CHAPTER 13

THIS IS IT: THE FINAL CHAPTER!

And I have to say thank you all for the wonderful reviews! And to BlueTigress…you are psychic!

Only a few crumbs remained. Both mugs were drained and Booth and Brennan sat slightly slumped in their chairs.

"I am not eating anything for a week," Booth said as he leaned back, a strained look on his face.

"That's not very rational," Brennan replied, simply.

"Bones, I don't literally mean that I'm not going to eat-" he stopped talking as he saw a grin spread across his partner's face. The furrow in his brow deepened and he nearly rolled his eyes. "You're funny…so funny."

Brennan leaned in over the table. "Thank you," she replied, smiling smugly.

"You two need anything else?" the waitress asked.

"Just a check," Booth replied.

"Here ya go. You pay up front," she replied, setting the piece of paper down and disappearing again.

They reached for it at the same time.

"Ah, ah, ah. I invited you. This is my treat," Booth said as he picked up her hand and returned it to her side of the table.

"Booth, I can pay for-"

"Bones…my treat. Just let this one go," Booth told her as he reached into his pocket for his wallet.

Brennan didn't push it. "Thank you," she replied.

"You're welcome, Bones," Booth said, smiling sweetly and surprised that she had given in that easily.

"I had a good time tonight, Booth," Brennan said suddenly, her smile soft and her eyes glistening.

Booth smiled back. "I'm glad, Bones. I did, too," he replied.

They continued to smile at each other for a few long moments until Brennan broke the gaze.

"You ready to go?" she asked.

Booth leaned back. "Yeah. It's getting late," Booth replied, standing from his chair.

"It's only 9," Brennan replied matter-of-factly as she stood as well.

Booth paused before responding as it had simply been something to say to ease the tension in the air.

"Yeah, well, I'm tired," Booth retorted.

He strode past Brennan and to the cashier and she followed, shrugging off his last couple of comments.

He handed the bill and a credit card to the cashier.

"How was everything?" the woman asked.

"Fine, thank you," Booth replied.

"Your cinnamon rolls are fantastic," Brennan informed the cashier.

"Thanks. We make them right here," the cashier replied, smiling a little too cheerily as she handed Booth his credit card and receipt. He stared down at the piece of paper for a moment, calculating the tip in his head.

Brennan watched him. Glancing down at the receipt, she stepped forward and leaned in towards his ear. "$3.50," she told him.

"Hey, I know how to calculate a tip, okay?" Booth replied, defensively.

"Okay. It just seemed like you were taking a while," Brennan responded. She took a step to his left side and waited as he signed the slip of paper and handed it to the cashier.

She took it with a smile and as he gave her the pen, her smile widened. "Aw, look, you two are under the mistletoe," she said with a gooey whine in her voice.

Booth and Brennan looked above their heads in perfect unison. And then their gazes fell upon each other. Booth smiled weakly while Brennan pursed her lips and glanced down at the floor.

"You know, each couple that kisses under the mistletoe gets a free pastry. And you get a complimentary picture to take home," the cashier said, joyfully as she pulled out a Polaroid camera.

"Christmas is over," Brennan pointed out.

"It runs 'til the 5th," the cashier replied, still beaming.

Booth smiled crookedly again, at a loss for words and what to do. Brennan glanced sideways at him and then she smiled, looking back to the cashier.

"Can we get a cinnamon roll?" Brennan asked, sounding quite sincere. Booth's face wrinkled as he tried to comprehend his partner's last words.

"Absolutely," the cashier replied.

Brennan paused for a moment before looking to Booth, whose face was blanketed with confusion. And after another second, Brennan leaned in, grabbed Booth's shoulders and kissed him. Booth didn't know what hit him. His initial reaction was to jump backwards, but her lips were so soft and electricity went surging through him and he kissed her back.

Brennan sunk into the kiss much more than she had thought she would and she did not want to move. It wasn't until a light flashed brightly that they broke the kiss…overall, a good 5 seconds.

"Awww…that was SO cute! Here's your picture. And I'll get your cinnamon roll," the cashier spoke up as she set the picture on the counter in front of them and then disappeared.

They gazed at each other for another few seconds before Brennan glanced away, nervously reaching for the picture.

"Hey, why do you get to keep the picture?" Booth asked, sounding quite disappointed.

"I'm not keeping it, I'm going to throw it away," Brennan replied.

"What? Why?" Booth asked, confused (and again, disappointed).

"Can you imagine if Angela got a hold of this? We'd never hear the end of it," Brennan replied as she grabbed the photo. It still hadn't developed quite yet.

"Yeah, but-" Booth began, but was unable to finish.

"Here you go! Would you like this for here or to go?" the cashier asked.

"To go," Brennan replied quickly.

The cashier placed the cinnamon roll in a bag as Booth stood there, speechless and extremely confused about what had just happened.

"Have a good night!" the cashier added, beaming at both of them.

"Thank you," Brennan replied as she grabbed the bag and started for the door.

It wasn't until the bell jingled that Booth realized she was leaving. "Wait, Bones…hey!" he shouted after her as he jogged to keep up.

Brennan continued to smile to herself as Booth chased after her.

"Bones…wait. What was that about? You made ME promise not to kiss YOU and now you're the one doing the kissing?" Booth asked as he caught up to her and spun her around gently by the arm.

Brennan smirked slightly. "What? I wanted a cinnamon roll," Brennan informed him, turning to begin walking.

His hand stopped her. "You 'wanted a cinnamon roll?' Are you kidding?" Booth asked, still in a state of bewilderment.

"Yeah, that was the best one I've ever had," Brennan replied, nonchalantly.

Booth paused for a few moments as he saw the look of mischievousness in his partner's eyes. She had pulled off a stunt…at his expense. The fog in his brain cleared as Brennan continued to smile that smile and he could see that she was trying to keep from laughing.

He smiled…a near charm smile. "The cinnamon roll or the kiss?" he asked, beaming.

Brennan rolled her eyes. "Very funny."

"What, are you leaving? Because I distinctly remember the cashier saying that each 'couple' gets a pastry. So, technically, half of that is mine," Booth said, making air quotes on "couple" and pointing to the bag.

"Well, we are not a couple, so therefore, it does not apply," Brennan replied.

"Then, what you just did in there was…lie…and steal," Booth said, glancing up and then back at Brennan as though he were thinking really hard about this. And then he smirked at her.

Brennan opened her mouth to protest, but nothing came out at first. "I…did not…lie. I just wanted a cinnamon roll," she finally managed to sputter, a hint of a whine in her voice.

"You so did lie. We're not a couple and you let that poor, sweet girl believe that we were so you could get a free cinnamon roll. That's just not right, Bones," Booth informed her, shaking his head in mock disapproval.

"I didn't lead her to believe anything. She already thought we were a couple, I just went along with it-"

"Because you wanted a cinnamon roll," Booth interrupted, smiling and snickering.

Brennan groaned. "You really are annoying sometimes, do you know that?" she retorted, a defiant look on her face.

"Ooo, am I getting to you? Huh? I am, aren't I?" Booth teased and prodded.

"Good night, Booth," Brennan said as she turned again to leave.

Booth reached forward and grabbed the bag from her hands.

"Booth! That's mine!" Brennan yelled…whined as she tried to snatch it out of his hands.

Booth raised the bag in the air above his head as Brennan tried again to retrieve it. But she couldn't reach.

"Come on, Bones, let me have half," Booth said, stretching up taller as Brennan got closer on the next swipe. He had apparently underestimated her height.

"Now you really are channeling your son," Brennan replied, glaring at him with her jaw set and her eyes piercing.

"Hey, don't put Parker in the middle of this. I'm a lot taller than you so you're gonna have to try harder than that. Come on, Bones, put some heart into it," Booth teased.

"You're only 3 inches taller and I'm wearing 2 inch heels," Brennan replied with a "so there" look on her face.

"You're 5'9"? Wow, didn't realize that," Booth said, sincerely.

Brennan flung her hand in the air again, desperately trying to grasp onto the bag, but Booth jumped and spun away, laughing.

"Seriously, this is ridiculous, Booth," Brennan stated, planting her feet firmly on the ground and folding her arms across her chest.

He stopped jumping around, but he continued to hold the bag in the air.

"Okay, fine, you can have the cinnamon roll," he said as he lowered his arm.

Brennan reached forward to take the bag and he pulled his arm away.

"Booth!"

"But you have to pay for it," Booth replied, smiling smugly at her.

Brennan rolled her eyes again. "Fine. I will go back in there and tell the cashier that we are not a couple and I will pay for the cinnamon roll. Happy?" Brennan responded as she started to walk back to the door.

"No, Bones. I didn't mean that. I meant…" he raised his finger in the air between them and then pointed at her, "…you have to kiss me for it," he said, smiling mischievously at her.

Brennan's face scrunched. "What? Are you kidding?" she asked, still unable to believe they were still discussing kissing over a cinnamon roll.

"I kissed you twice. You kiss me for it and we'll call it even," Booth replied, shrugging. "It's the only rational scenario," he added, smirking.

"That's not fair. You can't use rationale like that," Brennan replied.

"Okay, fine. You don't want it? Good night then, Bones. Talk to you tomorrow?" Booth shot back as he started to turn away. He knew she couldn't give up a fight like this. She was far too stubborn for that.

Brennan sighed. "Fine, Booth," Brennan said, throwing her hands in the air in defeat.

Booth smiled, thrilled with himself for turning this back around.

Brennan walked the few steps to him and after rolling her eyes, she rose onto her tiptoes and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

"There. Now can I have it?" she asked, her eyes wide.

"Oh, come on. That barely counts for half of the gooey goodness," Booth replied.

"I don't even believe this," Brennan said barely above a whisper as she looked up at the sky and shook her head.

"Lips…or no cinnamon roll," Booth re-negotiated the deal, the smile never leaving his face.

Brennan sighed yet again and stepped towards him. "You really are…annoying," Brennan said for the second time. She took a deep breath and stood only inches from him. She didn't look into his eyes, but she closed hers and reached up to meet his lips. She intended for the kiss to only last a couple of seconds, just long enough to satisfy Booth so she could get her cinnamon roll…but that plan went right out the window the instant their lips connected. He made her so warm and she felt just like she had inside the coffee shop and once again, she did not want to move. It was cold outside, but she didn't feel it as she brushed her lips against his.

Maybe Angela was right, maybe there truly was something more to their relationship. But wait, that couldn't be. No, they were just partners. You'll get hurt And she began to pull back, breaking the kiss.

A tear threatened to escape and she opened her eyes, glancing nervously away. She faked a smile and seized the bag before Booth could even react.

He saw the fear and uncertainty in her eyes…but he had also felt the kiss and he knew right then and there that she wanted him too. New Year's excuse and getting her to shut up weren't reasons that were going to work any more. No way.

"There. I kissed you. So…I guess I'll go. Good night," she sputtered awkwardly, not meeting his gaze once.

This was it. He could let her go or he could show her, really show her how he felt. He had been holding back the last few kisses because he hadn't wanted to scare her. But maybe, just maybe, if she felt all he had to give, she would be convinced.

As she began to turn away, Booth pulled her back and crashed his lips against hers.

She started to pull away, but then he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, warming her to the soul. He did not let go.

The bag dropped with a thud from her grasp as her right hand found its way to the base of his neck. Rationale, reasoning, crossing the line…it all disappeared. She could feel him holding her and she knew, she truly knew that he would never ever let go…and she continued to kiss him. She didn't hold back and neither did he. And so they stood for a few minutes, entwined in each other's arms.

It wasn't until they heard a whistle coming from a passing car that they broke apart.

Brennan was breathless. A tear streamed down her cheek.

"Why did you kiss me again?" Brennan asked, trying to mask her blatant state of bliss.

"Come on, Bones. You know you're smarter than that…you know the answer," Booth replied, smiling softly.

Brennan gazed at him, unable to tear her eyes away as another tear spilled out.

"Are you okay?" Booth asked, gently and sincerely.

"Yes, I'm fine," she whispered.

"Bones, look. I'm sorry if…I just-" Booth tried to explain.

"You don't have to be sorry, Booth," Brennan replied, a soft smile forming across her lips.

Booth's brow creased. "Really?" he asked, searching her eyes for what she might be thinking.

"Really," she said, sincerely as she continued to gaze into his eyes. She felt something. Angela had told her that if she felt something, she shouldn't push it away. She had felt it on New Year's and she had felt it in the coffee shop…but she had pushed it away. Now, she wasn't and it was amazing. Why do I feel like this? She couldn't help but question it…because she had never felt like this before.

"I didn't want to…scare you…or anything like that," Booth said slowly as he held her gaze. Her blue-green eyes were sparkling and it warmed his heart. He was still holding her close, his arms wrapped around her.

"You didn't scare me, Booth. I just…well…you know how I am," Brennan replied as she sighed.

Booth's smile widened. "Yes…yes, I do," he replied.

Brennan tilted her head as a smile played across her lips. The moments passed as they stood there, not uttering a word because truthfully, no words were needed.

Brennan stared intensely at him through a very soft smile. But somewhere, deep down, a horrible feeling lingered and she worried that he would leave her or that somehow, some way, he would be taken away from her. She couldn't live with that and suddenly, the walls started to go up again. Her smile began to fade and concern blanketed her face.

Booth saw it in her eyes. He knew. "Bones…I'm not going to hurt you and I will never, ever leave you," he said softly as he brushed a tear from her cheek. "That…is my word. Do you trust me?" Booth asked.

Brennan looked deep into his warm brown eyes and the soft, sweet smile returned to her lips. And she realized everything Angela had said was completely and absolutely true.

"Yes," she replied, very simply, but her eyes said it all.

And Booth knew that he was hers.

He smiled sweetly, tilting her head ever so slightly as he stroked her chin. And he leaned in and kissed her softly one more time, just a quick brush of the lips. He then reached down and grabbed the bag, waving it in the air.

"You still want this? 'Cause it's definitely yours now. You paid the price plus tip," he said, grinning like a little boy.

Brennan chuckled and took the bag from him.

"Only if we take it to your place and heat it up. It's no good cold," Brennan replied, unable to remove the grin from her own face.

Booth eyed her through a squint, his stomach doing somersaults at the thought of what might be in their near future.

"I'm freezing, Booth. Let's go. You drive," she said, nearly demanded, as she brushed past him and towards his car.

He remained in his spot for a few seconds, relishing the moment. He finally turned to the car and jumped in with Brennan in the passenger seat.

They looked to each other, each wearing a soft smile and they stayed that way until Booth broke the gaze.

"So, can I see the picture?" he inquired, raising his eyebrows.

Brennan narrowed her eyes. "No," she replied, smirking.

"What? Why not?" Booth whined.

"I told you. We have to throw it away," Brennan replied.

"Aw, come on. Let me at least see it first," Booth pleaded as he backed out of the parking space.

"No, Booth," Brennan replied.

"Bones, come on! I wanna see what we look like kissing," he insisted.

"Why?" she asked.

"Because…it's probably hot," he said as he snickered.

Brennan smacked him in the shoulder.

"Ow!" he groaned.

"Just drive…" she instructed and then after a mischievous grin, she added, "I'll show you it later…if you're good."

"Oh, if I'm good. What is that supposed to mean?" Booth asked, his face scrunched.

And they continued to bicker, back to their old ways as they headed for Booth's apartment and to a whole new world.