Brennan watched the family saying goodbye though the living room blinds, thinking about how odd it was that she was so much more connected to two of them now than she was a mere 48 hours beforehand. Funny how quickly things could change, when given a chance. Booth and Rebecca were talking animatedly about something. Hopefully not about her, and her last-minute intrusion to the Booth boys' Christmas festivities. Rebecca didn't seem angry though, either in the apartment with them, or now, while Brennan observed from the window. Booth pulled his ex into a goodbye hug, and Brennan fought back a twinge of some primitive, possessive urge… "Mine. Don't touch." Slightly embarrassed at herself, she let go of the blinds and left the family to part in privacy. She didn't like it when people treated her like property, and she certainly wasn't about to give into irrational jealousy now.

She turned back to the scene in the room. The lights on the Christmas tree were still twinkling merrily, but there was only one more present left beneath them. To Temperance Brennan, even that lone, wrapped box looked ostentatious after all the gifts they had received today. She began to pick up the remnants that remained on the floor—a few boxes and bags, tiny pieces of ribbon that Parker had missed, and the Santa hat that Booth had placed on his son's head when he first began to open his presents. It had made for a single cute picture before it fell off and remained on the floor in the excitement of the ripping and tearing. Now, she gingerly picked it up. Had there been a time when she believed in Santa? Yes. It was a long time ago. But she remembered. She pulled the hat over the auburn waves of her hair, and stared at the whimsical reflection of herself in the living room mirror. A small laugh escaped her. It looked so silly on her, a full-grown woman. But she looked happy.

"It's a good look for you." She hadn't heard Booth come back in from outside, and she turned around slowly at the sound of his voice, still smiling, and regarded him from the other side of the room.

"I'm not sure. I don't think it goes with the outfit." She gestured to the oversized, mismatched ensemble that she had chosen from Booth's extensive wardrobe.

"It doesn't. Not at all. But still…a good look for you." He was smiling, too. But looking at her with that adoring gaze that practically turned her to jelly. It disconcerted her a little. How could she change that adoration into desire?

"Does this help?" With a small tug, the tie that was holding Booth's pants around her slim waist came undone. She barely had to push before the soft material fell down around her hips and to the floor, where she stepped out of them. She watched his eyes run over every inch of her now-bare legs, which made her smile in satisfaction.

"Yes." Was that a tremble she heard in his voice? "Better."

"I think so, too," she whispered. Trusting that her rapidly rising internal temperature woud take care of the slight chill in the room, she took hold of the hem of the shirt, the one he would never again wear without thinking of her. "Probably…better without this, too, right?" Slowly, she raised the shirt up, over her hips, belly, ribs…and then she paused. "Or not…?"

Now, he was fully engrossed in her impromptu little strip show. "Yes," he hissed. "You know…yes."

The hunger in his eyes made her feel a little guilty for teasing him. She lifted the shirt again, this time not stopping when the edge of it brushed against her nipples and up over her head, carefully stretching it to keep the most important part of this wardrobe in place. Dropping it aside, she stood before him in her silky red panties, trying not to buckle under the intensity of his stare. And that stare felt as palpable as any touch, raking over her body. She had the sense that the only reason he wasn't at her side touching her right now was because he hadn't decided exactly where to start yet…nonetheless, she had to fight the urge to go to him, make him touch her all the places she had exposed for him. "Booth…"

"The rest," he interrupted, his voice gravelly. She knew exactly what he meant, even though, unlike the rest of her clothes, her panties actually matched the hat she was wearing quite well. Hooking her fingers around them, she pulled them off, for the first time standing in front of Booth completely naked and vulnerable to his penetrating eyes in the broad daylight. His gaze ran up and down her, silently, until she literally wanted to scream. Finally, he spoke. "No fair."

It didn't sink in. "No fair?"

"No fair unwrapping my present for me."

She got it this time. "I might have unwrapped it. But you get to play with it."

A hint of a smile returned to his face. "You're cheesy."

"You love it." It felt good, having these inside jokes with him. Finding her confidence again, she turned on her heels for the bathroom, sure she would be as irresistible to follow as he had been into that infamous dark room on Halloween night.

She had been right. It took a few seconds to start the water and get the temperature adjusted to her liking. But when she straightened up and turned around, there he was, so close that she easily felt his body heat radiating from him. He wasn't touching her yet. But she could feel every inch of him.

"Bones," he breathed. "You have any idea how long I've waited to see you like this?" He looked her up and down, hungrily. "Fuck. You are perfect."

While she wasn't the type of woman to fish for compliments, she couldn't help loving the words coming out of his mouth. "Really?"

Her teasing wasn't lost on him. "You're trying to make me lose control, aren't you? You want me to throw you in that shower and fuck the living daylights out of you."

Maybe. "Maybe. But first—I want you to take off those clothes. So there is nothing standing between my mouth and every inch of your body." She had no idea where the words came from, but she knew she had said the right ones when her naked body was suddenly in his arms, his tongue dueling feverishly with hers while they made a joint effort to skin off his shirt and pants. The process might have gone faster if they were willing to part for a second. But it was too much to ask. Before she knew what was happening, warm water was cascading over both of their bare skin while their mouths worked unsuccessfully to lick off every drop before it fell from the bodies to the tub. And even though the thought seemed illogical even to her, she had serious concerns at this moment that she might drown in this man.


"Be good, Parker. Love you."

"I will, Daddy. I love you too."

Booth kissed his son's forehead quickly and slammed the door, turning to find Rebecca standing nearly on top of him. "Hi?" he asked warily.

"What did you do?"

"Excuse me?"

"She says she's not your girlfriend. That it's 'not like that,'" Rebecca air quoted. " I know you, Seeley, and your powers of persuasion are strong. What did you do?"

Exactly what he wanted to know. What had he done to deserve the feisty blonde who was currently breathing down his neck questioning his romance tactics? Whatever it was, it had obviously pissed somebody off.

"Beck, it's complicated. She's… different from anyone I've ever dated."

"Well that's probably a good thing. Look at how those relationships have gone," Rebecca teased.

"Always gotta be bustin' my chops, don'tcha Stinson?" he teased back.

"Wouldn't be me otherwise, Booth," she smiled gently.

"For some odd reason that I may never never understand," he paused to sigh dramatically and sling an arm around her shoulders, "I wouldn't have it any other way."

She smiled and waited, knowing there was more to come. Ideas of ways to explain it to her bounced around in his head, but none of them would even come close to making her understand what Temperance Brennan meant to him.

"Parker will always be my number one priority, you know that, right?" he asked.

Rebecca nodded. "Are you trying to change the subject?" she asked.

"No," he replied. "I just want you to know that even though there's this… thing with Bones… and I really want to see what the hell it is and where it goes, but no matter what, Parker's my number one."

"I'm sorry I'm such a pain about Parker sometimes," she mumbled. Seeley paused, giving her her turn to continue. "It's kinda my new year's resolution to make sure I make a conscious effort to give you enough time with him. You're a great father, Seeley. I don't give you enough credit for that. I, uh, I talked to Dr. Brennan while you were in Parker's room."

"Really?" Booth questioned, knowing he'd only overheard part of the conversation.

"I, um, I told her if you were going to have a girlfriend and that girlfriend was going to be around Parker, that I was glad it was her."

"Thanks, Becky," he replied. "I'm not sure she's my girlfriend, or if she'll even want to be… but it means a lot to me."

"Just because I can't run a background check on your dates, doesn't mean I don't care, Seeley," she said, only half-kidding.

Booth rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah."

"Make this work, Seeley. Don't let her run you off like I did."

Booth gathered Rebecca against him and squeezed her tightly. "Have fun in Vermont."

"We will. I'll call when we get back."

Booth opened her car door for her and shut it again once she was in, waving to Parker as they drove away. He stood and watched them for a moment, until they disappeared from sight. He turned and headed back for the apartment, glancing up at his window when his highly-trained ranger senses caught some movement there. Thinking he would see Bones looking out the window, he was surprised to see only the white blinds. Odd. Shaking off the strange feeling, he pulled open the door and took the stairs two at a time, hurrying to see the greatest Christmas gift that had ever been bestowed upon him. Not to mention unwrap her.

When he stepped through the door, he stopped and watched her silently for a moment. He wondered if she had any idea how beautiful she was. Did people ever see their true beauty? He knew he was a good looking guy, but the way he felt when he knew she was undressing him with her eyes… suffice to say it made him want to undress her. He smiled softly at the image she made standing between the tree and the fireplace, in his favorite tee shirt and his favorite pajama pants, Parker's Santa hat perched merrily over her tangled curls. Curls that had become tangled at his own hand. His fingers damn near itched with the desire to reach out and touch those curls again. He restrained himself and instead mentally told her how amazingly beautiful she was. Aloud he told her the Santa hat was a good look for her. She glanced at him in the mirror, a slow smile spreading across her face, one that he'd quickly learned meant he was in grave danger.

The moment she turned and her slender hands headed toward the drawstring on the pants, he knew he was right. She teased him and he teased right back, not even fifty percent sure of what he was saying, so shredded was his focus as her fingers played with the waistband of those damn pants. He sucked in a breath as she barely had to touch them to make them puddle at her feet. Damn. The pants had been cute, but her bare legs were a million times better. He told her so and she smiled. He almost felt rude, staring lecherously at her bare skin. His eyes tried to drink in every square inch, to burn it into his brain for the nights he knew they'd have to spend apart. The fantasies he created about her were nothing compared to the real thing. And he'd always prided himself on his active imagination.

She was saying something, but at the same time she was fingering the hem of the tee shirt she wore, and somehow the non-existent sound of her thumb and forefinger against the soft cotton was millions of decibels louder than her words. He stood there watching (slack-jawed he was sure), waiting, as the tee shirt slowly ascended her body. She paused right below her breasts and he knew she'd said something, and it was probably important, but fuck if he had heard her. He dragged his eyes from her beautifully sculpted hip bones and the deep crimson of her silky panties up to her blue eyes that he could swear were a little darker than they had been a second ago. "Or not?" she asked.

Or not what? Right now he wanted anything and everything in the whole world. He couldn't think of a single thing she could have possibly offered him that he would say no to at this point. So he didn't. He said yes. Over and over. At her slightly confused look, he reminded her that she already knew. She knew him. And again he breathed the single syllable. Yes.

She dragged the shirt off, being careful to keep the Santa hat in place, much to his delight. He gave in momentarily to a dirty fantasy of her being his own personal Mrs. Claus. The Santa hat. Maybe a cute little white apron? Definitely the red panties. And maybe a pair of thigh-high black leather boots. Yes. The perfect combination of naughty and nice. "The rest," he begged. Hoping she knew he meant the panties and not the hat, he held his breath. She hooked her thumbs in the glittery red strings over her hips and dragged the panties to her feet, letting them join the pants. His eyes followed them to the floor and then dragged slowly back up, pausing over the apex of her thighs before roving farther up, up, up, slowly, delighting in the look in her eye when he got there. Her tongue came out to lick her bottom lip and he wondered momentarily if she was as hot for him as he was for her right now.

"No fair," he said. She questioned him and he told her of her crime: unwrapping his gift for him. She smiled and teased him, and it made him happy to see her relax enough to do so. And play with her he would. She turned on her heels and if she didn't think he'd follow her any-fucking-where she was going, she was dead wrong. Back to bed? Fine by him. Up against the hall closet? Worked great. Bent over the desk in the office watching themselves in the hall mirror? Okey-doke. He stood frozen for a moment, wondering what she'd do. Instead of any of those options he was mentally offering her, she padded wordlessly into the bathroom. He stayed behind, trying to catch his breath for a nanosecond, until he heard the water in the shower kick on and it occurred to him that he was suddenly feeling very dirty. Must. Get. Clean.

He stepped into the room and shut the door, standing quietly behind her while she adjusted the water to her liking. She'd seemed slightly startled to find him right there, but he could tell she was drawn quickly back into the moment at his words of praise of her, her body, her beauty. She teased him again and he smiled at how quickly she was learning her own ability to bring him to his knees.

"You're trying to make me lose control, aren't you? You want me to throw you in that shower and fuck the living daylights out of you." He sure as hell hoped so, because if she didn't, he knew there was no way he could get the water cold enough to calm himself down. Thank God and Santa she acquiesced to his plea so he could finally pull her against him and kiss her like he'd wanted to since they'd been interrupted by Parker.

Once they managed to get him as naked as her (unfortunately, having to take off the hat as well…he mentally sighed at the sacrifice), he stepped into the tub, holding tightly to her hands as she stepped over the side, never once breaking the grip their lips had on each other. The steam was rising around them as they kissed and licked at each other and tried to catch their breath. He was so far beyond happy to have her in his arms like this that if by some strange chain of events he were to drown in this shower, he knew he'd have no thoughts in his head but these: what a way to go.


She had originally been a little disappointed at the two of them for abandoning their go-slow plan so easily. But now, with her bare breasts sliding against his wonderful chest in this wet paradise, she didn't know how they had even waited as long as they did. Her hands followed the trail of water down his back and to his ass, where she held on for dear life while he drank from the delicate skin between her throat and shoulder. Murmuring his name helplessly, she clung to him while his hands skimmed the wet planes of her body. "Booth."

"Huh." He was discovering that when he grabbed her ass like she was grabbing him, he could grind against her in a way that made both of them quiver. And he was taking full advantage of that knowledge.

"Get me clean fast. So we can do this the right way."

"This is the right way." He suddenly flipped her so she was facing away from him, pressing his hardened cock between the cheeks of her ass, his hands sliding up her to reach her breasts. He flicked the tips of her nipples, growling in satisfaction when they hardened for him and she thrust her chest into his willing fingers. "It's always going to be the right way." Nonetheless, he swiped the soap from its spot on the dish, quickly lathering up his hands before returning them to her body.

God, yes. The feeling of his soap-slippery hands sliding their way over her hips, against the creases of her thighs, pausing to cup her breasts fully this time before trailing over her shoulders and down her arms. His gentle touch was inflaming her; she wanted badly to grab his hands, make him be more forceful with her. But she knew that good things were coming. Her legs felt barely able to support her right now. "You are making me…" she gasped, unable to continue, sagging back against him.

"Crazy, I hope," he whispered in her ear, reaching her hands and sliding around her body again to run his fingers briefly over her sex. She jumped and moaned loudly, for the first time. His smile was felt against her skin. "Not quite a scream. But we'll get you there."

"You're setting the bar awfully high," she said weakly, but at the same time she had absolutely no doubts he would make that bar. Hell, she was already shaking with desire, seeming to feel every individual drop of water against her over-sensitized skin.

"I can go lower." His hand slipped fully now between her legs, letting his middle finger rest lightly between her swollen lower lips while the heel of his hand pressed against her clit, giving just a hint of friction there. Oh, the bastard. She writhed against his hand, trying to increase the contact. Wasn't he the one who threatened to toss her in the shower and fuck her silly? Why wasn't he doing it, then? This was torture. The best kind of torture, granted. But still. Her hand slapped wetly over his and her fingers pressed down, encouraging him to curl that strategically-placed middle finger right…yes. There. She had been empty for too many hours. "Three times," he said, his voice husky in her ear.

"What?" Why the hell was he talking in code when she could barely process the sound of her own name?

"This morning. Three more times. Once with my fingers. Once with my mouth. And once with my…"

And then she couldn't hear anymore because she was moaning too loudly, his fingers inside of her and around her touching her in all the right places, stroking her from the inside out and making her pump backwards desperately. Her wet hair was clinging to his chest while her head tipped back on his shoulder, begging him with her groans, please, make me feel like I did last night, like you always make me feel, but all at once… He was whispering encouraging words to her, words she couldn't hear over the cacophony of pleasure in her mind and body, but words that she loved anyway. She tightened around his fingers in preparation for her climax, and heard his groan in response. His excitement, in the face of hers, did it. With a series of whimpers, she came against his hand, jerking against it. He stroked her, prolonging the experience, telling her how hot it was when she came in arms.

It was awhile before she felt she could stand on her own again…her shuddering legs refused to take that burden for awhile. When the water grew lukewarm, she reluctantly disengaged herself from his arms, spun to face him again. Him, and that cocky smile, that ridiculously well-structured body that made her half-stupid whenever he displayed it for her. She pressed her lips to that smile and kissed him thoroughly until she had effectively made it disappear. "Thank you doesn't seem appropriate," she breathed against his mouth.

"There is nothing we are going to do today that's going to be appropriate," he promised her, smiling again until she took his aching cock into her hand and gave it a squeeze.

"Show me," she demanded. And the rest of the cleaning process was made very quick and efficient before they turned off the now-cold water and raced one another, dripping wet, to the bedroom.


Seeley was pretty impressed with his ability to make the good doctor lose her composure, not to mention her ability to speak. For some reason, as he raced her to the king-sized bed waiting for them, he remembered a survey the FBI had made all its agents take. One of the questions had to do with finding out if they were truly happy at work, and if the bureau gave agents the "opportunity to do what you do best every day." At the time he'd taken the survey, Seeley had felt that one of his greatest strengths was interrogation. He didn't get to do it every day, but often enough that he'd given that question an answer of 5; strongly agree. But now he wanted to change his mind. He excelled at making Temperance Brennan orgasm. And he certainly wasn't given the opportunity to do that at work every day.

"Would you get in here?" I'm freezing. And it's probably only going to get colder in here once the paint starts peeling off the walls," Brennan cajoled from the bed.

Seeley slid between the flannel sheets on his back and pulled her over him, wrapping the top sheet, blanket, and down comforter securely around them. "Better?" he asked.

"Much," she mumbled against his skin, kissing a path down his chest to his abs, and then she disappeared completely beneath the covers and he was feeling much warmer indeed. His breath hitched as he felt her soft breath tickling the skin of his thighs. He imagined it was a little bit like being blindfolded, since he had absolutely no idea what she was doing under there. And then, suddenly, he was made aware by her wet mouth. Holy… "Fuck, Bones," he breathed and heard (but more importantly, felt) her soft giggle from under the covers. He nestled deeper into the pile of pillows behind him, trying to relax and enjoy her slow torture. He'd had his fair share of fantasies about Temperance Brennan (hell, he'd just had the Santa hat fantasy an hour before) but none of them could compete with the real thing, which thrilled him and terrified him all at the same time. If she didn't answer the question he wanted to ask her the way he wanted her to answer it, the disappointment might be too much for him. And on top of that, the thought that it might drive her away from him…well, that thought was just too much to bear.

Soft suction from her mouth dragged him back to the present (he was amazed he was even still able to think) and he groaned loudly as he felt the tell-tale tingle in the base of his spine. One hand fisted in the covers as she ran her hot little tongue up and down his aching shaft, stopping to twirl around the head… and back in her mouth he went. How was she not suffocating? He wasn't even under the covers and he could barely breathe. The tension built further as she slowly pulled him to the brink of insanity. The hand that wasn't fisted in the covers stroked lovingly over her wet hair, not pushing, just trying to keep the emotional connection as well as the physical. She pulled gently with her mouth, making his hips arch up off the bed. Her delicate beautiful hands stroked up and down his thighs, her fingers stroking across them, to his shaft, lower to delicately touch his balls. "Bones," he breathed again, tossing the covers back. He'd intended to stop her, hold her, roll her over and whisper to her about how he wanted desperately to be inside her when he came, but the visual of her surprised eyes and her sweet lips wrapped around his cock was just too much. He let go, only because there was no possible way to stop. He felt all the clichéd feelings: the fireworks, the alarm bells, the chorus of angels – each of them bearing the beautiful features of his Bones.

As he slowly came back down from the intense explosion she pulled him to, she kissed a trail back up his body to his mouth, kissing him slowly, sweetly.

"I win," she mumbled against his lips. "You peeled paint off the walls first."

"For the record, I think your shrieking broke the mirror in the bathroom," he smiled, "but yes, Bones, that was…" he tried.

"Shh," she silenced him. "No explanation necessary. If I make you half as crazy as you make me..." she trailed off.

"Consider yourself a success, Doc," he teased, rolling her to her back. He trailed his hands down her body, worshipping her porcelain skin and marveling at the goose bumps he left in his wake.

"Seeley," she breathed, her eyes squeezed shut as he ran his hand where it had been several minutes earlier in the shower.

"I love the way you say my name," he murmured against her neck.

"Seeley," she whimpered again as he thrust two fingers inside her.

"Hmm. Looks like you didn't quite dry off after your shower," he teased. She snorted a chuckle that turned quickly to a whimper as he pulled his hand away.

"Relax," he smiled, kissing her lips gently. "I'll never be gone for long." He grabbed a condom from the nightstand drawer and sheathed himself quickly, hovering above her. "Are you ready for me?"

"What if I said I wasn't?"

Gazing into her eyes very seriously, he stroked the wet hair back from her face. "Then I would spend as long as it took to get you that way." Feeling her resulting shiver underneath him, he knew he had given the right answer.

"As wonderful as that sounds…I'm ready. Please don't wait."

He wouldn't deny her. He pushed slowly into her, worried she might be a little sore from the events of the wee morning hours.

"Not going to break," she whispered breathily, rolling her hips up into his, and he heard the request behind her words. He pistoned into her with more force, both of them reaching out, racing toward the finish line this time. The slow lovemaking had its own charms, for sure, but their wait for one another seemed too long and too difficult right now to tame this powerful need. He wasn't sure he could convince his hips to return to that excruciating slow pace even if he wanted to right now, not when his lover was running her nails across his back the way she was, breathing his name at every thrust, begging him to please, Seeley, fuck her just like that, using her momentum to roll over on top of him and ride his cocklike she had been born to do it. Much to his satisfaction, she reached the line first, groaning out his name again in that way he so loved. Was he supposed to control himself when she felt like that, sounded like that? It pulled him right across that finish line with her, and he wrapped his arms around her in triumph as he rolled her to her back, kissing her with the last of his breath before collapsing himself.

"You're amazing, you know that?" he asked.

She kissed his pecs gently, reverently, balancing her chin on his chest. "You too," she agreed. "Don't tell me we're going to become one of those couples who run around telling each other how fabulous they are. 'You're amazing,' 'no, you're amazing,' 'no you are,' 'no you,'" she mimicked.

"Couples, huh, Bones?"

She blushed. "Out of everything I said, that was what you picked up on?"

He chuckled at her slight embarrassment and leaned up momentarily to kiss the top of her forehead. They lapsed into silence, snuggling quietly, his hand running gently up and down her bare back.

"Hey Bones?"

"Mmm?" she questioned, the vibration strong against his chest.

"Can I have my present?"

She glared teasingly at him. "I was almost asleep, and you woke me up to ask if you could have your present?"


"Fine. You can go get it. Only one left under the tree. Hook a right at the garbage can and it's just past Parker's mountain of ugly sweaters," she smiled, rolling to her side.

Booth slid out of the bed and walked slowly to the dresser, shaking his ass and flexing his glutes to earn a giggle from her. As he pulled a pair of Grinch boxers on, he marveled at how great it was to hear that giggle. In his opinion, it didn't happen nearly enough; and he was going to do everything in his power to make it happen more often. He pulled the neatly wrapped box containing her gift from the back corner of the drawer and turned back to the beauty in his bed. He tossed the box gently on the bed and she scrambled toward it. "Ah, ah, ah, Bones. No opening until I get back," he teased, wagging a finger at her.

"No fair," she pouted, crossing her arms over her chest.

"You're kinda cute when you pout," he commented, dashing out the door just in time to duck the pillow she hurled in his direction.


She loved his reactions to her. Every single one thrilled her. How rapidly he followed her to the bedroom, barely taking a second to dry off, obviously as eager to continue what they started as she was. How carefully he warmed her between his body and the covers when he joined her there. How sweetly he stroked her hair while she thanked him for gift number 1 in the shower, pouring all her gratitude (not to mention her lust) until pulling the same pleasure from him that he had from her, with her lips. The intensity of his groans had ascended at her ministrations, and she felt a heady sense of joy and power, knowing she could affect him like this. In the paint-peeling sense. Which she just had to remind him about after he lost control into her mouth and laid heaving against the pillows. Gotcha, Seeley Booth. She hadn't been expecting him to recover quite as quickly as he did, but she wasn't complaining when she ended up pinned beneath him, his returning hardness pressing against her eagerly. That was part of the fun of a new relationship, right? Temporarily having the stamina of a teenager.

He entered her carefully. Apparently forgetting that she was the same woman who had gone wild when he lifted her skirt and pounded her relentlessly at a costume party. The circumstances were different now. But a familiar ache filled her that she wasn't sure even three orgasms would relieve. She was insatiable for him, and she quickly learned the words and actions that would spur him deeper inside her, harder. It made him hot when she said his name, so she did, repeatedly, loving the way he jerked a little inside of her at the sound. At some point, she needed to find out what it was like on top of him, getting to know all the angles that made them both groan with delight. His eyes never left her as she rode him. That gaze again. Could she ever get used to that? Somehow, it both unnerved and aroused her, and she couldn't take her eyes away from his coal-dark ones. Her orgasm was upon her before she realized it was beginning, and her scream this time was accompanied by the eye contact that earlier, he had begged her for. Part of her felt incredibly vulnerable at that moment. But she embraced it, coming once more when she heard his returning cry and the throbbing of the part of him that was inside her. Jesus. They were going to need a nap before the morning was over. She had never felt so satisfyingly exhausted.

He told her she was amazing. She had been told it before, by friends, colleagues, fans, and lovers. But when it came from his lips, it sounded…true. She worried that they were going to be like one of those couples that disgusted her, the ones who needed to remind one another every waking moment of their specialness. He picked up on the word "couple" like a bloodhound when she said it, and it made her blush and reminded her of Rebecca's comment earlier. Relax, Tempe. Enjoy the way this feels right now, without having to title it. Striving to follow her own advice, she savored the delicious heaviness of her limbs and the post-orgasmic euphoria that filled her.

Apparently, before allowing her rest, Booth had one more, brightly-wrapped task in mind. The presents. She teased him for wanting it now, but was actually laughing internally that the present that had been her initial excuse for coming over here last night had suddenly become the very last priority of their little camping adventure. She might have volunteered to get it herself, but then remembered how much fun the little peep shows he gave her when crawling out of bed were. Doing a little dance for her, he made her fall back into the slightly damp blankets in a giggle. When he tossed his own gift on the bed in front of her, she was suddenly very interested in presents again. Mine mine mine… "Ah, ah, ah, Bones. No opening until I get back."

She thought about telling him he was no fun, but then realized it would be the biggest untruth that had ever passed her lips. As he left the room and she turned the box around slowly in her hands, she became briefly concerned with just how greedy she had become. Did she deserve all of this? Did anybody? Better watch out, Tempe. Remember what happens when you get too used to good things…

Quiet. Focusing on the bright, shiny bow on the top of her gift, she forced herself to forget about her less-than-impressive track record when it came to holding onto the beautiful things in life.

When Booth re-entered the bedroom he had to hold back a chuckle. Brennan was snuggled into the pillows, looking intently at the small box at the foot of the bed. "Who's winning the staring contest?" he asked.

"What took so long? Did you get lost in the video game maze?" she replied.

"Are you getting mouthy with me, kid?" he teased. "Mouthy little girls don't get their gifts."

She rolled her eyes and commented dryly, "Not a little girl, in case you haven't noticed. And besides…I thought you liked it when I got mouthy." Proud of her recent mastery of the double entendre.

He groaned and slid in next to her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "Touche, oh beautiful one."

She flushed a little. "Open it," she motioned to his gift.

"Sure you don't want to open yours first?" he asked with a smile.

She shook her head silently and smiled. Well she didn't need to tell him twice. He ripped into the paper with the same fervor his son had displayed earlier that morning. He carefully pulled the lid of the box off to expose a beautiful snow globe. Across the bottom of the base were the words "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2007" and in the globe was the iconic image of Santa, the last float in every parade. He looked up her wonderingly. "I love it, Bones, thank you," he smiled and kissed her sweetly. "But you're going to laugh when you see your gift."

Confusion marred her beautiful face, so he just pecked her lips again and motioned for her to open the box. As she delicately removed the tape and the paper, she babbled. "You're welcome. I'm glad you like it. I thought it would be nice to have a reminder of the parade, and the city, and the pa--" she stopped short as she lifted the lid off her own gift and found the exact same snow globe that she had given him staring back at her.

Booth took the globe out of the box and held it in front of her, shaking it gently to make the glittery snow rain down around Santa's sleigh. "I got it to remind you of all the fun we had that day. But then today, I was thinking about your penchant for metaphors," he teased, "and it started to remind me of all the ways you've shaken up my life," he glanced at her, and smiled at the unshed tears shining in her blue eyes. She flung her arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly, emotion filling her. "I didn't know you liked snow globes so much, Bones," he smiled, knowing full well that the hug had nothing to do with her affection for snow globes in general, but maybe a little for this particular snow globe – most especially the sentiment behind it.

"I love it," she whispered. That vulnerable feeling again…somehow slipping through her defenses and making her want to show him everything…

He continued to tease her to keep the mood light. "A dead tree and a ball of water and glitter. Wow. I wonder what would happen if I ever got you something really exciting."

She laughed and released her hold on him to wipe at her eyes. He nestled both globes back into their respective boxes, put the lids on them and put them on the floor next to the bed. Wrapping her in his arms again, he snuggled down into the bed and mustered up his courage. "I have to tell you something, Bones."

She glanced up at him, her confused face back in place. "Hmm?" she asked, refusing to guess at what he might be thinking.

"I overheard your conversation with Rebecca. And how you told her we weren't… like that," he quoted.

She blushed slightly, but nodded honestly. "I didn't mean…I mean, it's not like I don't think this is important, but we haven't talked about titles, and just…well…don't want to make assumptions." Of course he had to have heard that. What was she supposed to say? How could a word like "girlfriend" possible even begin to sum up the things she had begun to feel?

"Well," he began, but had to stop to clear his throat. Just breathe, Seeley. You once asked a woman to marry you. You can ask one to be your girlfriend. "That is, um," he cleared his throat again. "The thing is, Bones," he stopped and swallowed.

She could barely stand the awkwardness after the ease of the last few hours. "Spit it up, Booth," she encouraged.

He smiled. "Spit it out, Bones."

"That's what I said," she teased. God, she was on a roll, wasn't she?

"Bones," he began again. "I… I mean, if you say no, it's okay, I mean it's not okay, but I'll be okay. I mean I'll be better if you say yes, but if you say no, I'll live." She was looking vaguely alarmed, and he mentally cursed his lack of smoothness. Spit it out, right. "Anyway, uh, I… I think I kind of want us to be like that. I mean I'm not saying it has to be all 'boyfriend/girlfriend' like 8th grade or something, I mean, we're not thirteen or anything here, it's just that I really, there's something here, Bones, you know? The city, the park, whatever. Wherever we are, when I'm with you, that's all there is, and I just, are you getting any of this?"

At this moment, she was charmed by his uncertainty, and couldn't bear to let him continue thinking he might be misunderstood. She placed her fingers delicately over his lips. "I think so."

"You think you get it?"

A thoughtful look crossed her face. "I think…I might feel the same." She wasn't sure she wanted to. She wasn't even sure how she knew. But…she did. Unequivocally.

"Really?" he asked with a broad grin.

"Yes. As long as you promise to continue to shake your ass and try to impress me. Then I don't think I can say no to the possibility of that."

"Bones, Bones, Bones," he grinned, lowering his head to kiss her. "I'm always gonna try to impress you."

And she began wondering if track records really counted for much of anything when they were so very close to beginning such an exceptional new year.


A/N: Yay, Merry Christmas to you all!! We know this is kinda late, but hey. Christmas, New Year's, not to mention Kinsey's mom and Jamie both had birthdays in between! Very hectic! Thanks for your loving patience, and keep your eyes open for the festivities of the New Year, which will be right around the corner! WE LOVE YOU!! XOXO, Kinsey and Jamie