Happy Belated Valentine's Day to the prolific FaithinBones, who gave me quite a challenge:

Element: they are both trapped at work, Booth at the Hoover and Brennan at the Jeffersonian due to a storm on Valentine's night. The kids are ok, they're at Day Care at the Jeffersonian

Please Exclude: Don't want breakup, death or meanness.

Not terribly easy to be honest, keeping them apart (goes against every Bones bone in my FF body), but I appreciate a challenge, and I think I have come up with something that fulfils the brief. It's not beta'd (yet) - there is likely to be an updated version of this chapter once my Jen's had a look at it.

Reluctantly posting this as the first of a two-parter as it's already technically 3 days late. Real-life (a lot of it at the moment) has got in the way a lot more than I would have wanted it to, my apologies, especially to FaithInBones. I have written some of part two, I have paused it at an opportune moment.

06:10 Valentine's Day, near future.

Dr Temperance Brennan, queen of the Jeffersonian's research crown, lay awake quietly in her bed as the dawn broke, contemplating the day ahead of her. She was ahead of the alarm by a few minutes, and was using those precious moments to plan what was set to be a busy day. Beside her, her husband stirred for the first time. As he turned over to face her, his arm, like a seat-belt, wrapped around her automatically, finally leaving his hand resting on her side firmly yet gently. She smiled to herself. Some things never changed. They may have been together romantically for several years now, but Booth remained as protective as ever.

"Booth", whispered Brennan, "it's almost time to get up".

"C'mon Baby, stay in bed", Booth's voice husky as he reached full consciousness. "It's still early and we can snuggle. You love it when we snuggle", he continued, conspiratorially. With that, he took the opportunity to press his lips to her neck, taking advantage of her regular response mechanism to his ministrations. She was, as always, putty in his hands.

Brennan let out a pleasured groan, letting him have his way for a few minutes, thoroughly relishing in the moment, before the practicalities of alarms, children, and work reminded her that this would make for an awkward conversation with Christine and Hank if they didn't stop soon. They had had this happen before. The children had almost walked in on their parents in the throes of a passionate encounter on more than one occasion, and at least one time, this had led to a very difficult situation involving much confabulation, swerving around the topic to a baffled Hank and quite cynical Christine, who had worked out that mummy and daddy were definitely up to something.

With a further regretful sigh reflecting her loss at what had been an extremely pleasant start of the morning, Brennan finally pulled herself out of bed and propelled herself towards the bathroom, but not before leaving Booth with a sultry look over her shoulder.

07:45 - Booth Household

The assembled Booth family sat at the breakfast bar eating their various meals.

"What'cha doing at school today, kids?"

"We have a math test", said Christine brightly..

"I'm making mommy a Valentine card."

"That's supposed to be a surprise, Hank!" chastised his elder sister.

"That's very sweet Hank. Thank you."

"Who's Valentine?"

"The myth of Saint Valentine dates back to the third century A.D. when marriages were banned by the Roman government of Emperor Claudius II. He decided that married men made bad soldiers..."

"No way! Married men make the best soldiers, the ones with the most to fight for", Booth interrupted, feeling somewhat offended at the two-millennia old historical figure. Brennan reached over to ruffle his hair affectionately before continuing.

"Anyway, Valentine, who was a priest, allegedly conducted marriages in secret, in direct disregard of the rules. He was imprisoned for this crime, fell in love with the gaoler's daughter, leaving her a letter with the words 'from your Valentine' before he died. It became a feast day a couple of centuries later, and it is suggested that the English writer and poet Geoffrey Chaucer took this myth in the late 1300s and turned it into the beginnings of the romantic concept we have today, albeit now commercialised beyond all reasonable recognition. Some of the traditions from earlier centuries were quite unusual, not at all considered romantic by modern standards, including involving being whipped-" Booth cut in, slightly alarmed.

"- Maybe not so appropriate right now, Bones!" He gave her a brief hard 'change the subject' stare. "You haven't forgotten about out eight pm reservation at Vespucci's?" His tone lightened considerably. "The best spicy meatballs this side of the Potomac."

"No. I am very much looking forward to their vegetarian lasagna. Kathleen is picking up Christine and Hank straight after school and they are staying there overnight." Her voice lowered so only Booth could hear. "I have procured an appropriately alluring dress and accompanying lingerie set. It's quite revealing."

"I love Valentine's Day" smirked Booth, taking the opportunity to lean across to give his wife a PG-rated kiss but with no allusion as to the R-rated thoughts swimming about his head. After lingering for rather too long in front of a captive audience, transported to their favourite pocket universe, they were rudely interrupted but Hank's 'ewwwww' sound bringing them firmly back down to earth.

" At least five steamboats…" chuckled Brennan as she reluctantly pulled away and went back to her breakfast.

" And later, the whole Pacific fleet…" added Booth, at a volume only they could hear. "Maybe even the submarine division."

Brennan nearly choked on her oatmeal.

08:30 - The SUV

The kids now at their kindergarten and school respectively, on the way to dropping Brennan off on his way to The Hoover building, Booth's favourite classic rock radio station played in the background as they discussed the mundanities of the day. The sun was shining and although it was chilly, there was a pleasant freshness in the air that suggested that it was going to be a beautiful late winter's day.

"…And on to the weather now, currently 41 degrees Fahrenheit central DC right now, 39 in Virginia suburbs, and 38 in Maryland. Reports from our colleagues suggesting a drop in temperature, heavy snow showers later and even possible 'thunder-snow' – we'll keep you posted on the progress of that storm, so stay tuned to W-YKD radio for further updates."

Neither of them were paying attention.

11:30 - The Jeffersonian

Brennan was trying her hardest to remain distracted from her husband's comments earlier that morning. She wasn't entirely successful.

She'd never been much for Valentine's Day. It had been a useful way to secure a sure-fire date and satisfy those biological urges she'd always kidded herself were the beginning and end of her experience of a successful relationship, entirely on her terms. Get in, get satisfied, get out. And mostly, it'd worked really well. Most men were happy with a casual arrangement, it fitted with their biological and anthropological drivers.

Then she'd met Booth. He'd changed the parameters entirely. She had come to hate the day because it reminded her of what she did not have, and how close she was that she could what she really wanted, had she just been able to open herself up. Those words she had written during that period – "The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable." and her recognition that maybe, just maybe, it was all worth it, left her horribly tormented. It had made for great book sales though, all that frustration at what might be was channelled into her novels.

Finally, one year, they weren't just partners anymore. Brennan was carrying his child, not far from term, in fact, and, they'd had a remarkably sweet evening. He'd bought her flowers and made her dinner, much appreciated with her third-trimester body finally succumbing to the weariness of the last few weeks of her pregnancy. They spent the rest of the night curled up on the couch watching a movie and feeding each other ice cream. She'd finally understood what the day meant, in its purest form.

Now, several years later, Brennan allowed herself to enjoy this feast day for what it was, a chance for Booth, even more than he usually did, to show her just how much he loved her. In her own way, she managed to do the same, even if it wasn't so extravagant.

She stood in limbo, working an old cold case from the nineteenth century, headphones on, enjoying some Bizet, when Aristoo arrived in somewhat of an animated state.

"Doctor Brennan, sorry to interrupt."

"It's the Pearl Fishers, Doctor Vaziri. Are you OK? You appear somewhat agitated."

"Cam had a call from Deputy Director Stark. A body was found in a decomposed state up by the Georgetown section of the Potomac, near the university. Does not look like a natural death. The body is on its way here."

"OK, thank you Doctor Vaziri. I'll be up in a few minutes." Brennan packed away the remains and after making a few new notes, replaced the case file binder that Doctor Edison had introduced a few years before, whilst she and Booth had been on opposite sides of the world.

Aristoo had lain the victim out. The body showed signs of a dump, but more immediately, a large section of the shoulder was missing, looking like it had been blown off by some sort of explosive. Cam and Hodgins took various samples, and by the time Brennan appeared, Angela had already been taking head measurements to I.D. the body.

"What do we have, Doctor Vaziri, aside from more flesh than I'd like to see."

"Female, mid twenties, that large chunk of the scapula missing, surprising the arm is still attached. Go flesh!" Aristoo joked, looking up to find an unimpressed Brennan, also Cam smiled slightly. "Doctor Hodgins has already swabbed the area to look for ballistics and explosives." As if by magic, Hodgins appeared.

"And," Hodgins continued Aristoo's explanation, "There is a small trace of C4, it could have been an doctored explosive bullet like a dum-dum, that grazed, hence didn't take the arm off cleanly. Unusual M.O. though. I think an experiment might be in order."

"Surely FBI ballistics can give us this information?" Asked Cam, already resigned to what she knew would be coming next.

"Come on, Doctor Saroyan, you know that I will be much more thorough. And they don't give cause of death, but they will be able to corroborate what I find." He waggled his eyebrows and grinned at her. Cam thought about resisting, looked at her husband, who shrugged his shoulders at her and smiled as noncommittally as he could.

"OK. But no unnecessary explosions. And I want everything fully written up, costs accounted for any expenditure and an experimental outcome.

"Thanks Cam, I promise I will do all those things. Aristoo, I might need a hand setting up the mannequins. Can you help with that?" Aristoo tried not to look too enthusiastic.

"Sure Hodgins." He looked back at Cam with a small amount of trepidation. She, of course, saw straight through him, and rolled her eyes.

13:30 - The Hoover Building

On the other side of central DC, special agent Seeley Booth was making plans for the upcoming evening with his wife. Aside from dinner at the rather swanky Vespucci's, he had planned a horse-drawn ride around the monuments (he'd vetted the company first with the SPCA to ensure the horses were well-treated) and a candle-lit bath for two in the tub when they got home. The rest would play out fairly obviously, and he smiled approvingly to himself as he fast-forwarded his brain to later that night and wondered exactly what dress Brennan would be wearing, and even more about what would be underneath.

He entirely didn't notice that since that morning, the sky had darkened and the clouds hung pendulously overhead...

More to follow...