A/N: IT'S V-DAY IN MARCH!!! Aren't you excited? Yes. Tres excited. It's almost like having a time machine!
Don't forget to honk if you lurve fluff!:-D
"PARKER BOOTH YOU GET YOUR HIND END TO THE TABLE FOR BREAKFAST NOW. Pronto."
Booth felt half-bad for yelling at the poor kid. After all, it wasn't his fault that they were running dangerously late. That responsibility lied firmly on the shoulders of his father. Well, and maybe just a little on his father's ridiculously irresistible partner. Who, for all of her recently tapped parenting instincts, still hadn't quite learned how to redirect the manipulations of a 6-year-old child who wasn't quite ready to go to school yet.
"Be nice," she whispered to him. "He's moving as fast as he can."
He watched as his son lugubriously pawed through his closet, looking for the only pair of sneakers that he would even consider wearing today. Booth snorted while his fingers flew about trying to adjust his own tie. "Trust me. He can move much faster. I've seen him get ready for a day at Six Flags."
"Boooo-oooones. Can you help me find my other red sneaker? I can only find oooooone."
Booth was hopping about, trying to put on his own shoes, but when he saw Bones head for Parker out of the corner of his eye he grabbed her elbow. "No buddy, just grab your white ones."
"But it's the day after Valentine's Day and I want to wear my red sneakers." The kid looked like he was about to cry. Brennan looked at Booth horrified for his being such a cruel parent.
He looked at her desperately for her understanding while buttoning his shirt at the same time. "I have a meeting in…" He checked the clock. "In 25 minutes. And Rebecca will kill me if she thinks I sent him off to school without breakfast."
"You should have woken me up earlier then," his son half-wailed from the other room.
Well, Parker was probably right. Definitely right. But what Booth hadn't been counting on was himself waking up not to the sound of his radio alarm, but to the sensual weight of his girlfriend's body over his own. "I know it's not Valentine's Day anymore," she had whispered apologetically in her sleep-husky voice, "but I'm feeling much more awake now." And suddenly, sleep was the last thing from his mind as well. He had flipped her over and kissed every part of her body he could reach while holding a muffling hand over her mouth to silence her breathy gasps. The alarm had turned on sometime in between the time she fought him onto his back again, climbing astride him with a wicked gleam in her eye, and the time he pulled her glistening body back down to rest on his heaving chest, stroking her hair in time to the rhythm of "Hotel California" with the morning sunlight streaming through the blinds. The music had been playing for 15 minutes and he knew they had to get up, but it took awhile to shake off the post-orgasmic haze and force himself away from their warm cocoon of blankets and each other.
So now that he thought about it, it was definitely her fault that right now he was facing Cullen's wrath for being late to his 8:00 a.m. meeting, and his son calling up Child Protective Services for being the worst daddy ever to not give him the space he needed to find his red post-Valentine's Day sneakers
"Parker, you have 5 minutes to finish getting dressed and eat your cereal. I'm not going to tell you again. I have to get you to school, get to this meeting at a time that won't get me fired, and run all around town today to get things settled for a case, and I don't have time to mess around." He was trying to shovel in his own breakfast at the same time he was pouring his coffee. Bones was watching the whole scene amusedly.
"He's trying to kill me," he muttered to Bones under his breath.
"What time does he have to be at school?" she asked him.
"8:15. Which is why he's in no hurry."
"Can I make a suggestion?" she said tentatively.
"We can't ship him to Antarctica. Rebecca and I have already discussed that."
"I have a more realistic plan. How about you get to your meeting, I drop Parker off at school, and nobody dies or has to move to another continent?"
He looked at her incredulously through his mouthful of cereal. "Won't that make you late?"
"I sort of set my own hours, Booth. It's not like I don't usually stay late at the lab, anyway. It's not a big deal."
"But do you really want to…"
"Be alone with Parker?"
"I think I can handle watching a child for a half-hour by myself without losing him or anything."
"That's not…are you sure?"
"It's fine. Besides, I feel badly about us running late this morning anyway. I had forgotten you had a meeting. And I got…distracted."
He grinned. "Damn straight. All your fault."
"Funny. I don't remember you complaining at the time."
"It's hard to complain with someone's tongue in your mouth."
"Ewwwww." They had been so involved in their conversation that they hadn't seen Parker enter the kitchen.
"Grown-up thing, Parker. Don't worry about it," he told him.
"Grown-ups are so gross," his son informed him while sitting down at the table.
"And so late." He leaned over quickly to give his son a kiss on the forehead, while pulling on his jacket. "Bones is gonna take you to school, 'kay buddy? I'll see you next weekend."
"Bones is taking me to school?" he said excitedly.
"Yup. Don't give her trouble." Knowing full well that Parker was going to be as good as gold for Bones. He saved the difficult stuff for his parents.
"Cool. Love you, Dad."
As usual, his frustration with the kid dissolved at those words. "Love you back, bud." He turned to Bones, took her by the waist. "In case I haven't told you lately…you amaze me beyond words."
She rolled her eyes at him. "It's a half-hour of babysitting, Booth."
"Nonetheless." He pressed his lips to hers quickly.
He hurried to the door, but before leaving couldn't resist one last glance back into the kitchen, where Parker was chattering about school and Bones was wiping splashes of milk from his little cheeks. And for a second, despite his panicked lateness, he felt like it was a snapshot of exactly the life he wanted.
"Thanks for takin' me to school, Bones," Parker mumbled around a mouthful of cereal.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, Park," she reminded him, then startled slightly at how natural it felt to echo his father's regular dinner table command. "And you're welcome," she smiled. She stood up from the table and went in search of the elusive red sneaker, figuring Parker could probably get his lucky charms shoveled down without her supervisory stare. Her first stop was the front hall closet where she knew Booth had a tendency to chuck all the shoes he and Parker left laying in the entry way of the house.
"And none too neatly," she muttered to herself as she sank down on her haunches to dig through the pile of shoes. She glanced at her watch, knowing she had to get Parker moving pretty soon. "'Bout done with your breakfast, Bud?" she hollered back into the kitchen.
"I just rinsed my bowl," he answered from right behind her, making her jump. Parker giggled.
"What are you doing down there, Bones?"
"Looking for your red sneaker," she muttered, reaching again into the pile in the dark closet. Feeling a pair of shoe laces, she gave a gentle tug and came up victorious.
"Thanks!" Parker cheered when she held the shoe up.
"No problem," she said, sliding a hand through her hair and standing up. "Let's get outta here," she said, grabbing his already-packed backpack and lunch off the oak bench in the hall.
"Uh-oh," he whispered.
"What?" she sighed, only slightly frustrated.
"Now I can't find the other one," the gleam in his eye telling her something was up. Over the past few months she'd become more proficient at reading his face like a book. She knew this time he was stalling.
"Nice try. It's on the couch, right where you left it," she smiled. "Now stop stalling and let's get to school."
"Can't blame a guy for tryin'," he grinned up at her, his brown eyes sparkling.
She nearly choked at his obvious line, but instead just tousled his curly blonde hair. "Whose kid are you, anyway?" she teased.
"Mom and Dad's!" Parker answered honestly, unaware of her teasing.
"C'mon, Buddy. We've got exactly fifteen minutes to get you to school," Brennan held the door for him and locked it behind her with the key Booth had given her a while back.
Walking out to her car with Parker's hand tucked into hers, she smiled at her own ease with the little boy. Her "half-hour of babysitting" had turned out better than she'd expected. When she'd told Booth how easy it would be, she'd been fibbing just a tiny bit. Parker had always been okay with her before, but his dad had always been close by. They'd never had a full half hour of one-on-one interaction, and truth be told, the enthusiasm with which she'd approached the task belied the bundle of nerves in her stomach.
She smiled down at Parker when she felt him swinging her arm back and forth on the way to the car. "Anything exciting happening at school today?"
"Not really. It's Friday, so I have a spelling test, but me and Dad practiced before you came over last night."
"Dad and I," she corrected automatically.
Parker laughed. "I know. I just wanted to see if you knew," he teased. "Mom always goes over my spelling words in the car with me. Can we do that today?"
"Sure," Brennan replied, holding the door for him to hop into the back seat of her Jeep. He scrambled quickly for the list, handing it to her right before she shut the door. She jogged around to the driver's side and slid behind the wheel, taking a quick glance at his spelling list.
"You ready?" she glanced into the rearview mirror.
"Ready," he smiled back, all buckled in.
"Okay. Spell… could."
"C-O-U-L-D," he replied easily.
"Good job. How about kind?"
"That's an easy one, Bones! K-I-N-D."
"Right again," she smiled at the little boy in the mirror. "Okay, here's a hard one. Towel."
"Towel," Parker contemplated. "Towel. T-O-U… no wait. T-O-W-E-L."
"Good, Parker," Brennan praised. They made the short trip to Parker's elementary school in good time, going through Parker's spelling words twice before they arrived. Brennan pulled up out front and shifted the car into park. "Want me to go in with you?"
"Nah, I'm okay," he replied, unbuckling his seatbelt and gathering his stuff.
"Have a good day, Parker," Brennan smiled as the little boy hopped out of the jeep.
"Thanks! Bye Mom!" he waved and caught his slip with a giggle. "I mean bye Bones! Love you!"
Brennan waved back. "Love you back," she smiled. She waited to make sure he made it into the building before heading to the lab, her head swarming with questions and feelings, all of which left her a little confused.
An hour later, she sat in her office, a pile of files on the desk in front of her, her mind a million miles away.
"Gooooooood morning, Sunshine!" Angela greeted, breezing into her office.
"Someone had a happy Valentine's Day," Brennan responded, not looking up from her computer monitor.
"You didn't?" Angela questioned.
Brennan nodded distractedly. "It was nice."
"Nice? Nice? I come in here to get the dirty details on your first heart day with your sex-on-a-stick partner and you tell me it was nice?" Angela looked appalled.
"It was good," Brennan forced a bright smile.
"Okay. What happened?" Angela pushed the glass door shut and moved to curl up on Brennan's couch.
"Well," Brennan began. "We had Parker."
"Six-year-old's killin' the mojo?" Angela questioned sympathetically.
"Uh, no. No, that's not an issue," Brennan smiled, the first genuine smile since Angela had flitted in the door.
"I didn't figure," the artist responded dryly.
"Anyway," Brennan continued. "Parker told me he loved me the other night. That was new. And then this morning, Booth was running a little late, so I offered to take Park to school. And when I dropped him off, he told me he loved me again. And he called me mom. Accidentally, I think. This is all just… so much to process," she said, shaking her head.
"Accidentally?" Angela queried.
"I think he meant to say Bones, but maybe he's just so used to his mom dropping him off?" Brennan replied.
"Probably," the artist agreed. "So what's the big deal? Gorgeous guy in love with you, great kid in love with you. I fail to see the problem."
"I'm not sure there is a problem. It just seems like it's all going so fast."
"Bren, those Booth boys have been head over heels for you since the moment they laid eyes on you. I think if you're just as gentle with the little one's heart as I know you can be with the big one's, you're going to be just fine," Angela assured.
"It's only been a month and a half, Ange."
"Bren. Sweetie. It's been three years. Trust me. This one's a keeper."
"Still feels odd."
"Well, I'm still proud of you."
"Proud? For what? Abandoning my independence and being absorbed into family culture just like ninety percent of all American women do?" she asked dryly.
"Noooooo," her friend chided gently. "I don't think you are being absorbed at all. I think you are adding something new to your repertoire." Grinning, she nudged Brennan's shoulder. "Now, if you start skipping our girl time for PTA meetings or something, we might need to have a talk."
"We would definitely need to have a talk."
"I give you my word that I won't let you turn into a soccer mom," Angela promised solemnly. "I will drag you kicking and screaming from the mini-van." They grinned at each other. "Now. We got in a shipment of skeletons that are so decomposed they are almost dust. You game to try to do a facial reconstruction?"
"That decomposed?" Brennan said incredulously. "That'll be a fun challenge."
"If that's your idea of fun, I'm pretty sure the PTA won't even let you in."
He had been 5 minutes late to his meeting, which really wasn't too bad as far as he was concerned. But it had thrown off his whole day, and he found himself struggling perpetually to get caught up, bad traffic and uncooperative technology not helping his circumstances. He had a noon lunch with Caroline Julian which he ran into gasping at about 12:15.
"Seeley Booth," she had said tersely, "Need I remind you that my time is valuable and my clients eternally on my ass. I'd appreciate if you'd have your ass here when it's supposed to be."
"Sorry, sorry, sorry," he muttered, the words his mantra for the day. He slid into his seat. "My morning started very well, but has been going downhill ever since." Actually, he wasn't entirely convinced that he hadn't left at least part of his brain back in bed with Bones today. Why the hell did Valentine's Day have to fall on a weekday? He wondered how Bones made out with Parker once he had jetted from the house, and pulled back from his reverie just in time to catch the fact that Caroline had been saying something. "What?"
"I said that there's a jewelry store right across the street. Maybe when we're done here you want to wander over and get yourself a watch."
He looked guiltily down at his bare wrist, his watch being one of the things he didn't quite have time for this morning. Okay. Time to pull his shit together and get down to business. Caroline wasn't messing around, and it wasn't on his agenda today to get on the feisty attorney's bad side. Pushing aside all thoughts of missing sneakers and rushed breakfasts and morning interludes with Bones, he focused on the case that she was presenting to him, and managed for the first time that day to have a productive meeting. At the end, Caroline seemed satisfied, and he nearly heaved a sigh of relief at the feeling of getting something accomplished today.
"So," she said once they had finished with business, and she forced him to stay sitting until he was done with his cup of coffee. "I'm surprised you haven't given me more flack about my little Christmas-eve tradeoff. Half the fun was going to be all the bellyaching I was going to hear about having to smooch your genius partner."
A laugh almost escaped him. That was barely a kiss, lady. You should just be glad that I didn't start to undress her under the mistletoe. Then you would have gotten an eyeful enough to be freaked out by. Instead of saying it, he just looked at her ruefully. "Na, not a big deal. You better be careful though. One of these days one of your shenanigans is going to land you a sexual harassment charge."
Caroline snorted. "With everything else that happens in that office? That little kiss was like Doris Day at the Playboy mansion."
My thoughts exactly. He chose not to verbalize that though, instead, just smiling winsomely. She looked at him suspiciously.
"You got a secret, Secret Agent Man?"
"Nope. No secret." He stood from the table, taking his last sip of coffee and pulling money from his wallet to cover his part of the tab. "Temperance Brennan is my Valentine. Which is exactly why I started running late today." He tossed the bills on the table. "See ya Caroline." He couldn't stop the surge of satisfaction at the sight of her dropping jaw right before he turned to go out the door.
Chuckling to himself, he crossed the street to his car, parked right in front of the store Caroline had suggested he get his watch from. Served the puckish busybody right, he thought as he pulled out his keys. A series of brilliant sparkles from the store window distracted him.
Seeley Booth had never, in his memory, entered into a fugue state, so it seemed unlikely that this was what happened now. But later, he couldn't think of any other explanation for why he had little to no memory of crossing the sidewalk, entering the doors of the store, or standing contemplatively in front of the glass display. And that display definitely wasn't full of watches. All he remembered was being disrupted by the voice of the saleswoman.
"Can I help you find something?"
He was only slightly more attentive at the interruption. "Just looking," he murmured, unable to take his eyes from the dazzling display. She followed the track of his vision and smiled.
"That's one of our most popular styles." Opening the case, she pulled out the small pillow. "The princess cut is a classic, but the additional channel settings that run the length of the band make this spectacular."
He blinked, apparently hypnotized by the prism effect being created by the bright display lights on the piece that she was holding.
"Is this something similar to the kind of diamond that you are thinking of buying?"
That did it. He snapped out of it and finally met the eyes of the smiling salesperson, and felt blood seeping into his cheeks hotly. His eyes got round. "Oh…I….no, it's not…um…" He must have dropped his vocabulary on the street between the diner and the store. "I've got to go."
He near flew to the door. Behind him, a voice trailed… "Come back when you're ready!"
Finally reaching to safety of his car's front seat, he drew a shaky breath, huffing like he just ran a marathon.
He knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Bones had done it. She had finally done it.
She had driven him crazy.
A/N: Big old Valentine's smooch from us to you. Next up: A St. Patrick's day oneshot to warm your spirits. And you don't even want to know what we are planning for Easter. Don't ask. Your heads will explode with anticipation if you knew. LOL. Loves.