A/N Hello there! This little one shot was prompted several months back and, honestly, it got lost in the shuffle until I was organizing my FF folder on my computer. I read the prompt last night before bed… MISTAKE #1 and then went to work today, still thinking about it…MISTAKE #2… so I had to come home tonight and spew this out… It may not be my finest work, it may not even be that great, but I didn't spend much time on it, I started it at 5:30 when I got home and it is now 9:50… (I had to eat dinner in there somewhere and then I got distracted while my hubby watched a documentary on Blenko Glass blowers…)

I don't know who prompted me. In my notes, I only have it listed as "guest" and I went back through several reviews and PMs and never found to whom it belonged or the review in which it came. So, please forgive me if it was your prompt and I didn't give you credit. I will better explain the prompt's details in my postscript A/N below.

Disclaimer: OK, so my calls to Fox & HH have gone unanswered. I can only assume they feel threatened by my extreme talent for capturing these characters in my writing and are too worried about putting me on the payroll… LOL J/K! I own nothing except this story!

"Bones! Bones, noooo!" Booth's blood-curdling, gut-wrenching scream shattered the otherwise silent room as he tried to sit up from his prostrate position. Pulling at the wires attached to his chest and the IV in his arm, he felt an undeniably feminine hand come to rest on his shoulder.

"Shhh. Shhh. You're alright. You were having a nightmare again. Lay down; here, lie back." The hand gently but firmly pressed him back against the pillow behind his head.

Booth's vision was blurred; he was confused. Where am I? Where's Bones? I've got to get to her… His mind raced as he tried to look around, but the florescent lights were turned low and that hindered his ability to make out his surroundings. He could hear a muffled voice, but couldn't quite understand the words that were spoken. He vaguely recognized the voice, but it wasn't the one he wanted to hear. "Bones…Where's Bones…?"

"Shh… You were involved in an… incident; you've been unconscious for two days. But you're alright, Seeley. Shhh…"

At the sound of his first name, Booth's eyes darted in the direction of the woman standing at his bedside. Hannah. Hannah's here. Incident? What incident? Where's Bones? She's hurt and I need to help her!

Seeing the confusion in his eyes, Hannah placed her hand on her boyfriend's shoulder once more. "Are you in pain, Seeley? Here, I'll call the nurse," she reached for the call button at the bedside and pressed it once firmly.

His head started to clear as he met her gaze. A flash memory of his SUV being run off the road…a burly man pulling him through the window of his driver's door…severe pain in his lower back…a solid fist to his nose…gun fire…then darkness…

"Bones? Where is she? Is she…is she OK?" Booth's voice was so raw he barely recognized it himself. "What happened…" His brow wrinkled and he brought a heavily bandaged hand to the bridge of his nose, where he squeezed tenderly, realizing that it was broken.

"She's fine, Seeley. She was uninjured." Hannah swallowed slowly, "she…she killed the man who was beating you…"

His eyes filled with emotion, tears threatened to break free. "I need her…I need to see Bones…Give me the phone…" He tried to reach the phone on the bedside table, but the woman at his side stopped him from moving any further, reaching for it instead.

"She's at work, Seeley. She's been working for two days, trying to figure out who those guys were that were chasing you. She said she'd stop by when she could." Hannah sounded dismissive and it angered Booth immediately.

"I need to see her-" Booth's plea was cut off as the nurse entered the room.

"Well, well, well…. Nice to see you again, Agent Booth," Deborah smiled at the patient she knew well and nodded to the tall blond woman keeping vigil.

"Deborah," Booth began immediately, "I need to see Bones… Call her, Deb, please. I need to see her."

Growing increasingly displeased that her boyfriend hadn't even seemed to notice the she was actually here with him, standing by him, Hannah folded her arms across her chest. "Seeley, I told you, Temperance is perfectly fine; when she has time, she will stop by."

"If someone doesn't call her for me, I will drag my ass out of this bed on my own and call her my-damn-self. But I would sure appreciate a little bit of fucking help, here!"

Deborah, who had known Special Agent Seeley Booth, and his partner, for several years, patted him on the arm. "Don't you worry, Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan made me promise to call her the minute you woke up, and I am a woman of my word, as you know." She winked at him conspiratorially while she checked his blood pressure and temperature. Getting back to business, she locked his eye and pressed on various parts of his body while questioning him, "does this hurt; follow my finger; squeeze my hand; turn your head this way; wiggle your toes…" Sensing her patient's growing frustration as he continued to ask her to call his partner, combined with the radiating daggers his 'girlfriend' was shooting from behind her eyes, Deborah was anxious to complete her preliminary exam. She moved silently around the bed to the computer to complete her notes and listened nonchalantly as the blond journalist tried to gain the agent's attention.

"Seeley? Seeley, do you remember what happened? Do you want to talk about it?" She was trying to stroke his cheek, but he pulled back as if her touch had burned him, singeing his skin.

"No, I don't want to talk about it. I want to see my partner." He was determined and unsociable; Booth was not interested in talking to Hannah – he wanted to see his Bones.

Deborah moved to the door, slightly angered that the woman apparently refused to call Dr. Brennan. She had recognized long ago that the partners were meant for each other, but she also knew that guarded forensic anthropologist was weary of becoming too attached to another person. Through Deborah's years of helping the partners on their various visits to the hospital, she had heard many confessions, most of which were drug-induced, and she knew that they loved each other, but neither would take that first step, for fear that it would push the other away. She shook her head at the faux relationship between the journalist named Hannah Burley and her favorite patient, Seeley Booth. And the fact that Hannah refused to even contact Brennan while her boyfriend was hurting and aching for his partner, caused Deborah to make the decision to call the scientist herself. She actually never promised to call Brennan when Booth awoke, as she had told the man. In fact, she hadn't even seen Temperance when she was at the hospital, but Deborah took it upon herself to make the call, seeing that the obviously jealous woman at his bedside wasn't going to do so. The nurse on duty that had seen Dr. Brennan when she made her visits to Booth's room over the past couple of days had told Deborah that the brunette was in obvious distress at seeing her partner in such rough shape, and that made the Deb's heart go out to her even more than usual.

B/B/B/B

"Seeley, do you want some pudding? Or some ice cream?" Hannah had been trying to engage her boyfriend in discussion for over 30 minutes, but hadn't received more than a one or two word answer in response to any of her questions. "You might feel better after eating something."

Booth's eyes were trained on the door. Where is she? Why isn't she here yet? What the hell is going on? He was conscious that Hannah was trying to talk to him, but he wasn't interested in what she had to say. All he could think about was his beautiful partner. I have to see her. I have to tell her. I need to make sure she was, in fact, unharmed by the men who pursued us on that dark night when we ended up in a ditch.

Realizing that Hannah was asking him a question, but uncertain about what she asked, he turned his head tiredly. "What?" He cocked an eyebrow at her and blew a frustrated breath as his shoulders slumped. "What did you say?"

"I asked if you want something to eat. Pudding or ice cream, perhaps? Anything?" She could see the stress in his eyes, even through the excessive bruising that covered most of his normally handsome olive-colored skin. He's more interested in seeing Temperance than in sharing time with me. I've been sitting here for two days waiting for him to wake up, and he doesn't even seem to care

Turning back to face the door, he shook his head slowly. "Nope. Nothing. Not hungry."

Just then, the door burst open without warning, sending a startled Hannah to her feet instantly. But Booth wasn't surprised, he simply sighed in relief. "Bones…" he whispered as she rushed to his bedside, ignoring the woman in the room.

"Booth." Brennan dropped her ever-present messenger bag at her feet when she stopped near his shoulder and reached for his hand. "How are you feeling? Deborah called and said you woke up about 30 minutes ago. How is your head? You had a concussion. And your ribs? You broke three. And how about-"

Booth cut off her nervous questions when he brought his wide palm to her cheek and brushed away a tear she hadn't realized had escaped. "Shh…" He hushed her softly, "I'm OK. But you – what about you, Bones? Were you injured? Did they hurt you? If they so much as put a finger on you, I swear to God, Bones-"

It was then her turn to cut off his ramblings as she blindly pulled the chair from behind her, (the chair just vacated by Hannah), and sat down close to the bed, still gripping his hand tenderly. "I'm fine, Booth. No, they didn't touch me. Two of them were coming at me when I found your gun on the floor of the SUV. When I pointed it at them, they ceased their advance immediately, but the big one – the one who was beating you – he wouldn't stop…I told him to stop...I warned him, Booth, I swear I did…" Her tears leaked without permission, but she didn't fight them. "But he kept beating you…I heard your nose break…I heard it…I…" She stammered, unable to continue speaking between her unrelenting sobs as she recalled the events on the evening that led to her partner being hospitalized and remaining unconscious for 42 hours. "I told him…but he kept striking you…he wouldn't st-stop…"

"Shh, shh, it's OK, Bones. C'mere, baby…" Booth's voice was husky with emotion and the need to console his best friend. He stretched his arm further in her direction, wrapping his hand around the nape of her neck and pulling her towards him. She came without argument, crashing her face into the crook of his neck carefully while she gripped the sleeve of his hospital gown. "Aw, Bones, shh… It's gonna be alright… It's ok…" He consoled her quietly, knowing that she would have held all her emotions inside while he was unconscious. All the turmoil of taking someone's life – the feelings he knew all too well – would have taken their toll on his emotionally-vulnerable partner. "I know, Bones… I know…"

While the very intimate scene played out in front of her very own disbelieving eyes, Hannah was gobsmacked at the affection she was witnessing. Seeley hasn't spoken an entire sentence to me since he woke up, and Temperance waltzes in here and he's suddenly the 'strong alpha-agent' comforting his 'precious partner'…What the hell? He called her 'baby!' I'm his girlfriend and he has hardly acknowledged my existence in the past 45 minutes! She gritted her teeth in aggravation, and then mentally calmed herself. OK, Hannah, calm down, she told herself. They are partners, and they were just through a terrible experience and Temperance had to kill the man threatening to kill Seeley. Of course, she's going to be emotional, and Seeley is the only person who can probably console her, because he knows what it's like to take another's life. I can't let this get to me… Seeley and I – we're fine… We'll be fine… I just need to get him back home…where we can be alone… She was so lost in her own thoughts, as she watched her boyfriend embracing the other woman in the room, that she didn't hear his request the first time he asked.

"Hannah?" Booth raised his head from where it had been resting again the chestnut hair of his partner. "Is that a problem?" His voice was flat and his eyes almost hostile.

"I – I'm sorry Seeley…what did you say?" She fought back the tears that threatened to spring free; she didn't want to look weak in front of her boyfriend.

"I said I'd like to be alone with Bones for a bit. Would you please leave us?" He looked at her incredulously, battling his own emotions while he struggled with the knowledge that he had two confessions to make that evening. Without waiting for her answer, he turned back towards Brennan and pressed his lips into her soft hair as she remained pressed against his neck, crying softly.

Feeling as though she'd been dismissed, Hannah moved in stunned silence towards the door and turned back just in time to see Booth's free hand coming up to cup Brennan's tear-stained cheek as he tipped her face up towards his. Biting back a sob of her own, Hannah's stomach clenched in knowledge that something in her world was about to change. Briskly turning back to the door, she rushed into the hallway, pulling the door closed behind her. As she rested her forehead against the cool feel of the doorframe, she let a deep sigh escape her lips. Pushing herself away from the door, she slowly walked past the nurse's station in a daze, mentally checking off the items in Booth's apartment that she would be packing up that evening. She stopped when she saw the sympathetic look she was receiving from the nurse she'd met earlier in the day. "I never realized…" she began quietly. "I was so foolish to think he could love me as much as he loves her…I never realized until today that he was never really mine…"

Deborah stepped forward and touched the crying woman's bicep, smiling sweetly. "He wouldn't have meant to hurt you, Ms. Burley. I have known Agent Booth for many, many years, and while you might not feel it now, you might not even feel it tomorrow, he's a good man and he wouldn't have purposely hurt you." Seeing the despair in the journalist's eyes, Deb took her hand and guided her to the nurse's break room for a cup of tea. "You're a beautiful woman, Ms. Burley, I'm sure that you've broken a few hearts in your time, and most likely you didn't mean for that to happen…But nevertheless, these things happen. C'mon, dear, have a tea with me, let me tell you a little bit about the history of Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan."

B/B/B/B

"Bones," he whispered against her errant strands of silky hair, "hey – hey, look at me." He tilted her face up towards his as he swiped his thumb beneath her eye, catching the tears that had finally started to subside. "It's going to be alright. OK? Listen to me. I know it's never easy when you have to take a life, but you did what you had to do, and for that, I will forever be grateful. If you hadn't – God knows what would have happened to me…" He tried to smile as her big blue eyes, wet with emotion stared up at him. "Bones…"

Their faces were centimeters apart, their breaths comingling, their noses gently touching against each other's. The tension was escalating until one could nearly hear it crackle in the air. Brennan let go of Booth's sleeve and brushed her fingertips against his chin.

"I was so afraid, Booth…More than I have ever been before. The guy, he was huge…and he ripped you from your seat, and kept beating you; he hit your gut, your ribs, and when you tried to turn away to protect yourself, he attacked your kidneys and lower back… Then – then I heard the unmistakable sound of your nose breaking…" She trailed her fingers along his cheekbone and towards the bridge of his nose. "I should have made him stop before then… But I wasn't fast enough…"

Booth shook his head gently, "No, no… Stop, Bones. What you did…" he closed his eyes, understanding her grief, "you – you did great, Bones… don't ever apologize…Never." He leaned in and pressed a kiss to her cheek, inhaling her unique scent while he did. "C'mere," he scooted far to the side, "come up here."

Brennan pulled her face back and looked at him like he was crazy. "What?" She was confused; she wanted to sit beside him, wanted to get lost in his embrace, but she knew his girlfriend was just outside that door, waiting to be invited back into the room.

He smiled, seeing her resistance. "I want to talk to you, come up here, next to me. It hurts me to lean over while you down in the chair." He opened his arm as she settled down next to him. Seeing that she had only the intention of sitting, he took it upon himself to maneuver her the way he wanted, and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his side so together, they could lean against the raised back rest. "There's something I need to tell you, Bones. And I don't want to wait any longer."

Seeing her blue-gray eyes so open and trusting warmed his heart. She nodded while letting her gaze skim across his face, studying his bruises and cataloguing his injuries. "OK. What is it, Booth?"

"I don't want you to run, Bones. Please promise me that you're not going to run. But I can't live a lie any longer. I tried to get over you; I tried to move on. But, dammit, I can't… I love you. I love you more than I've ever loved another woman. And I don't want to scare you, but I want you to know the truth. I want you to understand that the changes I am going to set into motion are my own doing; you didn't do anything to bring them on. I want you to remember that."

"Booth…" she released a breath she didn't realize she was holding. "I don't…. I-"

"No, no, it's OK. You don't have to say anything… I don't expect anything. I just – I couldn't hold it in any longer. And when I woke up tonight, remembering the accident, remembering the pain, all I could think about was whether or not you were safe; whether or not you were injured…I was so afraid, Bones…"

Her body shuddered as she inhaled, searching his deep chocolate brown eyes. "I love you, too," she whispered quickly, "I'm so sorry I hurt you last year, Booth. I love you, too…" The tears started fresh, regardless that she wanted them to stay hidden.

He gently pressed his lips to hers in a tender, loving kiss. There was no tongue, there was no battle; there was simply love between two people who were finally coming together after years of denial.

After several moments, Brennan pulled back and slowly opened her eyes to find Booth's eyes already trained on her. "What do we do now, Booth?" She spoke against his lips, careful not to brush her nose roughly against his, as was her urge to do so in what her father used to call an 'Eskimo kiss.'

"I am going to be honest with Hannah. I'll tell her that I thought I could move on, but that I am still in love with you. I am going to apologize for hurting her, and for encouraging her to move here to DC to be with me, when I couldn't really give myself to her." Seeing a sudden flash of guilt behind his partner's eyes, he quickly set about ensuring that his was not her fault. "Look, Bones, this is on me. You didn't do this; I don't want you beating yourself up. I know you, and I know you're going to try to take the blame. But I refuse to let you do that."

"But Booth, if I had not turned you down last year then none of this would have happened…"

"No, Bones… If I hadn't have pushed you, none of this would have happened. Listen to me. I know I'm a mess right now, but I promise that when I get better, I'm gonna take you out to a nice dinner, maybe some dancing… a real date. I promise that I am going to do this right. I want 'us' to be right." He flashed his just-for-Bones-charm-smile, "Will you take the chance with me? Please?"

She nodded slowly. "I never realized how much I've come to depend on you, Booth. Not until I lost you. I'm sorry it took me so long."

"No more apologies, Bones. And I didn't realize how much I'd hurt you by trying to move on. But I believe that we can do it. I think we're gunna be great together."

B/B/B/B

Hannah sat in the lounge with the older nurse and listened attentively as Deborah recounted the many times she'd assisted in procedures for Booth and Brennan. The woman helped Hannah see what everyone around the partners had been seeing for years.

"So you see, dear, I don't believe that Agent Booth intended to drag you into a drama. I believe he thought he could move past Dr. Brennan. And if anyone would have been able to help him do that, believe me, I think it would have been you. But they've been together for much longer than either of them like to admit… I know you care about Agent Booth, I can see it in your eyes, but even you could tell, deep down, that it was only temporary, couldn't you?" Deborah pinned Hannah with a knowing stare as the younger blond lowered her gaze.

"Yes…It's just – I'm not used to being on the receiving end of the 'dumping'." She took a deep breath. "I guess there was a lot I never realized about Seeley. A lot of history I didn't know; a lot that he didn't tell." Her voice was laden with rejection. "But better to find out now than to let it continue any longer." She raised her eyes once again and smiled at the kind nurse. "Thank you for speaking with me, Deborah. I'm sorry that you were dragged into the middle of this. But I appreciate you taking time to help me see what I couldn't see before."

Deborah patted Hannah's hand as the younger woman stood and moved to leave. "Take care, Hannah."

B/B/B/B

A light tapping at the door gained both partners' attention. They were still sharing Booth's space on the extra-wide hospital bed and turned wet eyes towards the slowly opening door. Seeing that it was Hannah entering, Brennan readied to extract herself from Booth's embrace, but he was having none of it, and held her tight to his side.

"Seeley, Temperance…I'm sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to come to say goodbye…" Her voice was soft and emotional, but she was not crying. "I've come to realize a lot this evening, and I know that I am not meant to be with you, Seeley…I can see where your true heart belongs."

"Hannah-" Booth started to interject, wanting to speak his side of the story. He wanted her to know he never meant to hurt her, and that he did love her – just not the same as he loved Bones, but she didn't let him interrupt.

Hannah raised a hand to quiet his rebuttal. "It's OK, Seeley. I don't hold you responsible. I knew going into this relationship that you were in love with another woman. And while I didn't know for quite some time that it was you, Temperance, I did know that this mysterious woman in your past, Seeley, still held your heart." She smiled ruefully at the pair. "I think you two are perfect together and I hope that you have both come to realize that as well." With that, Hannah simply smiled at the stunned partners and turned to the exit. With one last glance over her shoulder, she met Booth's gaze. "I'll leave my key in your fake rock outside the door, Seeley. I'll always love you, but I can never love you as much as you need, or as much as you deserve." She moved her gaze to Brennan but said nothing more, she simply nodded and left the room.

Booth and Brennan moved their eyes from the now-closed door back to each other, their mouths agape. Slowly, Booth's open lips turned into a ghost-of-a-smile as he saw the relief he felt reflected in Brennan's eyes. "I guess tonight was a night of realizations, Bones…for all of us."

Leaning forward to capture his lips, Brennan skated her tongue across the line where his lips met in closing his mouth. Immediately he opened to her and they reacquainted themselves with a kiss that had been seared into each other minds for seven years…ever since the close of that first case, outside the pool hall where Booth'd admitted to a gambling addiction. The few brief times since then that they'd shared a kiss only reminded them of what they could have had, but didn't.

And now…Now they both realized what it was to openly love one another.

Yes, it was an evening of realization for everyone. And for that, Booth sent his thanks to the Heavens and Brennan sent her gratitude to the Universe. They were finally together.

Postscript A/N

OK, so the prompt was to write Hannah off the scene without making her out to be a total bitch and without killing her… Yes, we FF writers love to hate on anyone who stands between B&B love – and we have done our due diligence at beating the hell out of Hannah, metaphorically speaking, of course… But this was my Muse's answer to that little prompt.

Again, I apologize that I don't remember who exactly prompted it… I went back through my emails and PMs and I cannot locate it… so I hope you forgive me and I hope this is sort of what you were looking for.

Please let me a review and let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!