I'm back.

This is a sort of AU version of where things could have gone at the end of last season... if there were no baby. It's been done, but I hope to put my own little spin on things enough to keep you interested. Not sure how long it will be, I guess that will depend on how well it is received. :-)

Let me know what you think!


The Shift in the Relationship

She reached out to take Booth's hand as they walked down the quiet street, taking a moment to reflect on everything that had happened over the past weeks.

It seemed like a lifetime had passed, not only five weeks, since Broadsky's bullet had taken the life of Vincent Nigel-Murray and changed their lives forever. They had finally found themselves together as he comforted her and helped her to understand the loss of her beloved intern. As trite as it was, bad things did happen to good people. And good things could come out of tragedy. She was with Booth, where she knew she belonged. Hannah was a distant memory.

As they sat in the hospital waiting room earlier in the evening, among their friends… their family… waiting for Angela to give birth, she'd looked over at her partner sitting in the next row of chairs. She remembered hugging the floppy stuffed bunny to her chest and thinking about a future with the man she loved. Yes, loved. She could admit that to herself now, if not yet to him.

They had decided to keep the change in their personal relationship to themselves for the time being. She was certain that her father had noticed something at the diner when they'd met with him about the case, and he was acting strangely around them at the bowling alley, as well.

She was fairly certain that Angela had begun to suspect as well. But thankfully, her going into labor had quickly shifted her focus. And Brennan was glad of that. Trying to keep the truth from Angela had her thinking more about it than she wanted to.

She remembered having been worried that Booth was ashamed of being with her, or worried that she was going to disappoint him. She was proud of herself for having been able to share those thoughts with him, and happier still that he had debunked those notions right away.

"What?" he said, shaking his head. He reached out and took her hand in his. "You don't really think that. You know me better than that. I could never be ashamed of you…" he said, as he brought her hand to his lips. "Of you," he went on, brushing his lips against her knuckles again. "Of us."

"Bones," he told her, his deep brown eyes shining with warmth and his voice serious. "I have been waiting for this for my whole life. This is it for me. You are it for me. I love the idea of being in love, of finally being allowed to be in love with you… and this time of new love, of really experiencing each other for the first time… we only get to experience this once. It might be selfish, but I don't want to share that with anyone else. This is our time…"

"What's between us is ours?" she asked, a coy smile spreading across her face.

"Yeah, Baby," he said, leaning in to kiss her softly. "What's between us is ours. Don't get me wrong. Believe me, I want to shout it from the rooftops. And I will," he added with a bright smile. "But at least for a little while, I want to keep this our little secret."

He raised his eyebrows and flashed her a sexy smile.

She responded in kind.

"That's hot, huh?" he said, leaning in for another kiss. "Knowing that no one knows what's going on between us."

"Very sexy," she agreed, closing her eyes and losing herself in his kiss.

"Earth to Bones," Booth was saying with laughter in his voice.

"What?" she answered, leaning in to him as they continued to walk.

"Where did you go?" he asked.

"I'm right here, Booth," she said with a gentle smile.

"I know," he answered. "But you were a million miles away… metaphorically speaking, of course."

"Of course," she responded, bumping against his shoulder.

"Seriously," he asked. "What are you thinking about?"

"You," she answered honestly. "Us."

A wide smile broke out across his face.

"You don't know how much I love hearing you say that," he said. "Us."

"I think I do," she replied. "I think I do."

~~~~~BnB~~~~~

"Booth," he said into the phone.

"Hi," she answered.

A smile spread over his face at the sound of her voice.

"Hey," he said, his voice softening. "What's up?"

"Would you mind terribly if we didn't have dinner together tonight?" she asked.

"That depends," he answered. "You get a better offer?"

"No," she replied, smiling. "Angela called. I think she's having a little bit of house fever…"

"Cabin fever," he corrected. "And I wouldn't doubt it. She's been home with Michael for a few weeks now."

"Yes, she has. And Hodgins has been so busy with our latest case, she's been without adult company even more than usual."

"But we solved the case," he replied. "Won't she be busy with Hodgins tonight?"

"He is going to visit Zach," she told him. "The visit has been rescheduled several times and Angela didn't want him to put it off again. I think he's really excited to finally talk with Zach about Michael."

"I'm sure he is," he said. "I remember when Parker was born. I couldn't wait to show him off to the guys in my unit. Of course, I had to wait to get out of the brig first. God, I hate Walter Sherman."

She couldn't help but laugh at this. She'd found his former comrade to be charming, if not a bit eccentric.

"He was only doing his job," she told him, not for the first time.

"I don't care," he replied, and she could just see the pout on his face.

"And it's been nearly eleven years," she reminded him.

"Yeah, whatever," he replied, his voice still sounding petulant. "Will you come over when you're finished at Angela's?"

"Perhaps," she said. "But it may be late, so don't wait up."

"Bones," he said, his petulance fading into a whine. "This case kept us so busy, we've barely had any alone time in weeks. I miss you."

"I know," she answered. "I miss you, as well. But I feel as if I have been neglecting Angela lately. I need to do this."

"I know," he said, understanding. "I just don't like sharing you."

"So you've said," she replied, smiling as she shook her head.

"I love you," he said.

"I know," she replied, feeling slightly guilty for not having said that back to him yet. She felt it, she did. But she hadn't found the right moment to say the words just yet. "Let me spend some time with Angela tonight, and I'll make it up to you this weekend."

"Deal."

~~~~~BnB~~~~~

"You look good with him," Angela said, looking across the room at her best friend holding her son.

"He's amazing, Ang," Brennan replied, uncharacteristically awestruck by the baby in her arms.

"I've gotta say, Sweetie," Angela said. "I didn't think I'd get you over here tonight."

"What?" Brennan answered. "Why?"

"I didn't think Special Agent Studmuffin would let you get away."

"What are you talking about? Booth doesn't control my free time."

"Maybe not," Angela replied with a sly smile. "But he does monopolize it."

"Angela, I…"

"I'm not saying that's a bad thing," Angela went on, not allowing Brennan to complete her protest. "I had my eye on you two," she said. "Having a baby temporarily sidetracked me, but I'm back on the scent…"

She paused for a moment, waiting to see if Brennan would once again to try to protest. When she didn't, Angela continued.

"…how long have you two been together?"

"Two months," Brennan answered.

"What?" Angela was stunned, as she hadn't expected her friend to answer so honestly. "Whoa. What did you just say?"

"Two months," Brennan repeated. She worried her bottom lip between her teeth as she smiled at her friend.

"I knew it!" Angela exclaimed. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I wanted to," she answered. "But we decided to keep it to ourselves for a while. It was difficult keeping the truth from everyone… especially you and my father… but I have to admit, that it has been nice. I mean, having something that was just ours."

"Oh, Bren," Angela said. "You've always had something that was just yours. And that's not gonna change just because everyone knows you're in a relationship. What you and Booth have is rare. I've never seen anyone communicate without words like you two do."

"That's true," Brennan replied. "I've never felt like I know someone the way I know Booth… and I've never trusted anyone to know me the way he does…"

"That's special, Brennan. And it's hot," she added with a smile. "Probably even hotter now that you're finally doing the horizontal mambo. Ohmigod, I can't believe you've been having hot and steamy sex with Booth for two months and you didn't tell me! You have to tell me, Bren. How hot is it? I'll bet he's fantastic between the sheets."

"Angela!"

"What? You've never been shy about telling me about your sexcapades in the past…"

"This is different," Brennan said quietly. "Booth is different. It isn't just sex," she went on. "I can't talk about it, Ang."

Angela watched her friend, smiling. She wasn't about to interrupt her now… not when she was just getting to the good stuff.

"Booth once told me that what's between us is ours. I didn't understand it at the time, but I do now."

"That's so sweet," Angela said, smiling brightly as she took the baby from Brennan's arms. "And I'm proud of you, but you've got to throw me a bone, here. No pun intended. Seriously, Bren. You've gotta give me something. I'm your best friend. I mean, you have to be able to talk to someone, right? Come on. Is he as good as I think he is?"

"I'm very satisfied," Brennan replied with a wide smile and a glint in her eye.

~~~~~BnB~~~~~

Booth was sitting on the sofa watching some kind of sporting match on television when she let herself into the apartment.

"Hey," he said, looking over by way of greeting her.

"Hey," she responded in kind.

Setting her purse and keys down on the side table, she took off her jacket and hung it on the hook next to the door. She walked over to the sofa and sat down next to him.

"I thought you weren't coming," he said, smiling as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and leaned in to place a kiss on her temple.

"We have to talk," she said.

"That sounds ominous," he replied, sitting back to look at her.

"I told Angela about us," she said quietly.

Relieved that it wasn't something dire, he let out a short chuckle.

"Yeah," he said. "I kinda figured you would."

"You did?"

He nodded.

"Yeah, I mean, we weren't going to be able to keep it from her forever. Angela's got a freaky sixth sense about these kinds of things…"

"She really does," Brennan interrupted, laughing as he pulled her in to his embrace.

"I think the only reason she didn't figure it out before now is that we haven't been spending a lot of time around her."

"You're not angry," she asked. "Are you?"

"What? Are you kidding?"

He moved in and brushed his lips against hers in a kiss that was both soft and sensual at the same time.

"Of course I'm not angry," he said. "I'm thrilled. But we're gonna have to figure out how to tell everyone else. That is, if Angela hasn't already activated the Jeffersonian phone tree…"

"I asked her not to say anything," she said. "At least until I had a chance to talk to you."

"Thank you," he replied.

"You're really not upset?"

"No," he answered with a shake of his head. "She's your best friend, I'm glad you have someone to talk to."

"What happened to 'what's between us is ours?'" she asked.

"Nothing. That's still true…" He stilled as a thought occurred to him. "Oh god," he said. "You didn't give her any details about our sex life, did you?"

"Of course not," she answered.

He relaxed against her with an audible sigh.

"Not for lack of trying on her part, however," she added with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.

"Do I want to know?" he asked.

"Probably not," she answered, reaching up to kiss his lips. "She was pretty relentless. I just told her not to worry… that I am very satisfied."

"Good answer," he said. "I plan to make sure to keep you that way…" Before he could elaborate further , they were interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone. "Hold that thought," he said, raising his index finger as he reached over to pick up the phone.

She watched as he spoke intently to the person on the other end of the line. After a few minutes, he hung up the phone and turned to her.

"Satisfaction's gonna have to wait, Babe," he said with a wink. "We've got a case."