Author's note: Another cute lil' something to tie you guys over until I post either the next chapter of Dying to Catch My Breath or a new one-shot. This time it's an entry for the challenge I issued about two weeks ago -- the birthday challenge. Thanks Jemb for checking my grammar/spelling!
High in the Sky
A muffled curse rang through her office as Brennan's foot roughly came in contact with one of the legs of her desk. Muttering something about wishing the seven plagues to hunt him down, Brennan rubbed the sore spot and aimed her glare at where she suspected Booth to be. The blindfold he had forced on her minutes ago was making it impossible for her to see where he was. Same went for everything else in her office. She thought she knew her office better---or at least could figure out where the heck her desk was---after all her time at the Jeffersonian. Apparently, judging from the stinging pain in her ankle, she had been wrong.
Chuckling because of her kicking the desk, Booth grabbed her wrist and safely guided her around the table. "Come on, Bones. Let's get going. I wouldn't want to be late for your surprise."
"Surprise, surprise," Brennan scoffed. "For all I care you can shove your surprise up your..."
"Bones!" He lifted her blindfold a bit up to look her in the eye. "You have been cursing me non-stop for the last five minutes. If you keep this up, you can forget about that birthday present."
Brennan crossed her arms and gave him a pointed look. "I just don't understand the benefit of blindfolding me at the lab."
"It's part of the surprise," Booth answered, looking pointedly at her himself. With a snap he let go of the blindfold. "Now shut up and let me lead."
She had no choice, but to trust him as her world was plunged into darkness again. With his hands firmly gripping and guiding her hips, and her hands stuck strangely in front of her, Brennan left the safety of her office and crossed the lab. The word "stupid" didn't even begin to cover how she was feeling. Today was her birthday and to her great dismay Booth had barged into her office to whisk her away because of it. Last year he had gotten her some nice little trinket, just like all of her friends. Why he hadn't bought her something similar this year was beyond her comprehension. For some odd reason he wanted to prove he could do better and could get her something---and she quoted---"awesome to the power of ten". Worst thing was that everyone was in on Booth's big surprise. The image of her colleagues smiling at her as Booth covered her eyes with the blindfold danced around in her mind as she was led across the parking lot. Securely strapped in minutes later, Brennan folded her hands in her lap and patiently waited until Booth had gotten into the car as well and turned the ignition key.
When she opened her mouth, Booth shushed her immediately. "Not one single question, Bones. I don't want to hear the smallest peep out of you before I say you can take your blindfold off." He shifted from neutral to first gear and added, "Now sit back and enjoy the ride."
"I'd be able to enjoy it if I could actually see a damn thing," she muttered as she felt Booth's glare being turned in her direction. Holding her hands up in surrender, she sat back in her chair. "Fine. I'll keep my mouth shut."
"Thank you," Booth said relieved before speeding away.
For the next half hour Brennan listened to Booth humming along to the radio while tapping away on the steering wheel. Since her sight had been taken away, she could easily feel all the holes and bumps in the road. The engine was roaring loudly, meaning they were driving at great speed. She suspected them to be on the highway leading away from Washington D.C. and to an unknown destination. Fifteen minutes later---after Booth had repeatedly slapped her hands because she kept trying to switch radio stations---they seemed to leave the highway. Soon thereafter the car came to a stop. Still humming softly Booth killed the engine, got out, and opened the door on her side to help her out. Brennan was surprised to feel grass under her feet instead of asphalt. Where the hell were they?
With a firm grip on her upper arm, Booth led her across a field. Brennan quirked her eyebrows when she heard him ask if everything was alright. She was about to respond when an unfamiliar voice sounded nearby. "Everything's good to go, Booth. George is waiting for you. He'll stick with you so you won't have to worry about a thing up there."
Up there? What did he mean with "up there"? Dozens of possible birthday presents, each one crazier than the last one, involving things that had something to do with "up there" ran through her head until Booth pulled her blindfold off. What she found in front of her was better than a rock climbing trip to enjoy the view on top. It was even better than the sky diving experience she had suspected him to drag her to. With raised eyebrows and her voice full of wonder, she turned and exclaimed, "Hot air balloons?"
He pocketed his thumbs and nodded curtly. "Hot air balloons." Then his entire appearance changed to the one of an excited young kid dying to show his parents a new toy at the toy shop. Without further ado he ushered her over to the large red hot air balloon waiting for them in the middle of the field. Once they were both in the basket together with the man Brennan assumed was George, the balloon rose into the air lifting them high above the grass field. Brennan squeezed the side of the basket harder the further they moved away from the ground. They were floating up high---it was normal for this to be a tad unnerving, she told herself. At the same time she marveled at the beauty of the landscape beneath them. She never thought it would look so peaceful.
Booth put his hands next to hers and playfully nudged her. "Good or bad surprise?"
"Booth, this is...stunning." She shook her head before glancing at him. "Where did you get the idea?"
"Well, Bones..." He tentatively put his arm around her shoulders and pointed at D.C. lying a bit further along hundreds of feet beneath them. "With all that's been going down in your life lately...Death and remains and the whole shebang...I figured you needed a different point of view." Upon seeing Brennan's eyebrows raised again, he shrugged. "You need to unwind, Bones. You just need to lay back and enjoy life for a second. Knowing you, you can't do that when you've got paperwork to finish, remains to identify, and a book to write. In other words, you can't relax down there." To emphasize his point, he pointed down with the hand that was lying over her shoulder. "So I decided to bring you," he straightened up and stretched his arms out, "up here. Far away from all that unimportant stuff that keeps that pretty little head of yours occupied."
"Identifying murder victims isn't unimportant," Brennan replied matter-of-factly. Booth dropped his arms and heaved out a sigh. This was harder than he had anticipated. Why couldn't she just accept his gift? "But I appreciate the effort." He cheered up instantly.
"I knew you would, Bones...eventually," Booth couldn't help but add. Brennan rolled her eyes as she shoved her elbow in his side. Booth's smile didn't fade though. Mockingly rubbing his ribs, he asked, "Is that how you're going to thank me? Geez, if I had known I would've bought you a scented candle or something. Maybe then I wouldn't have a broken rib!"
She folded her arms and stared over the edge of the basket as she mumbled, "Your ribs are just fine." Then she looked up again, a hint of a smile dancing around her lips. "Thank you, Booth. No-one's ever gotten me a balloon ride for my birthday before."
"That's because you haven't met anyone as smart, and caring, and hot, and...Well, you know...You just haven't met anyone like me before."
Now it was Brennan's turn to mock. "Cam's right. You've got an ego the size of the Atlantic Ocean."
"Could be, but that ego has brought you up here. You can't say that of all your modest friends down there."
Brennan didn't answer. All she did was smile broadly before going back to staring down at miniature D.C. Booth shook his head and placed himself close to her, content on watching life unfold beneath them and happy because he had given his partner something special for her birthday.