Disclaimer: I don't own Fox, Bones, or it's characters…they belong to people w/ way more money than me.
Author's note: I know I should be working on Murphy's Law, but I've been downloading episodes of 'Bones' on iTunes and I just had to write this after seeing 'The Man in the Fallout Shelter'. This is just wishful thinking for after the episode. I haven't had time to really proof read, so I apologize for mistakes! Let me know what you think!
Temperance Brennan slowly turned the key, unlocking the door to her quiet apartment. She toed off her shoes sluggishly before shutting the door behind her. The presents her parents had left her long ago were clutched tightly in her arms. She had stayed at the lab until late evening, not wanting to come home to an empty apartment. Going over cold cases and working on enough tissue markers to keep Angela busy until well into next week, had kept Brennan's mind of Christmas.
One look around her dark and empty apartment brought back the feelings of loneliness she had felt at the lab when her co-workers and friends were visiting with their family. Even though no one had said anything about her lack of visitors, she still felt the unwanted looks of pity by her friends. It was difficult to pretend that the holiday didn't affect her, although she had doubts of Angela or Booth accepting that fact at face value.
Her thoughts of Booth also caused round of feelings, ones she could only identify as hurt. In the entire time they'd known each other he had never mentioned having a son, and as much as she didn't want it to, it had hurt hearing that fact from Hodgins. Why hadn't he told her, she wondered. Did he not trust her? Hadn't he been the one to initially say partners should share things, that it builds trust?
Brennan sighed deeply, not wanting to think about it anymore tonight. She sat the presents down on the coffee table in the middle of the room, switching on the lamp as she moved to hang up her coat. She sunk down on her couch wearily, the past few days weighing heavily on her mind. The tears that she had fought earlier in Wong Foo's had returned when her eyes rested on the blue box she had opened first. It had contained a beautiful shell necklace and earring set she had desperately wanted 15 years ago.
Her mind drifted to a memory she had long forgotten…
"Mom! Look, that necklace is the most beautiful thing I've seen." An excited 15-year-old Tempe said.
Her mother smiled wryly as she peered in the window to see what her daughter was so enraptured with. Christine Brennan's brow rose at the piece that had caught her Tempe's eye.
"You're right Tempe, that necklace is beautiful…but isn't that what you said about the around your neck?"
Tempe turned her head from the window, her fingers automatically fingering the silver pendant at her throat. "I like this one too, but that one," she said pointing at the window, "has matching earrings!"
"Tempe, did you happen to see the price tag? That set is very expensive."
Christine watched as her daughter's eyes drifted to the small white tag, she knew the moment Tempe read the price. The look of disappointment wasn't well hidden.
"Oh. Even if I used all my savings from babysitting I still couldn't afford it." Tempe said dejectedly.
Christine smiled gently, "I don't think so either, honey. And you know we'd love to buy it for you, but we just don't have the money right now sweetie, not so soon after our vacation."
Tempe nodded, "I know."
Tempe smiled widely at her mother before turning, "POLO!"
Christine laughed, "I swear I'll never understand why you and your brother insist on playing that game."
"Tempe, are you done yet?" Russ Brennan shouted, "Me and Dad are sick of the mall!"
Tempe rolled her eyes, along with her mother, "Come on, Tempe. We'd better go before your brother and father leave us here."
Christine looped her arm through her daughter's as she followed her husband and son to the mall exit. She noticed Tempe quickly looking back at the jewelry store window as they rounded the corner.
Brennan wiped away another tear as her fingers stroked the iridescent shells. She had no idea her parents had purchased the set for her. That had been months before Christmas, she hadn't even known her mother remembered the set she had fallen so in love with. Now she didn't know if she could bear to put it on. A sudden knock on the door interrupted her thoughts. She looked at her watch, wondering who would be dropping by this late on Christmas.
She stood on her tip-toes and looked through the peep-hole. Brennan stood back confused, she stared at the door a moment before opening it slowly.
"Booth?" she questioned, "What are you doing here?"
Seeley Booth flashed a smile, "I was in the neighborhood…thought I'd drop by, say hello."
Brennan stared at her partner, not saying anything. Booth shifted uncomfortably under her gaze, "You mind if I, uh, if I come in?"
Shaking herself from her daze she stood back, opening the door further, "Uh, sure. Sorry."
Booth stepped in admiring, "Nice place, Bones."
Shutting the door and stepping around him she replied, "Thanks."
They stood there for a moment before Brennan broke the awkward silence, "You wanna sit down?"
Brennan followed him to the couch, taking a seat beside him. Normally the proximity would unnerve her, but after the days events her subconscious was reeling for human contact.
"Wow," Booth said pointing to the boxes adorning her table, "Who are those from?"
"Nobody." She said quickly.
Booth frowned, "Nobody Bones? Come on, you can do better than that." He saw the tension mount in her shoulders, "Bones?"
Brennan looked away, "They're uh, from my parents."
His face immediately filled with concern, "You're parents?"
"You heard what I told Angela earlier didn't you." She said, more of a statement than a question.
He felt a twinge of guilt when he nodded, "Yes. I didn't mean to eavesdrop…"
Brennan shook her head, "It's okay." She sighed looking over at the boxes, "These are the presents that Russ found, the ones our parents bought us before they disappeared."
Booth's eyes roamed the table, falling on the jewelry set. "It's beautiful," he nodded toward the necklace, "Very you."
A small smile graced her face, "Thank you."
Not wanting to rehash her feelings about her parents she quickly changed the subject, "How was your Christmas?"
Booth grinned widely, "It was nice. Parker, my son, had a great time. Since we were in the quarantine I didn't have a chance to decorate the tree so we did that together and then we played with his robot until he had to leave."
Brennan smiled genuinely, "I'm glad you guys had a good time."
"Yeah, well it's hard not to with him. He's a great kid."
"He looks like you."
Booth tilted his head, smiling thoughtfully, "Really? You think so?"
Brennan nodded, "Yes, you're genetic similarity is apparent in both of your physical features…"
Booth chuckled, "Whoa, a simple 'yes' will do, Bones."
She smiled sheepishly, "Sorry."
"Sooo…how are you?" he asked quietly.
"Fine. Why are you here, Booth? Even I'm not buying the 'in the neighborhood' spill."
Booth corrected her automatically, "Spiel, Bones."
"Whatever." Rolling her eyes.
He sighed heavily, unsure how to begin. "I noticed last night that…no one…" his eyes looking up into hers, "that you didn't have any visitors."
She broke the contact and shrugged, "I don't have anyone to visit me."
Furrowing his brow, "What about your brother?"
"I haven't seen my brother in 15 years," she let out a small, strangled laugh, "I don't even know where he lives."
Brennan looked away from his intense brown eyes. She wasn't sure what to do, she wanted to push him out of her apartment…out of her private life, but at the same time her primal instincts, the ones that yearned for human contact held strong.
"I guess I never considered…I mean that you were so…" he trailed off lamely, not wanting to hurt her feelings by saying it. He should have known with her bluntness.
"Alone?" she finished.
Booth shook his head, immediately wanting to take it back, "Bones, you're not really, you know, alone."
"Of course not, you're here." Brennan stated.
He sighed, exasperated, "Not literally I meant…"
Brennan shot him a sad grin, "I know what you meant, Booth. I was just trying to lighten the mood. Besides, I've been on my own for a long time. It's not been an ideal situation, but I've survived and…"
A huge yawn swept across her abruptly, making Booth grin. She apologized shaking her head quickly. "Sorry."
"No need to be sorry, Bones. You've had hardly any sleep in the past few days."
Booth stood, "I should be going, it's getting late and you," he pointed at her playfully, "need to sleep."
He pulled something out of his pocket as he walked toward her door, "I wanted to give you this, I know you're not big on presents but…"
Brennan's eyes shown brightly, "Booth, you didn't have to."
"I know, but I wanted to." He grinned at her as he handed over a rectangular box wrapped in red and gold paper.
She gently shook it and looked at him questionably, "What is it?"
"Well open it!"
Tearing open the paper she saw a white box. Lifting the lid, she removed the tissue paper and laughed. Her eyes drifted up and met his own, the deep brown color shining with mirth.
"I thought it might look good on your desk." He said grinning.
Brennan lifted up the black and gold nameplate that read, 'BONES'. "Thank you, Booth."
He feigned surprise, "What? No 'don't call me Bones' remark? I'm stunned."
She rolled her eyes playfully, "Only because it's Christmas. Seriously, thank you Booth. This is the first Christmas present I've received in a long time." She smiled gratefully at him.
He returned her sincere smile, "You're welcome, Temperance."
Booth opened the door and paused, "Oh, Bones there's one more thing I wanted to give you…well actually partly from Angela too."
Brennan wrinkled her forehead, "What is it?" she asked stepping over to him.
He drew something out of his pocket and quickly held it over her head. Before she realized what he held, Brennan felt Booth's lips grazing hers gently. It was over as soon as it began, too soon, a voice in her head said.
Booth was shaking a piece of mistletoe over her head and grinning, his cheeks slightly tinged pink. Interesting, she thought. Rationally, she knew she would say something…after all it wasn't everyday her partner kissed her.
Realizing that she wasn't going to kick his ass as he feared, Booth chuckled, "I think I'll save this for another day."
Brennan still stunned, could only nod.
"Night, Bones. Remember, you're not alone." He turned and left, looking back once more before stepping outside her building.
Brennan shut the door, wondering what just happened. Deciding to forego the analyzing for once she glanced back down at the nameplate, smiling to herself as she traced the letters with her fingers. Tomorrow, she decided, she would proudly display her gift. Her eyes followed the path back to her jewelry set, both gifts, she corrected.