Brennan rolled to her back again, sighing into the darkness as she threw an arm up to rest one wrist against her forehead. The sound wasn't loud, nor were her movements particularly rough but as Booth's sleep was equally as restless, it was enough to pull him from the light doze into which he'd fallen.

"You're going to tie the sheets into knots if you keep tossing and turning like that." The quiet words didn't rise above a whisper.

"I'm having difficulty falling asleep." Her husky voice was as soft as his had been.

"Figured that out." Booth shifted onto his side and threw one heavy leg over both of hers. "Wanna fool around?"

Brennan responded to the gentle teasing tone by edging closer into his warmth. "You're barely awake."

A wide yawn cracked his jaw. "Yea, you'll probably have to do all the work," he murmured, eyes still closed as he buried his nose in her hair, "but I'm game if you are."

Silence fell again. Booth waited, fancifully imagining he could hear the thoughts spinning in a jumble in her head.

"Are we doing the right thing?"

The same question was responsible for his own inability to sleep. He found the loose hand lying on her stomach and squeezed. "I'm open to suggestions."

She twined their fingers together. "He's not being challenged."

They had been discussing the same topic for weeks now.

"No, he's not."

"His teacher is qualified for her position but she's hardly prepared for a student like Zach."

"No."

"He's significantly more advanced than his classmates."

"Yes, he is."

"He's already doing the work assigned to the students in the higher grade."

"Mmm."

The quiet statements were a repetition of familiar arguments until Brennan suddenly turned and burrowed into the comfort of Booth's arms.

"He's only nine years old."

He rubbed comforting circles into her back and pulled her closer. "I know."

"We're taking him away from friends he's known since he was four . . . placing him among adolescents who have established peer groups and social hierarchies. It's a difficult age. He won't fit in." For the first time, her voice held more than a trace of hesitation and, Booth realized, fear.

Her next whisper broke his heart.

"He'll be alone."

His arms tightened around her reflexively. "No, he won't. He'll have Christine."

He heard a faint, delicate sniffle. "She considers him a nuisance."

He kissed the top of her head. "Of course she does. He's her little brother, he's supposed to be a nuisance." One shoulder lifted in a deliberately casual shrug. "It's like me and Jared. He was a pain in the ass but he was my pain in the ass. I was the only one who got to beat him up."

"Do you think she'll watch out for him?"

"Of course she will." I'll make sure of it. "We can make it a condition of moving him up, that he has to be in her class. She'll take care of him."

He noticed when Brennan surreptitiously reached up to brush at her cheeks. "Zack . . . Dr. Addy felt isolated and alone. Look what -"

"Hey." Booth pulled away from her then, and looked into silver eyes gleaming wetly in the moonlight bedroom. "Zach - our Zach - is not Addy, okay? There was a lot more going on there than just being smarter than everyone else or he'd never have fallen for Gorgonzola's line." Brennan's mouth twisted in a scolding smile, as he intended. "Zach is just a normal little boy. He likes video games and comic books and cartoons and all that kind of stuff. He just happens to be a little above the curve."

Somewhat reassured, Brennan snuggled into Booth's chest again. "He's significantly above the curve."

"Okay," Booth agreed, "but still. He's not Addy and he's not going to turn into Addy. Besides," he drew back again, this time to press a kiss on her lips. "He's got us. That counts for something, right?"

"Yes." The sincerity and sureness in his deep voice soothed her lingering fears. Her hand drifted up to curve around his jaw as scattered, brief kisses lengthened and deepened. When they separated again, her lashes fluttered up to find his smoky gaze warm on hers.

A familiar heat spread through her veins with the thud of every heartbeat. Her fingers trailed over his shoulder and down the rippled muscles of his bicep.

"Is the offer of sex still open?"

Immediately, Booth's expression filled with teasing laughter. He rolled to his back and stretched in a loud and obviously fake yawn.

"I don't know . . . I'm pretty tired."

His hands were already pushing beneath her pajama top when Brennan crawled over him and straddled his hips.

Her husky laughter chased away the last of the shadows for both of them.

"That's okay. I'll do all the work."

.


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