI from this secret?'

'Yes completely. You helped Charlie get away and finish what Booth had started then?'

'I did,' Bones confirmed, coming around the screen dressed in a slim fitted bodice and flowing from the hips, a cool-looking long linen dress. Shaw wanted to say wow, but stalled when Bones carried on, while putting on a teardrop diamond necklace, 'I asked another favour of my father. He was there that night in disguise and had been frequenting the club for a few nights prior. I informed him when the raid would take place and I ensured, to the best of my ability, that neither Charlie nor my father would be harmed in it.' Shaw knew that was her way of saying, but not saying, she'd made Max wear body armour if the worst should happen.

Bones sprayed perfume in a sweet cloud on her neck and wrists as Shaw asked, 'Did you tell Hacker he would be there to take Charlie to her father?'

'No - but I suspect Andrew knew what I'd hoped might transpire when he agreed to help when he read your file,' she explained openly, while slipping on a pair of sandals to complete her simple, elegant ensemble.'My next move was to summon DeCosta to DC pretending to Booth. On meeting him, understandably he was sceptical of me and took some persuading, but eventually he heard me out.'

Bones checked her attire in the full length mirror, then flicked her hair about a little. 'I explained to him what had happened to Booth, the predicament we were in, and that I'd set plans in motion for his daughter to be rescued from the hands of a violent criminal. Thankfully, as you must have deduced by now, Charlie was brought to her father and me that night.' Confirming, Shaw nodded with a hint of a smile.

'They flew back to New Hampshire within the hour in his Cessna. Charlene is in a private rehabilitation centre and doing very well by all accounts. The FBI captured many drug dealers via your efforts, seized weapons, and cracked a counterfeiting ring. While I understand you also seized over a half a metric ton of uncut cocaine and have shut down two prostitution and human trafficking rings with international connections.' Shaw nodded to confirm the results of the sweeping raids which grabbed headlines for a few weeks after the raids.

Bones opened the bedroom door, and motioned for her to follow her out. Shaw followed, but ached to ask her nagging questions. The doctor led her out the back door into the garden which was shimmering in the hot apexed sun. The luxurious heat hit them like a friendly slap and they smiled at one another, enjoying the stroll around the newly laid path. Bones glanced to her as they ambled side by side.

'You have questions,' Bones stated softly, but proceeded to answer them without hearing them, 'I didn't ask Mr DeCosta for money although he insisted he settle his debt to Booth. It was his idea to clear off Booth's loan. He did that as a mark of his abyssal gratitude for having his precious daughter found and returned safe and well when all others had failed... I didn't tell you all this because I was waiting for Booth to remember what had occurred. I didn't want other's knowing these details - as that wouldn't have been right.' Shaw understood that perfectly.

Then Bones went on with humility, 'However, I knew there was a chance he may never recall. So I reset his financial accounts to what they were prior to his investment in China - minus his half of our property purchase. That way he could live the remainder of his life in ignorance of those traumatic months. Booth is a proud man and doing that was a calculated risk - but done for his protection. He's come to terms with what I did and understands why I did it - if the circumstances were reversed he would've done the same for me if it was in his power. Now we have no secrets from each other…'

'That's a good feeling and how it should be - yes?'

'Yes,' Bones assured with a happy smile.

They strolled leisurely onwards but the pressure to tell Bones what she thought burst forth suddenly, as Shaw came to a halt, 'Hacker shot Tolstoy, Tempe…' Bones came to a halt too, and searched her wide eyes. 'He saw the gun and fired - three times, three kill shots. He wasn't there to capture Tolstoy at all…'

Nodding thoughtfully, Bones then asked carefully, 'Can you prove that, Genny?' Looking back into her eyes, she added, 'Did Tolstoy have a gun in his hand?'

'Yes, he did, he'd just shot, who I presume now, was your father as we stormed in.'

'I see. So what Hacker did was potentially to save more lives then?'

Shaw rolled her head, looking conflicted. 'I don't know, maybe - yes - probably. I think Hacker's actions were more sinister though and concerning. Tolstoy had to die to protect Hacker's secret and Booth's - is that ethical? With Charlie free and whisked away and Tolstoy dead, nobody in authority would know of her connection to Tolstoy, Booth or the FBI. And no prosecutor would need her to testify against him. Tolstoy couldn't confirm or deny he'd tried to kill Booth if he was dead, could he? If Tolstoy had lived then he could point a finger at her and Booth and cause a huge scandal dragging everyone into it. Careers would be ruined and the reputation of the FBI sullied - mine included for helping you find her.'

Bones said evenly, 'That's true…' She glanced to Shaw, gauging her expression, then asked, 'I think, if I'm following your logic and body language correctly, you're trying to justify Hacker's apparent execution of Tolstoy?' Shaw sagged, and nodded, looking at her feet as they continued to wander the snaking path.

'Did Hacker, in your opinion, do the right thing in the given circumstances? Did he follow protocol, Genny? Would you have hesitated to shoot Tolstoy if he spun with a smoking gun in his hand and had already shot a fellow poker player?' Coolly Bones picked off a leaf from a shrub at hand height, and played with it, waiting for her to reply.

Shaw thought for a moment, then quirked her lips, as she conceded, 'Yes, he followed protocol. Yes, he did the right thing. And no, I wouldn't have hesitated to shoot Tolstoy in those circumstances, but Hacker just pulled the trigger first,' she said, convinced of her recollection, but then added, 'However…' Bones came to a halt again with her. 'Three kill shots were excessive in my opinion.'

Bones nodded slowly, but non-committal in her expression. 'That's you opinion and you're entitled to it. But that doesn't convince me that Hacker shot Tolstoy in revenge for Booth's attempted murder or to save anyone's career or reputation.'

'Hacker did ask one thing of me. Before I briefed the Agents, he told me to dismiss any connection between Tolstoy and Booth if asked - there'd been gossip in the run up to the raids. I assumed that was to protect us as we'd secretly investigated his case.'

'That's certainly plausible…'

Shaw sighed, staring her in the eyes while narrowing hers. 'Here's what I think happened,' she began bravely, 'You told your father the precise time we would raid. Max provoked Tolstoy at the precise time to deliberately shoot him. So when we stormed in we would see the gun, having already heard him fire it, so we had no choice but to shoot back when Tolstoy spun with it in his hand…' Bones raised an ice cool brow. 'The timing was impeccable - a remarkable plot of a genius calculating mind at work, one might say…' Shaw watched her even closer, as she concluded, 'With three precise shots everyone was cleared - Hacker and Booth. Charlie was free to start again, and her father happy to get his daughter home again. Our investigations were silenced. We cleaned up a notorious area of the city, and, a violent criminal ring leader was killed, who we know had attempted to murder a Federal Agent out of jealousy. It's hard not to suspect Hacker's motives with those results...'

Bones walked them on again slowly, saying, 'That is, of course, pure supposition.' Shaw glanced to her as Bones admired her the pretty garden. 'What is the punishment for the first degree murder of a Federal Agent, if found guilty, Genny?' Bones asked curiously.

'That depends on the State - life in prison or death by lethal injection.' Shaw understood where she was going with that question and the seed she was planting in her head. 'But Booth didn't die, Tempe.'

Bones came to a halt yet again, and said with a resolute, knowing timber, 'Yes he did - twice, in fact, Genny. Once as the result of the crash and a second time, on the operating table - I, alas, witnessed that. Booth was resuscitated, obviously - but he did die...' Shaw picked out the memory of that harrowing moment as it fleetingly crossed Bones' twinkling eyes.

As the silence stretched out between them and with just the birdsong and unspoken questions from Genny to fill it, they stared at one another. Bones solemnly answered those undeclared queries she saw in her eyes, 'I would never put my father or Charlie's life at further risk by orchestrating something so elaborate and dependant on so many variables. The chances of success would have been negligible, therefore - unacceptable.'

Bones moved onwards slowly, explaining, 'For example, how would I know Tolstoy kept a weapon concealed under the poker table? Indeed, how would I know he would be so angry to shoot my father over a few thousand dollars, when he could counterfeit thousands more in days? And how could I possibly predict that your team would enter at the precise moment Tolstoy turned with the smoking gun in his hand? Furthermore, how could I envisage that my father and Charlie wouldn't be apprehended by the FBI while attempting to escape the surrounded building?' Bones smiled hard, concluding with, 'No. You flatter me, but in the same token, you've given me way too much credit, Special Agent Genevieve Shaw.'

Shaw accepted her innocent smile and reasonable gentle rebuttal with a deep cleansing breath. She knew she'd never know the whole truth but for now she knew enough. It was clear this episode was over, so they moved on, and Shaw turned the last page with, 'This is a wonderful garden, so peaceful and - leafy,' she said amusingly, looking through the trees gently swaying in the fragrant breeze above her head. Then she spotted a huge ugly hole and almost changed her mind about it. There was a long-haired, panting golden retriever staring into the hole, and slowly wagging its fluffy tail. 'Oh. What's happened there, plumbing problems?'

'Haa! No, Genny. Eventually it'll be a swimming pool.' Shaw went to comment but snapped her mouth shut when a sweaty half naked man climbed out of the huge earthy hole, and brushed himself down. Shaw nearly had an orgasm. The excited dog spun on its hind legs, then came bounding over to them. He made straight to Bones, and she squatted to fuss him with, 'Calm down, Darcy, there's a good boy.' Shaw only had eyes for the human though; he was rippling with toned muscles, covered in earth and completely lick-able, she thought. Bones grinned, noting the undeniable signs of arousal in her, while rubbing Darcy's offered chest. Then she stood up again, and Darcy obediently laid down at her feet on the cool grass with her casual hand command.

Bones whispered discreetly in Shaw's ear, 'I see you're responding sexually to his moist muscular physique and his other physical attributes.' Shaw nudged her to keep quiet, and stop making her blush because she was savouring the delectable view.

'Who is he?' Shaw enquired secretively, absently licking her lips.

'That -,' Bones said with mischievously air, while dragging her nearer, 'is Mr Wendell Bray. He's one of my interns and he's been helping us with the heavy tasks around the property.' Darcy slowly kept pace with his mistress as Bones absently tickled behind his ear. 'You want to have sexual intercoursewith him.' Shaw glared at her, and nudged her again. Bones stopped teasing her, and introduced them as Wendell brushed his calloused hands off on his shorts.

'Oh. Hi, Doctor B! I was engrossed.'

'That's alright, Wendell. This is Special Agent Genevieve Shaw. She'll be partnering me for the foreseeable future and ultimately you too.'

'Cool. Hi, Agent Shaw, good to meet ya.' Wendell went to shake her hand but seeing how filthy it was, grimaced. 'Sorry, I'm filthy.'

'Gwen-ney,' Shaw dribbled. 'I mean, Genny, call me Genny,' Bones started to snigger behind her palm secretively. 'I don't mind filthy,' Shaw added, recovering poorly, and burning up in the torturous flames of embarrassment. Wendell smiled, charmed though, and shook her hand slowly. Bones noted the attraction was very obviously mutual.

'That's good cos I get pretty filthy around here. I mean, I get dirty quite often.'

'Oh. Mmm, how eer - pleasant...' Bones rolled her eyes at the love-struck pair as their unconscious innuendos flew around like pollen, making them both blush.

Bones instructed, 'Wendell, go get showered or you'll miss it.' Wendell grimaced to apologise, then trotted off back to the house.

Shaw glanced over her shoulder, and purred like a lioness on heat. 'The dirty things I can do with that,' she mumbled sultrily. 'Page 201 of your latest comes to mind.'

'Haa!' Bones bellowed heartily, and eased her onwards.

Shaw started to laugh too, and happily bounced along the path. 'What will Wendell miss?' Coming to a large lawn surrounded by trees, Shaw saw a gathering of people she mostly recognised. She spotted Angela and Jack: Max and Hank, a pregnant Jared and Padma, Sweets and Daisy, Hacker and Mary, Peroni and a weeping Claude, Cam and Michele; and all their friends and family gathered on the linen covered chairs. Exuberantly Darcy bounded off towards them all.

The merry throng were sitting in the crescent of chairs, talking and drinking from chilled champagne flutes. At the head of the crescent of chairs was an enormous two hundred year old knobbly oak in full whispering emerald flush. A magnificent tree house was seamlessly mingling amongst its sturdy branches with a sweeping open staircase leading up to it. White linen strips, like Hindu prayer flags, had been draped from the strong boughs, and flapped gently, sending good wishes for the family off into the universe. The elegant hand rail was twirled with foliage and that entwined with yellow and white roses that were just opening. Stealing her breath, Shaw thought the wise sturdy oak looked enchanted.

Bones smiled, seeing Shaw's entranced expression, and explained softly, 'He'll miss our simple wedding ceremony.'

Snapping her eyes to Bones, Shaw asked incredulously, 'What - right now?' Bones nodded. 'But… Oh. God, I'm not dressed or bought a gift.'

'Haa. Unnecessary. It's very casual - just our close friends and family. I've made cake for afterwards - chocolate…' Bones waggled her brows at her temptingly, then left her side.

Bones began to make her way to Max and he called everyone to order sweetly with, 'Be upstanding for the spectacular bride!' The gathered throng stood, and turned. 'Hit it, Parker,' Max said, pointing at him, as he took Bones' arm. Parker lit up, and began a soft well practised wedding march on his sax, with gold bands safely tucked in his top pocket.

Nervously Shaw stood by a free chair, acknowledging the guests who noticed her arrival. Hacker, she saw, gave her the biggest smile. Then she spotted Booth, clad in matching cool white linen, stand up at the head of the crescent with a silver-topped ebony cane in one hand. The other open palm he held out to Bones as she neared on her father's proud arm, eager to take the next step in their journey.

Shaw aww-ed when she saw on Booth's back, in an ivory child carrier, an ever smiling Chrissy. She was in angelic white too and had on a bonnet with a fresh daisy chain around it. As Shaw sat down, a clean-faced, Mr-hunky-Bray sat beside her, and whispered, 'Phew. Just in time.'

Avidly watching the heart warming scene ahead, Shaw smiled, whispering back, 'I hope you don't do everything that fast.' Bray grinned slyly, slinging his arm around her chair, and they watched on with gleeful smiles.

Booth and Bones sedately walked up a few steps of the tree house hand in hand while Parker proudly played and Michael sat at his feet, clapping excitedly.

Dappled in the warm sunlight that filtered through the protective canopy above Booth squeezed Bones' hand, and kissed her lips softly to Christine's serenading coos. 'I've got you an awesome wedding gift,' he whispered in her ear, as they waited for Parker to conclude and the minister to begin.

Smiling, she whispered back, 'What is it?' Booth discreetly removed his two front false teeth, and grinned gummily at her. Shocked for a moment, Bones then chortled, falling into him a little with a tiny shake of her head.

Then staring into each others glistening eyes, she whispered, drenched with emotion, 'Here we go - lift off...' A tear from his eye escaped as he nodded to agree with her romanticism, and mirrored the power of her glittering smile. Bones slipped her free palm around to his nape, and kissed him with a tender adoring hum...

The Very End.

Author's Notes:

Phew... Thank you and well bloody done if you read this far.

I hope you enjoyed the bumpy ride.

How many of you thought the worst of Booth? Shame on you if you did… J

Reviews always gratefully received, welcomed and replied to.

Find me on Twitter: Bexbel, or floatin' around the superb - .com. Keep well folks until this hiatus is over and our paths cross again.

Hugs, Lebxeb XX.