A/N: What? You thought we wouldn't get some mushy gushy Valentine-y goodness to you this month? Well you are very mistaken, my friends. It is happening. Whether you like it or not. It's the best Valentine we can offer you that's not a chocolate-coated Booth. So, presented to you with love from Jamie & Kinsey (aka Nekkid Booth Inc.)…the Valentine's Day edition. It will be a multichap, so do alert if you are interested in gagging on more sweetilicious V-day fluff!
Temperance Brennan feared she was going to quickly become one of those women who professed to hate Valentine's Day. She'd been standing in a downtown DC stationary shop for over an hour, trying to find the perfect Valentine's Day card for Booth, and was having zero luck. Truth be told, she hadn't even planned on doing anything for the holiday, but when she'd mentioned her lack of enthusiasm to Angela, her friend had read her the riot act about how important a couple's first "V-day" was and how she'd better "march her cute little hiney to Hallmark and not leave until she'd found the perfect card for her lovaaaaah." So having figured that it wouldn't kill her to at least experiment with the holiday, march she had, and she'd been here for… seventy-three minutes. Damn.
She heaved a sigh and reached for one more card. A green one with a picture of a man and a woman on a carousel – much like the one Parker loved. In red foil letters at the bottom it said "This is no ordinary romance…" So far that sounded like them. What kind of relationship started out with an anonymous encounter in a dark bedroom while a Halloween party raged on the other side of the door? Okay, probably more than one. But what kind of relationship really started when you were impossibly attracted to (and maybe just a little in love with) one of your co-workers? Hmm. Okay, probably a few of those too. Still. She and Booth were special. Definitely extraordinary. She flipped the card open and read the message inside: "It's a thrill-a-minute crazy-fun adventure, and I'm so glad I'm in it with you. Happy Valentine's Day." Sappy. But the truth in the words made a small chill race up her spine. She plucked the matching envelope from behind the cards and made her way to the front, a colorful display of cards for kids catching her eye on her way to the check out. Parker. Right.
She had a much easier time picking one for her favorite little boy; the card was blindingly appropriate after the weekend before when she'd pulled some strings with the guys in the space exhibit and had been allowed to camp out over night in the planetarium with Parker and Seeley – an event Parker had deemed "the coolest EVER and could he please Bones puh-leeeeeze have his birthday party here?" On the front was a cartoon of the Milky Way Galaxy and the phrase "Hey Valentine…" Brennan opened the card and read "I think you're outta this world!" Perfect. She moved to the check-out counter and smiled at the young lady behind the register. Paying quickly and sticking her cards in her purse to avoid the unnecessary bag, Brennan headed back out into the chilly February afternoon.
Her phone vibrated in her pocket and she pulled it out, not bothering with the caller ID. "Brennan," she answered.
"I seem to have misplaced the most beautiful girl in the world. Have you seen her?"
"Hmmm. Might have. What's she look like?" Brennan teased.
"Most gorgeous blue eyes I've ever seen. Legs for days. Cute little ass. Ring a bell?"
"Sounds vaguely familiar. What are you doing, goofball?"
She could hear the smile in Booth's voice when he answered. "I have been instructed to cordially invite you to a Valentine's Day dinner prepared by your two favorite Booth men."
"That sounds wonderful," Brennan smiled. She'd shared dozens of meals with Booth and Parker over the past few months and always enjoyed herself. Parker was a wonderful little boy and she was really beginning to look forward to the time they got to spend together. He was always full of smiles and infectious little-boy energy, not to mention the great drawings and pages torn from coloring books peppering her office and her refrigerator at home – he made sure to have a new one for her every time he saw her. "When should I come over?" she asked.
"Whenever you want – I figured we could eat about six or seven."
"And what is on the menu at Chez Booth tonight?"
"Chicken strips and mashed potatoes. And the best damn ice cream sundaes you ever tasted."
"I can't wait. I'll stop and get a movie and popcorn."
"See you tonight. And if you run across the most beautiful girl in the world? Tell her I love her."
Brennan groaned but felt that same little shiver go up her spine at her partner's words. "She loves you too, Seeley."
He couldn't help himself; while he normally had just the slightest amount of disdain for Hallmark holidays (although he typically managed to come up with a dozen roses for whatever girlfriend he had on that particular day of the year), now he'd use pretty much any excuse he could to bring a smile to Bones' face. Somehow knowing instinctively that flowers and chocolate just wouldn't adequately convey what he felt, he consulted an expert: Parker Booth, who typically spent Valentine's with Seeley since his mother had decided that romance was distinctly hard to come by with a 6-year-old in the house. Parker told him that they should convey their appreciation for the new woman in their lives by cooking her the best foods known to man—well, the best foods known to Parker. Feeling very agreeable, Booth stocked up on chicken and potatoes and ice cream, the second of which they were working on preparing right this second.
"So, Park," he said nonchalantly as he cut up the potatoes, "You cool with Bones hanging out with us so much?"
"Yup." His son was dropping the cut-up pieces until the pot of water. "She knows the coolest stuff. And she's not always…you know…acting like a girl." Apparently referencing the enthusiasm with which Bones had played the "gross" game that she got the kid for Christmas.
"Alright. Not so bad having her around, huh?"
"Nope. Why? Are you guys gonna get married or something?"
That was his son. None too keen on subtlety. He tried to avoid stuttering in surprise at the question, mostly unsuccessfully. "Uh…no…I…well…I don't think…no."
His son was oblivious to his discomfort. "Because I don't like to dress up. Mom and I went to Aunt Renee's wedding and the clothes were worse than normal church clothes. It was all itchy and hot."
Booth did his best to recover. "That doesn't sound fun."
"It wasn't. But the food was pretty good, and we got to do the Chicken Dance after at the party and it started going so fast that Uncle Dennis almost fell down and it was funny."
He had to smile. "God forbid a wedding reception in Pennsylvania doesn't have the Chicken Dance."
"Will we do the Chicken Dance at your wedding?"
"That and the Hokey Pokey and the Macarena."
Parker giggled, which was the reaction he was hoping for. Right then, the doorbell rang. "Daddy," the little boy said indignantly. "We're not ready yet."
"Uh oh. Tell you what. You go answer the door and entertain Bones for awhile while I finish this up. We'll get it all set up in no time."
"'Kay." The child cheerfully abandoned his spot by the stove and started tearing into the living room, his hands still soaking wet.
"Dry off, Parker," he called after him. "And don't forget to say Happy Valentine's Day!"
He listened from the kitchen, enjoying the exchange between his girlfriend and his son. The first thing he heard was an "Oomph" as Parker apparently threw himself into Brennan's arms, disregarding the instructions to dry off in his excitement of seeing Bones.
"Happy Valentine's Day!"
"Thanks, kiddo. You too. You look like you've been working hard."
"Yup. You don't get to see yet though."
"Oh, okay. What have you and your Dad been doing?"
"Cooking stuff and talking about the Chicken Dance."
Her response was predictable. "The Chicken Dance? What's that?" Booth could almost see his son's shocked face.
"You don't know the Chicken Dance? I'll have to teach you. You have to learn in time for the wedding."
Okay, sounded like it was time for him to make his own grand entrance. Wiping his hands on the dishtowel, he abandoned the stove and hurried into the room, where he found Bones watching amusedly as Parker flapped his arms and wiggled around in demonstration. "Welcome to Chez Booth. I hope you enjoy your live entertainment this evening."
She glanced up, smiling at him. "Yes. And apparently it's interactive." She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, and Parker purposely covered his eyes. "Happy Valentine's Day." Shyly she handed him an envelope. He took it from her hands, touched, knowing that it was very unlikely that she had been so thoughtful on this holiday before.
"Well thank you, gorgeous. I'll open this over sundaes later. For now, why don't you sit and relax and let Parker tell you about his Valentine's Day at school."
"It was sooooo gross. They made us give valentines to everyone. Even the people we think are icky."
"You think you can handle one more?" she asked apologetically, giving Parker his card.
"Sure. You're not icky."
"Thanks! That's one of the best compliments I got all day," she teased him. She turned to Booth. "Are we going to a wedding?"
It wasn't the time or place for that conversation. "Only if you can learn to chicken dance first."
His girlfriend looked at him defiantly. "Hey. If I can learn the Seeley Booth Shuffle so fast, I'm sure I can learn any other dance in short order."
Parker looked at them questioningly. "What's the Seeley Booth Shuffle?"
Booth looked at Brennan. Brennan looked back. Simultaneously, they both began their own version of the touchdown dance that had both horrified them and stole one another's hearts last Super Bowl Sunday. Parker stared.
"Guys," he informed them, looking appalled. "You are not doing that at the wedding."
A/N: Thank you soooo much so much for the beauteous reviews for the last edition! Your love keeps us writing holiday-round. But no President's Day edition. Don't ask. St. Patty's Day, if you are lucky. But we must draw the line somewhere;)