A/N: Set sometime in the [hopefully near] future. Definitely post S3. Slight mention of 2x12 The Man in the Cell.
Disclaimer: I still don't own them. If I did, I wouldn't have to worry about working ever again. Title taken from the Sugarland album of the same name.
"This won't take more than a few minutes, Bones." She nodded as he flung himself out of the Tahoe, only to stick his head back in seconds later to talk to the passenger in the back seat. "Come on, bub, let's go."
"Ok." She heard his seat belt unhook and the back door swing open. "Bye Dr. Bones."
"Bye Parker." She watched as father and son walked up the sidewalk and knocked on the front door. She knew Booth was upset that their weekend had, once again, been cut short. He had called her almost twenty minutes before saying they had a case and that he would pick her up; it would be faster considering the direction the scene was in. She hadn't even considered that it was his weekend with Parker until she walked out to the Tahoe and saw his curls peeking over the back windowsill. Murderers had the worst timing.
The front door swung open and Rebecca stepped out, a soft smile settling on her face as Parker sprinted into the house. Brennan had noticed that things between Booth and Rebecca had been more relaxed lately. She didn't know what to attribute it to, but watching as they chatted idly while Parker dashed back out into the brisk October air running circles around them, made her smile. Her partner deserved to have this: less stress, more happiness.
Sometime during her reverie, they had moved off the porch and started down the sidewalk discussing something they obviously didn't want Parker to overhear. Booth's expression was tough, but caring and Brennan wondered when it had become so easy for her to read people. She shook her head; it wasn't people in general - just him. Sure, there was the occasional time when she could tell if someone was lying or trying to manipulate her, but never before had she been able to discern how another person was feeling, what their emotions were. That was Booth's arena and, somewhere along the line, she'd learned to use his own skill against him. The thought made her uncharacteristically happy.
Rebecca was nodding as Booth continued to talk animatedly, her right hand resting on his forearm. Something flickered in his warm brown eyes as he looked down at her - a ghost of the way he looked at her now. How he'd always looked at her. Brennan's breath hitched. It felt like she'd been dunked in ice water. Suddenly, she understood what other people saw between them. She'd seen it before - hundreds of times really, but with the line and their joking she'd played it off as passing sexual attraction. On both their parts. It was so much more than that though. She'd known it for a long time, tried to bury it as best she could, but what she'd just seen made it glaringly clear. Belatedly, she realized her hands were shaking and she took a deep breath trying to center herself. Come on, Bones, no reason to fall to pieces just because you've finally caught up to your own reality. The thought only caused her more unsteadiness. When had she stopped protesting that stupid nickname and actually assimilated it into her being?
"Hey, sorry it took so long." His voice, as he climbed back into the car, startled her from her thoughts. She ran her hands down her slacks, trying to erase the perspiration and clamminess that had coated her palms.
"No problem." Her voice was shaky and she wondered if he picked up on it. Of course, he did; this was Booth.
"Bones," He glanced at her as the ignition turned over, his eyes so full of warmth and concern that it almost took her breath away. "you ok?"
"Fine." She considered making an excuse, but knew he'd see right through it. "Just got a little lost in thought."
"Mmm." He watched her out of the corner of his eye, turning the car left reflexively. "So, remains were found in Shanandoah National Park."
She smiled to herself, realizing he knew not to push her. "Any idea about the condition?"
"I was told there would be no need to bring Cam out so I assume what we're dealing with is mainly skeletal. Ya know, your deal." He cocked an eyebrow. "Other than that, I don't know. It's been rainy lately though. It could be a mess."
"I'm glad I brought the gumboots then." She turned towards the window noting her breathing had finally slowed and her hands were no longer clammy. She wasn't sure how long they sat in silence. All she knew was that he was watching her more than he was watching the road and, for once, it seemed to calm her. Still..."Booth, would you keep your eyes on the road?! You're going to kill us."
"Am not." And, as if to prove his point, he turned to look at her again. Their eyes met and he flashed her half a charm smile.
"I know." She sighed and let her hand fall to the center console.
"Wait-" His eyes were back on the road, but watching her at the same time. How did he do that? "Did I just win an argument?"
"It wasn't really an argument. I stated a fact, which you disagreed with. I merely conceded that you were correct in your assertion." She glanced out the window and then back at him. "I know you'd never intentionally put us in danger."
He struggled to find a response finally settling on letting his hand fall to the console between them, lacing his fingers through hers. He gave her hand a light squeeze and turned his attention back to the road. "So what do you think? I'm betting on a lost hiker."
"Too easy." She felt the corners of her mouth twitch upwards once more as a peaceful warmth settled in her chest. "I'm thinking something completely out there - a ballerina lured to the woods by her estranged brother..." Booth's laughter echoed through the car as they sped towards their next case and she relaxed into the seat, a feeling of utter contentment washing over her; she was home.