AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is just a bit of good 'ole BB fluff. Why, you ask? ...Because I felt like it ;) And no, before I get asked, I haven't forgotten about my other fics. It's in the triple digits here, cut me a break :-P
"Thanks for staying, Russ."
"Thanks for inviting me, Tempe. And..." Russ Brennan turned around in the doorway of his sister's apartment. "I hope, next time I call on your birthday, you'll answer."
Temperance Brennan replied with a smile and barely audible chuckle, before answering, "I think I'll answer even if it's not my birthday."
Russ smiled. "Good." He turned and started to head down the hallway, tossing her a grin over his shoulder and calling, "Marco..."
Tempe grinned right back and gave her automatic answer: "Polo."
She then shut the door and turned back to the other temporary occupant of her apartment -- her partner, Seeley Booth, who was currently perched on her couch, half-asleep. Tempe made her way over to him and stopped just beside the couch, unable to combat the smile as she looked down at him.
His head was lolled back against the arm of the couch and one leg was stretched across the cushions while his other foot remained planted on the floor. His left hand lay across his stomach, fingers spread, while the other grasped the stereo remote on the coffee table.
Tempe had to marvel at how comfortable they'd gotten being in close quarters with each other over the past several days. Booth had now seen her through her worst times and still wanted to be close to her. She'd never experienced that before -- had never gotten so close to a man that he'd seen her completely break down, and still want to be with her.
Her attention diverted when she heard her blackberry chirping in the kitchen. She grabbed it off the counter to see a new text message from David, asking what's been going on.
David. She shook her head and let her thumb hover over the delete button. She finally just sighed and set the blackberry aside, not responding to or deleting the message. David had no clue what she'd been through in the past several days. The last she saw of him was at the Jeffersonian, just before she'd gone back to get her notes for court. That was when her entire world unravelled.
David wouldn't stick by her through her dark times; she was well aware of that. She'd normally even be okay with that, but for some reason, this event had changed her. Whereas she used to be completely satisfied having a superficial relationship -- someone to occasionally have intellectual chats with and to sate carnal urges with -- she no longer found that appealing.
This event -- finding her mother and learning the truth about her parents -- somehow changed her outlook on relationships. She didn't want the superficial anymore -- she wanted the real thing, the long term true-blue partnership. And as her eyes focused once more and centered on Booth, she realized something more -- she wanted all of that with her partner.
Tempe reached out and gently nudged his leg with her knee. She stifled the chuckle then as he stirred, and then jolted awake. "I wasn't sleeping," he blurted as his eyes popped open and he sat upright.
She smiled. "Of course you weren't."
He peered over the back of the couch, toward the door. "Russ leave?"
"Just a few minutes ago, yes."
Booth slid to one end of the couch and patted the space beside him, inviting her to sit down. "So things are better between you two now?"
Tempe, after sitting directly beside him, nodded slowly. "I think so. I've... realized I've been wrong about him this whole time, so I think it's going to be up to me to repair most of the damage. That could take awhile, but I'm willing to try."
Her head swiveled to look at him. "What?"
Booth stretched his arms above his head, then laid one across the back of the couch, just barely skimming across her shoulders. "That's not like you, Bones -- to admit when you're wrong."
She glared facetiously. "You know, I could kick you out."
"Yeah, but..." Booth dared to drape his arm across her shoulders now and he gave her a little squeeze. "You wouldn't do that."
"I wouldn't?" Tempe tried not to let herself lean against him.
"No. Because you enjoy my company."
She nodded. "I do."
"Geez, Bones, two surprise comments in one night. I can't take much more of it." He shrugged one shoulder. "That, and you haven't roundhouse kicked me for putting my arm around you."
"Well who said I had any objection to it?" she countered, meeting his eyes.
His own searched hers, and narrowed slightly in contemplation of her behavior. "You feelin' alright, Bones?"
"I feel fine," Tempe assured her partner, and leaned against him just slightly.
"You don't mind my arm being around you, you've admitted that you're wrong, and you've admitted to enjoying my company. What gives?"
"Well, I'm guessing this isn't the influence of Russ... so is this David's doing?"
"No. Maybe you're starting to rub off on me."
His raised eyebrows told all...
"So to speak," she clarified, and watched his eyebrows go back down.
Tempe sighed and leaned more fully against Booth, fighting the smile when she felt him squeeze her shoulders and pull her in a little tighter. "This whole thing has just made me... change my perspective on my relationships, I guess you could say. I've decided that--" Her blackberry chirped again and she looked over her shoulder at it briefly, then ignored it, "--that I don't want anything superficial anymore. Like how I could be with a man for recreation only... I don't think I want that anymore. I think I'd like a shot at the real thing, with someone that I trust. Someone that I care about, and someone that can see me at my worst and still want to be around me."
Booth smiled when he met his partner's eyes. "Well any guy would be lucky to have you. David included."
"What about you?" she questioned, never removing her eyes from his.
"Well, I don't really think I'm David's type," he quipped.
Tempe rolled her eyes good-naturedly. "No. I mean, if you and I were hypothetically dating, would you count yourself lucky?"
He held her eyes. "Already do, Bones."
"Really?" Her tone was pregnant with shock.
Booth nodded solemnly, no longer joking around. "Every time we're at a scene together and I watch you spout off a million different anthropological explanations for why we're seeing what we're seeing, I count myself lucky. Every time we're in a crowded room and I meet your eyes, and you walk right to me while ignoring everyone else, I count myself lucky." He pulled her in just a little tighter, so they were now practically fused together from shoulder to hip. "Every time you let your guard down enough for me to see you cry, see you be vulnerable... hell, when you let your guard down enough to let me hold you, Temperance, I count myself lucky."
"Like right now?" She knew her voice probably held a childish note to it, but she didn't care. She was now feeling the full effect of Booth's arm around her, in the butterflies flying wild in her stomach.
Booth nodded slowly. "Like right now. In my opinion, I'm the luckiest guy in the world right now, because Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan -- the woman who kicks anyone's ass that lays a hand on her -- is letting me put my arm around her and hold her close."
"What about if she... let you kiss her?" Tempe asked, brows climbing her forehead slowly. "Hypothetically."
"Hypothetically, then I'd probably be the luckiest guy in the galaxy, Bones," Booth chuckled at the curious look on her face. He angled his body toward her a bit more, and his arm slipped from her shoulders. "Why do you ask?"
She quirked an eyebrow as an answer and Booth, always able to read her, leaned in for a kiss. Their lips touched tentatively at first, testing, before Tempe opened her lips under his and let him in. Moments later when oxygen became an imperative and they broke away, Booth realized they had reclined on the couch... with her on top of him. He gazed up at her and rather enjoyed the way her hair draped around her face like a curtain, almost touching his chin.
Her voice came out breathless. "Remember when I said that I want a shot at the real thing with someone I trust?"
Booth smiled. "You mean just a couple of minutes ago? Vaguely..."
Tempe settled herself on his abdomen and laid her hands on his chest, unconsciously stroking back and forth across the fabric of his tee shirt. "Well I've decided that I want that with you."
Booth, his brain still a tad fuzzy from their mind-blowing first kiss, furrowed his brow as he looked up at her. "What about David?"
She countered, "What about David? David's never shielded me from gunfire, or saved me from a madman. He hasn't ever staked his career on proving my innocence or risked everything to save a pair of earrings that mean a lot to me. He's never seen me break down or held me when I cried. You have."
He nodded slowly and ran his fingers through her hair, tucking some behind her ears so he could see her face better. "Yeah, I have."
"He has no clue about my past and what I just learned about my parents. He doesn't know that I have a brother that I've been estranged from for years. He doesn't know that I've reconnected with my brother. He doesn't care where I am, all the time. You do, Booth."
His nod was solemn now, as was his tone. "I do. Always. I always will."
Tempe nodded back. "That's why I want this with you." She leaned toward him for another kiss...
He stopped her, though, with a finger against her lips just before they touched his own. "Before we start this, Bones, there's something you've gotta know about me." He shook his head slightly as he held her eyes. "I'm not a commitment-phobe like a lot of guys. I play for keeps. If you're not ready for that, you've gotta tell me now... because once we get into this, it's forever. If we split up, Bones, I wouldn't be able to stand it."
She swallowed hard, then nodded. "Then we won't split up."
She leaned in for a second time, and this time he didn't stop her. Their lips connected yet again and they got lost together. Limbs entwined, tongues tangled, hearts raced. When they parted a second time, it was now Tempe who was reclined on the couch, with Booth blanketing her.
Panting breathlessly from both the kiss and the arousing feel of his weight on her, she asked, "Still feel like the luckiest guy, Booth?"
"Absolutely," was his immediate answer. "Why?"
She gently pushed him off her as she sat up and then stood; when he gave her a look of disappointment, she headed for the stairs and shot him a smouldering look over her shoulder, replying, "Because you're about to get even luckier."
Booth sat dumbstruck for a moment and watched her saunter up the stairs. Then, when realization sunk in, he let out a growl and followed his hot-headed forensic anthropologist up the stairs.