AN - This is not new territory, but this little OS is an AU episode tag for S5E2, "The Bond in the Boot." It jumped from a Twitter conversation with the amazing Dharmamonkey… she posted a great pic of BnB working under the sink and mused about writing a story from that scene. I jumped in and said "I might like to do that.," thereby hijacking her idea and turning it in to a mini-challenge. For me, it was an effort to jumpstart my "muse" and get me excited about writing again. Maybe a couple of OS stories will lead to the continuation/completion of my unfinished stories… that said, I would really love to hear what you think, so please take a minute to review.

Thanks to JMHaughey and FauxMaven for taking the time to beta for me.

Without further ado… I give you "The Purpose in the Plumbing."

The Purpose in the Plumbing

The partners sat at opposite ends of Booth's couch, eating pizza and drinking beer. Brennan looked up just in time to see Booth giving her a sidelong look.

"What?" she asked, reaching up to wipe her mouth. "Do I have something on my face?"

"No, Bones," he answered, her unusual show of insecurity making him smile even more. "I was just thinking…"

"Of course you were," she replied. "Booth, I've told you before that it's impossible to turn off your brain function…"

"I know, Bones," he said, interrupting her rant with a chuckle. "I was just thinking that you look good in my clothes."

She looked down at the t-shirt and baggy sweatpants that were many sizes too big for her.

"I look ridiculous," she said.

"You look cute," he countered.

He watched her, wary of her response. He'd been thinking all day about some of the things they'd talked about… trust, keeping secrets… he'd agreed that they didn't keep secrets from one another, but in his heart, he knew he was keeping a big one.

Suddenly self-conscious, she stood and turned toward the hall.

"My clothes are probably dry by now," she said, walking past Booth toward his laundry closet.

He reached out and caught her by the wrist as she walked by.

"Wait," he said, looking up and causing her to lock eyes with him.

"Why?" she asked. "There has been ample time for my clothes to dry…"

"I know, Bones," he said, his voice softer than it had been just a few moments before. "But can you just wait a minute? Come here." He patted the seat next to him on the couch. "Sit down for a minute. There's something I want to talk to you about."

There was something in his tone that made her nervous.

He wondered if maybe a part of him didn't want her to change because she was less likely to go running off into the night if she was still wearing his old sweats.

"What is it?" she asked as she moved around him.

He let go of her wrist as she sat down next to him.

"I've been thinking about our partnership," he began, and he didn't miss the way her breath hitched and her beautiful grey-blue eyes dilated at his words. "I don't think you know how much you really mean to me, Bones," he went on, needing to reassure her.

He reached out and took her hand in his. He let out a long breath, and she could see that he was nervous, too.

"We talked a lot about trust today," he said. "And secrets… and about the fact that we don't keep secrets from each other. And I realized that I have been keeping something from you."

It dawned on him that he was going to have to speed this up if he didn't want to spook her away from any possible positive reaction.

"Bones, you're my partner… but you're so much more than that," he continued. "You're my best friend, and I can't imagine my life without you in it. So," he said, releasing another long sigh as he looked down to make sure she was looking into his eyes. "Neither one of us has the best track record when it comes to relationships…"

"Booth…"

"Wait," he said. "Let me finish. I know you, Bones. I know you think you don't believe in love… but I also know you have a bigger heart than even you know…"

"Booth…"

This time, he didn't acknowledge her interruption… he just kept right on going.

"I heard about what you did for Wendell today," he said. "That showed a lot of heart, Bones. And don't think I don't know what you were doing by coming here tonight."

He looked over at her with that famous Booth grin as she bit her bottom lip, and with a raised eyebrow he went on.

"Did you really expect me to believe you wanted to learn how to fix the pipes? The Temperance Brennan I know would just use some of her considerable wealth to hire someone to take care of the plumbing," he said, smiling. "But you know how much it's been killing me that I'm not exactly back to myself since the surgery and…

"Booth!"

The adamancy in her third interruption caught his attention and he finally acknowledged that she had something to say.

"Yes, Bones?"

"Will you just shut up and kiss me?" she said, laughing at his deer-caught-in-the-headlights look.

You don't have to tell me twice, Booth thought as he leaned in to comply with the lady's wishes.

~~~~~BnB~~~~~

Brennan smiled as she opened her eyes and took in her surroundings. The silver strands of moonlight coming through the blinds illuminated the room that she'd only seen a handful of times, and never from this perspective.

She lightly ran her fingers over the strong arm that was wrapped around her waist anchoring her to the man behind her. That man was her partner, in many senses of the word. They'd finally taken that step that had eluded them for so long.

Her smile widened as she thought of the events leading up to their union… the eradication of the line that Booth had drawn between them so long ago.

For her, it had begun a few months ago. She had little to no use for psychology in her life, but when she'd decided she wanted to have a child and she wanted Booth to be the father of that child, Angela had made her take a serious look at her motivation.

Then, they'd had to deal with Booth's brain tumor. She'd been forced to stand by and watch the doctors open his skull and remove the tumor. She'd literally had to watch him die right before her eyes. The doctors were able to bring him back, only to have him spend four days in a coma. The story she'd written during those four days had given her more to think about.

She'd thought that when he woke, she'd be ready to tell him how she felt about him. But when he'd awakened seemingly confused about who she was to him, she realized she wasn't ready. She'd had to get away to regroup, and spent six weeks excavating a mass grave in Guatemala.

It was upon her return that she'd become concerned about her partner's recovery. She was worried that in some ways Booth wasn't acting like himself. There were things that he didn't seem to remember… things that were integral to his personality… things that troubled her enough to actually consider Sweets' advice.

It was that advice that had brought her to Booth's apartment earlier that evening. Sweets had told her that teaching her something would be a good way for Booth to regain whatever it was that he'd lost. Sweets felt that Booth could actually relearn a skill that he had once known in the course of teaching that skill to her. She hadn't really understood that, but at that point she was willing to try. Spending time with Booth would be an added bonus.

Surprisingly, she had actually enjoyed fixing the plumbing with her partner. She was amused by the use of the plumbing book for imbeciles. She enjoyed the close proximity of working together under the sink. She enjoyed the sense of accomplishment when they'd finished. Then they'd turned on the water and ended up soaked to the skin.

Not wanting to wake Booth, she had to stifle the laughter that bubbled up at the thought of lying on his kitchen floor… dripping wet and laughing. She'd teased him about ruining her new Rolex, when she'd known very well that it was waterproof.

He had called to order pizza while she changed into the sweatpants and t-shirt he'd offered her, and then they'd settled in to watch a movie like they had so many times before. But this wasn't like all the other times…

"Hey."

The sleep roughened voice coming from behind her, brought her from her musings. She leaned back into him as Booth kissed her shoulder.

"Hey," she replied, turning in his arms to face him.

"You're really here," he said.

"Yes," she replied, her husky voice soft as she leaned in to press her lips to his.

"I thought I was going to have to do a lot more convincing," he told her.

She nodded.

"You would have," she answered. "Some time ago. But, I've actually been thinking about it for a very long time…"

"Yeah?" he asked, eyes bright with wonder as he smiled.

"Yeah," she said, moving in for another soft kiss.

"How long?" he couldn't help asking.

"A while," she answered. "But we'll have plenty of time to talk… you should try to get some more sleep. You're still recovering…"

"Tell me about it," he said with a laugh. "I had a feeling you were gonna be insatiable, but…"

She slapped him on the shoulder.

"That's not what I meant and you know it."

"I know, Bones," he said. "But come on, I couldn't help it. You couldn't have set it up better if you tried."

She shook her head and rolled her eyes as she turned back over to press her back against his chest.

"Go to sleep, Booth."

"I knew you were gonna be bossy, too."

She let out a long sigh, forcing herself to not respond to his taunt.

They lay quietly in each other's arms for a long time.

After a while, when she realized that her partner was still awake, that his breathing pattern had yet to change, Brennan spoke.

"Booth?"

"Yeah, Bones?"

"You owe me a new watch."