A/N: All things must come to an end…and this story has reached that point. Thanks for sticking with it. Your reviews and comments have been greatly appreciated. Also, to A for...well, too many things to list here...Anyhow...hope it was worth the wait...
She was sprawled across the bed, a navy sheet draped over her lower back and from which her right leg poked out as it hung over the edge. Her head was burrowed into the pillow as she instinctively sought to hide from the sunlight slipping through the curtains. Standing clad only in black boxer briefs, he couldn't take his eyes off her. Despite how they had spent the night, he was still in shock that she was actually in his bed. Part of him had expected to either wake up and discover it had been a very explicit dream or find that she had snuck out in the dead of the night. It had taken him a moment to process her presence when he awoke before his alarm and then a wave of satisfaction washed over him. He had quietly slipped from bed and made his way to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. After taking a quick inventory of his cupboards and setting out a mug for her, he pulled out a bag from the Folger's and withdrew a small card. After scrawling a brief note, he propped it up next to the mug and headed back to the bedroom to wake her. The sight of her in his bed stopped him in his tracks. She was a vision as the sunlight caressed her body with its rays.
If the shrill sound of his alarm hadn't woken her, he wasn't sure he would have had the heart to wake her himself. His lips curled in a smile as she blindly flailed in vain looking for the alarm. Taking pity on her he moved to the side of the bed and turned off the annoying clock. Her confusion was evident; she knew she hadn't shut off the clock. He watched her tense slightly as the realization that she wasn't alone dawned on her. He lowered himself onto the side of the bed and brushed a few errant strands of her hair behind her ear. Her eyes opened and met his. Her automatic smile upon seeing him relieved him more than any words she might have said. Leaning down he pressed a soft kiss to her lips. "Morning."
She instinctively reached down and pulled the sheet up. Turning to lay on her back she leaned back on the pillow and looked up at Booth. "Morning." Running a hand through her hair, she was stuck by how natural it felt to wake up and see him smiling down at her. She wasn't self-conscious in the least. He knew her so well already and last night had been like the final layer being peeled back. She had expected to feel vulnerable and exposed now that they had crossed that imaginary line in the sand, but instead she felt a sense of connection and well-being. She trusted him more than she had ever trusted anyone else. He had proved himself time and again to her. Last night as they came together, he had put her needs first, just as he always did. Now looking up into his dark brown eyes, she saw a wealth of emotion radiating from them. In the past, she would have ignored what she saw there, but she found she couldn't. Reaching out a hand she gently cupped his cheek.
He brought his hand up to hers and pulled it to his lips and pressed a kiss into her open palm. He felt an overwhelming need to tell her what she meant to him, but at the same time, he wasn't sure she was ready to hear the words or even if he had the right words to make her really hear him. He slid down the bed and pulled her body flush with his so that his lips were even with her ear. It was easier to say what he had to say without having to see her reaction. She started to turn to face him, but he held her in place. She realized his intent and waited. "Bones, I…I know you don't buy into the whole concept of love and that's fine. You don't have to. If chalking this up to some biological reaction helps you sleep at night, that's fine, too. I don't care what we call this, just so long as you realize that there's no going back. You're mine now. And before you get all hacked about my caveman mentality, you should know the opposite is true, too." He turned her head towards him with a light touch of his thumb under her chin so that their eyes met. "You're stuck with me, ok?"
"Hmm…" She pretended to ponder his question. His eyes bored into her while he waited for her response. After what seemed like an endless moment to Booth, she answered, "I guess I can live with that." He nodded at her words. It wasn't a declaration of love, but it was enough for him. She might never accept or say the words, but as long as she was by his side, he didn't care. What they shared didn't need a label.
He propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at her. Cocking an eyebrow at her, he asked, "Want to play hooky, Bones?"
"Trying to corrupt me already, Booth?"
"With any luck." His quick retort was accompanied by his patented smile.
Shaking her head in amusement, she responded, "As tempting an offer as that is, we both have a lot of work to do." Her words dimmed his smile as he felt the real world intrude on them. Brennan saw this and felt the uncharacteristic need to reassure him that she had no regrets. "I'll make it up to you tonight." She leaned up and pressed a hot kiss to his lips that left them both breathless.
When he had recovered his senses, he said, "Promises, promises." Before she could respond, he hoisted himself off the bed and headed toward the bathroom. "I'm going to grab a quick shower. There's coffee in kitchen." Brennan watched him leave admiring his sculpted physique. She was assailed by memories of their night together. She had always enjoyed sex, but even she was willing to admit that last night had been about more than satisfying physical urges. It had been intense and like nothing she had ever experienced before. As he had deduced, the scientist in her wanted to chalk it up to extreme sexual compatibility, but the woman her in was willing to admit that it meant more because he knew her intimately---emotionally and, now, physically. She appreciated that he didn't press her to define their relationship---it was enough that they were together.
She heard the shower turn on, so she slipped from under the sheet and grabbed his discarded dress shirt. Feeling slightly decadent as his unique scent enveloped her, she fastened a few buttons and headed into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee. Walking into the kitchen, she saw the mug sitting next to a freshly brewed pot of coffee as well as the card Booth had left. She poured herself a cup of coffee before picking up the note card. The light green cardstock was embossed with Shakespeare's Sonnet 116. She scanned the familiar words. He'd underlined "it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken". Turning the card over she saw his familiar handwriting. He had written:
Bones…Knowing how you feel about the guy, I figured it'd be alright to steal his words to let you know how I feel about you…To connecting and top ten lists…Booth
Leaning against the counter sipping her coffee, she traced the words with her fingertip. There was no hiding from what he felt and she found she didn't want to. It was after all Booth. He seemed to transcend all of her fears and issues that stemmed from her parents' abandonment. Without realizing it, she had tethered herself to him but rather than feeling confined, she felt lighter and freer than she ever had before. For so long she had hidden from the possibility that there could be more between them. Now she wondered why it had taken them so long. However, she conceded to herself that had they acted immediately on the attraction between them, she probably wouldn't be standing in his kitchen. She would have slunk off in the middle of the night having satisfied her physical desire for him. But with Booth it was different---more. Leaving in the middle of the night would have been a betrayal of all that had brought them to this moment in time. She knew he didn't expect her to change for him and maybe because of the lack of pressure from him to conform to some ideal, she was willing to reconsider some of her long held beliefs.
From the start he had been showing her through his actions, lessons, and steady presence that she could count on him. Now, with the Bard's words he was telling her everything he thought she didn't want to hear from him. By offering written words, he was giving her the opportunity to process and form a coherent response without him hovering. It was yet another thoughtful act that put her first without regard for his own feelings. Brennan knew it was time for her to step up and meet him halfway. Taking a deep breath, she walked over to her bag and unzipped the inner pocket and pulled out a small paper folded into eighths. She quickly unfolded the paper and added two words before refolding it. Folded paper in one hand and Booth's card in the other, she walked back to his bedroom, where he was just finishing getting dressed.
He smiled sheepishly as she caught him examining his reflection in the mirror. "I know. I'm vain, but it's kind of endearing, right?" His tone was light, but when she only smiled absently, he quickly moved towards her and then he saw what she was holding. He stopped a few feet short of her. Running a hand through his damp hair, he said, "I just wanted you to know. That's all. No response required."
"Booth, you're wrong." His eyes communicated his unspoken question about what exactly he was wrong about. "A response is required. I don't know why you keep giving me a free pass, but you deserve more…"
Before she could continue, he interrupted. "I don't want more. I just want you. End of story."
"If you'd just let me finish…" She waited a moment to see if he was going to interrupt once more. When he remained silent, she continued, "I want you, too." His eyes lit up at her words, but he wisely said nothing. "I told you before that I'm not very good at this, but my mother used to say that if you didn't write it down, it didn't happen. And then you did this." She held up the green note card. "So it only seems fair to give you this." She held up the folded paper in her other hand. As though removed from his body, he watched her place the paper in his outstretched hand. His fingers closed automatically around the folded sheet. "Remember when we were trying to decide what to do about this?" She gestured to the space between them. "Well, I really did make notes…" They both glanced down at his closed fist. Not meeting his eyes, she said quickly, "I'm going to take a shower."
Before he could respond, she pulled the door closed behind her. His eyed the closed door before turning his attention to the folded piece of paper in his hand. He remembered sitting in the restaurant when she pulled out the paper. Then he had been worried that its contents had the power to keep them apart. Now he wasn't sure what to expect. The fact that it was Brennan meant that just about anything could be written on the paper. Deciding to bite the proverbial bullet, he unfolded the paper. There were only a few lines. Apparently, she hadn't needed that much convincing. Her words were written clearly without any hesitation. In clear black ink was written:
If anyone can make me believe in love, it's him.
If anyone can make me believe in forever, it's him.
If anyone is worth the risk, it's Booth.
Underneath, in blue ink---like they were added as an afterthought---were the words:
Booth gripped the paper tightly, unable to wrap his head around the words on the paper. He automatically glanced at towards the bathroom door and found her watching him from the doorframe instead of showering. His first instinct was to crush her to him and keep her there---forever. Instead, he refolded the paper and placed it on his bureau next to a picture of Parker. She continued to watch him, wearing only his shirt. He was pretty sure he had never seen a more enthralling sight. It topped even the one from earlier this morning that was burned in his brain---her in his bed. The woman he loved and who loved him in return was waiting for him. He closed the distance between them. She didn't retreat, just as he knew she wouldn't. Smiling, he jokingly said, "Bones believes. Who knew?"
Taking him literally as she was prone to do, she answered, "You did. You knew from the beginning."
"It's true. I'm smarter than I look."
"Thankfully." With an amused smirk, he pulled her to him and they lost themselves in each other.