A/N: It's that time of year again! Happy December everyone, I hope that you are excited to join in this little tradition! (Three times makes a tradition, right?) A word of warning before we start: my computer is currently on its last breath. There is a new one on the way, but it might interrupt a day of posting if this one dies before the new one arrives. I'll still ask for a word on Twitter, it just might not get posted on the right day. Good news: I'll get to break in a laptop with copious amounts of smut writing! Let's get started, shall we?

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December 1st: JMHaughey chose the word "snail". This could be considered a follow up to Ch. 14 in the Posting Board "RIP Ripley" and takes place after "The Finger in the Nest".

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"You keep looking at your watch." Brennan observed. "Am I keeping you from something because if so, you can…" She pointed towards the door.

"No!" He said just a little too quickly. "It's just that, Parker, you know, he's home now and I guess I keep waiting for the phone call and the yelling…" He drifted off, trying not to think about what could happen if Rebecca disapproved of his time with Parker.

"Booth, you have nothing to worry about. Mr. Starrett, my current intern on this case, said that the rhyme "snips and snails and puppy dog tails" is very accurate when it comes to boys. Apparently, this is normal behavior." She stated and Booth felt his heart grow a little bit at her reassurance. He was certain human remains were not, in fact, a normal discovery for young kids but hearing her say it did make him feel better.

"Hey, you want another?" Booth asked, changing the subject as he held up the wine bottle.

"Yes please." She nodded as he filled up her wine glass one more time. "I guess this case was stressful for both of us." She acknowledged as the bottle went dry.

"Look, Bones, you know, every once in a while, these cases, they sneak up on you. You got attached, it's okay. That's a good thing."

"I think that this case was harder on me because I never really got closure."

"Closure?" Booth furrowed his eyebrows. "From what?"

"From your death." She answered quietly. Booth's entire body sagged at her sad words and he immediately moved his chair to be closer to her.

"Oh, Bones…" He said as he reached for her hand.

"Ripley was a good, sweet dog who trusted his master to make the right decisions. And that loyalty, well, it got him killed. He didn't deserve to die and neither did you."

"I didn't die, Bones."

"You did. I was there, Booth. On the floor, in the ambulance, your heart stopped. You took a bullet for me."

"And it was a good thing I did because you ended up saving my life." He said as he squeezed her hand and smiled. "There's nothing tragic about it. We both survived."

Their eyes met and the room fell silent. Booth was more than aware that they had been having more and more of these quiet moments, when the world fell away and it was just them, communicating silently with each other in a way only they could.

Brennan finally cleared her throat and Booth took his hand away, both clearly uncomfortable at the intensity of the moment.

"I should probably get going." He didn't want to. "It's late and we've both had a long day…"

"You're welcome to stay here." She suggested. "The guest bedroom is all yours. I know that you have a bag of clothes in the car." He hesitated, not sure why she was asking, but there was something in the way she looked at him that he couldn't turn down.

"Okay." He replied. "Let me run downstairs. I'll be back." He said as he reached for his keys.

OOOOO

Booth stared at the clock on the bedside table. It was three AM, why the hell couldn't he sleep? He finally gave up and turned the small lamp on next to the bed and sat up. He knew why.

This was her house, her bed, the smell of her sheets: she was everywhere. His entire body was on alert from years of being on guard around her and he couldn't relax, not even with half a bottle of wine in his system. In fact, that probably only made it worse. His senses were on overdrive.

He heard a creak of the floorboards and he instinctively reached toward his gun before he remembered that he was staying in someone else's home. A soft knock, barely audible, came from his door and he pulled the sheet up a little higher on his body.

"Come in." He said.

"Hi." She said, clearly just as awake herself. "I saw the light on. Couldn't sleep?"

"No. You?" She shook her head and walked in. She stood before him in a tank top and tiny cotton pajama shorts that made her long legs seem impossibly longer. He realized he was probably staring slackjawed at his partner and he looked at her face again, but she was staring at his chest with a concerned look that Booth could barely make out in the dim light.

"Sorry." She said as she too realized she was staring. "I haven't seen it without the bandages." She said as she pointed to the scar on his chest.

"Oh, right." He said as he looked down at the small scar. "Let me put a t-shirt on…" He said as he started for his clothes.

"No, I mean, it's okay." She waved him off. "Do you mind if I…?" She asked as she pointed to it.

"Um, no. Go ahead." He said awkwardly as she closed the distance between them and sat down gingerly on the edge of the bed. She ran her finger tip slowly over the exposed flesh and he felt a chill run down his spine. She was looking at him with her analytical face but her fingers were feather light as they brushed over the scar.

"They did an excellent job removing the bullet. Very minimal tissue damage…" She commented, trying to maintain a professional demeanor but he heard the heartache in her voice. "I'm sorry, you probably don't want to hear about your surgeon's skill at this time of night. I should let you sleep." She said, clearly wanting to run away. She stood up, ready to leave him alone again.

"Bones." She paused and turned around. "It wasn't your fault." He told her, reading her mind.

"She was there to kill me." She whispered. "Why did you have to stand up?" She asked him, and he knew from experience that it was a question she had been asking herself for a long time. "I would have gladly taken that bullet instead."

"No, don't say that." He said as he stood up.

"It's true!"

"I wouldn't know what to do with myself if anything happened to you." He confessed. "I need you around. And I know that life is short, and everyone has a number, I get that, but I've lost enough people in my life, I'll be damned if I'm going to lose you too." She stood there for a second, contemplating what he had just said, and then they were kissing, her hands pressed against his flushed chest as his arms wrapped around her. Finally, she pulled away.

"I'm sorry." She said as she backed away and covered her lips with her fingers. "I shouldn't have done that."

"No, Bones, I..."

"There's a line." She said aloud, mostly for her own benefit. "There's a line and almost losing you is no excuse for crossing it. Actually, it's all the more reason to not cross it." He closed the distance between them. "I'm so sorry. I don't…"

"Bones? Stop talking." Booth commanded as he leaned in and kissed her again, this time taking control of the situation. He felt her give in and suddenly, she became pliant in his arms. Their bodies molded together and everything just fit. He pulled away to catch his breath and Brennan's eyes were wide and hazy.

"I think we're getting better at this." She confessed.

"Third time is a charm?" He suggested. She grinned and went in for another kiss, unable to resist the challenge. This time, they didn't pull away, falling into bed as his wandering lips explored her neck and chest.

"Oh God, what are we doing?" She asked out loud as she stared at her ceiling.

"Living in the moment." Booth stated as he tugged her tank top up and over her head.

"And you're not going to regret it tomorrow?" She asked, even as she was wiggling out of her own shorts.

"Hey, you promised me that would never happen." He said seriously before cracking a smile. She grinned against his mouth as he kissed her playfully. He lost himself in the kiss as Brennan's hands worked to tug at the drawstring of his sweatpants. He kicked them off the end of the bed before turning his attention back to his partner. She took him by surprise, flipping him onto his back.

"Then I guess I have a promise to keep." She grinned as she stroked him and he clutched the blanket underneath him in restraint.

Lord, help him.

Her lips traveled down his chest and he couldn't help but watch in amazement. He had thought about this moment so many times and now that it was actually happening, he couldn't believe it was real.

He pulled her up for another hot kiss, unable to stop kissing her now that he was allowed to finally do so. The kiss distracted her long enough to let him roll to the top again. He let his hands wander as he kissed her passionately.

"Mmm," Brennan hummed as she arched off the bed at his touch. His nervous system rioted at the sound and he wondered if she was loud in bed. If so, he didn't think he'd survive it. He spread her legs and tested her with a finger. She moaned as he let his fingertip slip inside of her and she bit her lip. "Booth…" She complained, clearly frustrated. "Please." He removed his finger and she immediately wrapped her legs around his waist, refusing to cooperate in his teasing any more. He watched her eyes flutter shut before he had to close his own.

God, she felt right.

"Yes." Brennan hissed. "Oh yes." She met his hips as they fell into an instant rhythm. If he didn't know better, Booth would have sworn that they had done this before because they connected on every level. She called out his name as she began to quake underneath him and he came hard, spilling inside her. They both wilted into the mattress, totally spent, their bodies finally relieved of years of pent up frustration.

"Oh my god." Booth finally murmured as he caught his breath. "That was incredible."

"No regrets?" She added with a smile.

"None." He replied.

"Good. Me either. In fact, I wouldn't complain if it happened again." He smiled at her answer.

"Oh it's definitely happening again." He agreed.

"But you know what they say…" She teased as she slowly laid out over top of him again and kissed his chest.

"Practice makes perfect?" He grinned as she nipped at his jaw playfully.

"It's the third time that's the charm." She purred, stealing his line from earlier.

Challenge accepted, he thought as he pulled the sheets over their heads, cocooning them in the dark.