Temperance Brennan sat cross-legged on her bed, gazing around her room at no one object in particular. She didn't typically become attached to places, but there were some good memories here. It was easy to remember moving in here several years ago, getting ready to begin her new job as lead forensic anthropologist at the Jeffersonian. She had been so excited and proud at the accomplishment, and had barely been able to sleep the night before her first day. Then, after that, there had been the late nights she had spent here with Angela, eating ice cream and talking about Ange's latest exploits and Brennan's dismal love life. And then, of course, there was Booth. She had first made love with him in this room. And their second and third and fourth times had been here, as well. Yes. Good memories.
She was so involved in reminiscing that she hadn't heard the shower turn off in the other room, so she was a little surprised by Booth's entrance. He grinned at her, a little curiously.
"You just hangin' out in here, hot stuff?"
She smiled lightly and shrugged, watching him as he dropped his towel and began to dress. "I guess so." Her eyes again took a journey around the room. "Just remembering all the things that I associate with this place."
He laughed. "Visits from serial killers? Sleepless nights thinking about cases? Me getting blown up?"
Hmm, she had sort of forgotten about those things for a moment. "Not exactly. I guess I'm selectively choosing what to remember."
Looking a little concerned, he sat down next to her on the bed, half-dressed. "You're not having second thoughts about what we talked about, are you?"
After they returned home from their holiday and discussed the practical aspects of living together, they had decided they would find a new place altogether, rather than choosing one of their current apartments. Booth had been especially enthusiastic about starting fresh, in a new place. They were going to start looking today.
"No, not at all." She squeezed his hand reassuringly, but he detected a note of hesitation in her tone.
He looked at her seriously. "I want this to be a good experience for you. I know it's not something that you planned for. But if you tell me what you want, what you need to make this work for you—I'll make it happen. Just say the word. Just…"
"Just talk to you," she finished for him. Yes, she was familiar with the concept now. Very.
"Please." His smile melted her, easily. He was the only person who ever tempted her to say everything he wanted to hear. He was also the only person who she knew she could never lie to.
"You know I very much want to be with you, Booth." He nodded. "And, to live with you. There are no doubts in my mind about that. I just hope that…" She thought for a moment before proceeding. "I hope I can be both who I am and what you need me to be." Her eyes were almost shy as they met his. "In the interest of full disclosure—I'm never going to be the one who wants the white dress and the big wedding. I'll never be the one who dreams of having two point five kids and a white picket fence. And I'm never going to fit in at a country club function." She sighed. "But…equally true is that I love you and Parker, and I want to be with you. I'm just…"
This time he finished her words. "You're just not like all the other girls, are you Bones?"
A laugh left her. "I suppose you could say that." Several thousand times, she thought. "I know I'm really not telling you anything you don't already know. But somehow, I keep worrying that…it's going to be a problem. The person who I am can be a problem sometimes."
They sat quietly for awhile, their fingers tangling with one another, communicating with their touches. "Well, Bones," he finally said, looking at her earnestly, "I'm not entirely sure what to tell you there." Well, at least he was being honest, too." "Maybe I should tell you that I'll never want to see you walk down that aisle towards me in that beautiful white dress. Maybe I should tell you that I'll never want to create a new life with you." He took a deep breath. "But I'm not going to tell you those things, because I can't promise I won't want that. I can't promise that I don't already do. But…I can promise you that I'll always respect what you want, because that's one of the most important things in my world—making you happy, and giving you what you want. It's kind of what I already signed up for." He winked at her.
God, she was a lucky, lucky woman. There was no denying it. Her heart swelled from everything he was to her, and everything they were to each other. "You know what I want right now?" she asked.
She smiled a small smile. "I want you to kiss me."
His heart began to pound at this, and at first he couldn't identify exactly why. By now, they had shared thousands…tens, hundreds of thousands?...of kisses. But something about the way she asked…Oh. Now he got it. It was that question. The one she asked on their first night together, that set everything else in motion. The very first request she had ever had the courage to make of his heart. He couldn't deny her then, and her certainly couldn't now.
His fingers touched her face, drew her closer. Right before their lips met, he spoke to her. "You are my brilliant star," he said, meaningfully. "What you are will always be enough. Because you are everything. Never forget that." His eyes burned into hers one last time, to make sure she understood. And she did. It didn't occur to her to question him. He always told her the truth. Sensing her acceptance, he closed the distance between their lips, and hummed in pleasure at the warmth he found there.
Sighing at the sensation, she relaxed into his muscular, clean-smelling body, feeling both comforted and aroused by the now-familiar taste of him. His mouth against hers felt like the sweetest silken touch. "How did you get me so hooked on you?" she murmured on his lips.
"All I had to do was everything you told me to." He smiled against her. "And then let you do everything you wanted to do to me."
Speaking of things that she wanted to do to him…he should have known what he was getting into when he sat next to her without his shirt on. And told her the most beautiful things…since when did she like to hear them? Since she began to believe them, she supposed. Her hand flexed against his chest, and the feel of his skin reminded her of sex and love and all the delicious things that she had experienced in the past several months with him by her side. She could suddenly see him everywhere. He was beside her on the beach, holding her in the rain, kissing her next to a shimmering waterfall…and every place in between. He was simply a part of her life now. And she was a part of his.
"You know what makes me happy?" she asked, with great seriousness. "That soon, I'll be able to kiss you—whenever I want."
"You already can kiss me whenever you want."
"But now there won't be anywhere for you to escape to." She grinned devilishly, and used her palm against his chest to push him down to the bed.
"Oh God no," he moaned, as she straddled him laughing, crouching to kiss him. He weakly feigned a struggle before submitting to her eager lips and fingers. "Fine, fine! Okay! I'll live with you. Just stop bugging me about it."
His joke was quickly swallowed by her as she worked to undo the progress he had made in dressing himself. She tasted her way up his chest until she reached his mouth. The friction of her clothed body against his made him shiver a bit. He ran his hands across her back, trying to manipulate the clasp of her bra open from his position over her shirt, but he couldn't find it. "I love you like this," he murmured. "When you are wanting me." She responded by sitting up and lifting her shirt over her head. Well there was the reason he couldn't get at her bra. She wasn't wearing one. He growled and used the strength of his arms to grab her and flip her down onto the bed, on her belly, delighting in her surprised gasp.
"Are you going to do this to me every day when we live together?" she asked him, half-smiling and half-serious.
"Twice." He began to stroke her bare back, trailing his fingers up and down her spine and sending thrills through her when they pushed up the back of her neck and into her hair. She relaxed under his gentle touch, until he slipped his hands to the sides of her breasts and made her squirm. She lifted her chest a bit, trying to give him better access, but for now he kept his touch more sensual than erotic. Brushing her hair aside, he pressed his mouth against her neck, shoulders, and then down the long column of her back until he reached the waistband of her pants.
"You say you love me, when I'm wanting you?" she asked breathily. "Then you must really be loving me right now." She arched her bottom into the air, encouraging him to reach underneath her to undo her pants. This time he complied with her wishes, needing very much to feel all of her bare skin against his.
Her clothes removed, he eased down on top of her, the front of his body sliding across the silky skin of her back, the evidence of his wanting of her rubbing firmly against her ass while she pressed upwards eagerly, vivified by his attentions. "Just in the interest of full disclosure, Temperance," he whispered into her ear, "our life together won't always be easy. We're both complicated people. But it will always be good. And always be worth it."
"I know," she moaned softly, tilting her hips, trying to get more of him against the place she needed him the most right now. She was so warm and responsive, and again he wondered at this change. The woman who so often displayed to the world a carapace of coolness and reserve was, underneath, was the most passionate person he had ever met. In more ways than one. He would have been happy to take her like this, but he wanted badly to see her, look into her eyes, so he gently moved off of her and rolled her over. Her body was irresistible to him, so he took a moment to kiss her all over, moving downwards to inhale the sweet scent of her sex. The tip of his tongue traced her most intimate areas, around her inner lips and up to manipulate her clit from side to side, never quite giving her the direct contact that she was breathlessly begging for. He kept up his teasing until he heard his name repeated again and again, and her words of love.
"What do you want, baby?" he asked her, by now knowing the answer.
"You," she cried out. "Only you." He recognized the truth in her words, and moved up her body to capture her eyes, then her lips, with his own.
"I am so glad that we began this," he said, his words becoming strained as the length of him slipped inside her, the feeling familiar and brand new all at the same time. He shuddered slightly, both at the pleasure he was now experiencing, and in anticipation of all the things to come.
She moved with him, with abandon, giving herself over to what they were together. Yes, it was time to move on, move forward, knowing that whatever came next would be just as exciting and scary and wonderful as the past several months had been.
All he had wanted was a moment of honesty from her. All she had wanted was to be able to give him this. And once she did…that moment had changed their lives. And now, they would continue to change, together.
A/N: And so…one chapter ends. The story was my first baby…and now my baby's growing up. What a feeling.
One more time: Thank you to those who have read this story, and special thanks to those who took the time out of their busy lives to communicate with me in support of this effort. I hope that I have personally responded to all of you—if I have not, it was an oversight, and know that every comment and thought was treasured. I so enjoyed the discourse with you all, and the friends I've made with other readers and writers.
Please do be on the lookout for the sequel to this story, coming soon. Let's take another ride together, shall we? Because the first was so much fun…