Disclaimer: Don't own Bones.
A/n: Big hugs to Dispatch22705 and Adangeli for helping me brainstorm when I was nastily stuck! :)
To everyone who has read this, reviewed faithfully, sporadically, alerted, favorited, lurked, and whatnot, I ABSOLUTELY hope you enjoyed this story and that you are not disappointed with this conclusion!
Chapter 25-Epilogue: For You
Two years later …
It had been a long, frustrating day, but all was right in his world because he was going home to her.
He had been doing that, literally, since they moved in together almost a year ago and Booth was certain that going home to his partner would never get old.
"Bones?" he called out, loosening his tie as he closed the door behind him.
"In the kitchen, Booth," she called back and he walked towards the kitchen, feeling all the stress and irritation of his day melting away.
"I'm sorry I'm so late, there was a last minute …" He inhaled deeply, voice trailing off as he took a few steps inside. "Oh man, something smells freaking delicious."
"Yeah?" Turning from the stove to shoot him a quick grin, Brennan asked, "You hungry?"
"God yes," Booth said fervently and he was moving forward to wrap his arms around her waist from behind when his eyes landed on the object resting innocently on the counter, freezing him in place.
She was saying something, but all he could hear was a strange buzzing in his head, eyes glued to the tiny black box right next to her.
"Here," she turned around, wooden spatula in hand. "Taste this." He walked forward automatically, tasting the sauce she offered him. "Do you think it needs more salt?"
He felt the strange urge to laugh a little hysterically at the mundane question. Was she serious?
"No," Booth choked out, unable to process her calm, relaxed behavior. He wondered if it was some strange form of denial, he wondered if she was drowning in a sea of panic inside her blasé exterior. Because he was.
"This is almost done," she said, turning back to stir gently and turning off the stove. "Can you set the table?"
"Temperance." His tone made her turn around again and he closed his eye briefly, before asking, "How did you find it?"
She didn't pretend not to understand, eyes flickering briefly to the little velvet box.
"Rebecca called a few hours ago," she explained nonchalantly. "She couldn't find Parker's birth certificate and she knew you had a copy. She really needed it."
"School enrollment deadline is tomorrow," Booth remembered faintly. "The district lines' changed, he's going to a new school."
"So she explained," Brennan nodded. "She sounded quite hassled, so I told her I'd look for it. Pretty much had to search through every box in the closet to find it. Rebecca picked it up a few hours ago." With a casual shrug, she mused, "You know, a birth certificate is important documentation, it might be a good idea to keep it …"
"Bones …" he sighed, unsure of whether she really did want to talk about the appropriate keeping of birth certificates, with her it was hard to tell.
She looked at him steadily, before asking, "How long have you had it?"
His eyes wandered to the box again and he swallowed. God, she had made her position on this topic pretty much clear and he accepted it, he really did. So how to explain that to her when she had found a damn engagement ring?
"Months," he admitted honestly and her eyes went wide. Shit.
"It's not what you think," Booth said in a rush.
"It's not?" Brennan quirked a quizzical eyebrow. "Did you happen to buy an engagement ring for someone else, Booth?" she asked mildly.
"What? Of course not!" Booth was so flustered he missed the mischievous glint in her eyes. "I just meant … the ring it's not … I wasn't going to propose, Bones, I swear I wasn't." He was a tad bit desperate to convince her of this and so he rushed on. "I don't need to get married. I don't. I'm not going to ask you to marry me … god, please, don't freak out."
"Booth, I believe the only one freaking out here is you," she pointed out calmly, lips twitching at the colloquialism. "You don't have to explain yourself to me."
He gaped as she grabbed the huge salad bowl and swept out of the kitchen. The jewelry box sat on the counter almost mocking him and he snatched it up, flicking the lid open. Blue fire and smooth edges winked up at him and he closed it again with a snap before pocketing the damn thing.
From the dining hall, he heard her shout, "Booth, bring the placemats and the silverware, please."
He helped her set the table and sat down to dinner, feeling like he was in some strange episode of the Twilight Zone.
Why was she so calm? Why wasn't she demanding an explanation?
Brennan asked him about his day and he answered as normally as possible, but the tension crackled around him until he snapped.
"Are you seriously going to compartmentalize this?" he demanded, feeling strangely pissed about her casual attitude. Booth wasn't sure what was wrong with him. He should be happy that she wasn't running out the door in a panic, he should be ecstatic that she was willing to forgo all the questions and forget about it, but instead he was pushing her and he had no idea why. "Don't you have questions?"
"I did," she replied calmly. "You answered them."
"What? When?" he nearly yelled in exasperation. "You haven't asked anything!"
"You just assured me that you don't want to marry me and that you have no intention of proposing." Brennan's mild voice was a sharp contrast to his increasingly agitated one. "I believe that answers any questions I may have."
He narrowed his eyes at her. Did she sound … annoyed?
"I never said I didn't want to marry you," Booth clarified immediately. "I just said I wasn't going to propose."
"But you bought an engagement ring months ago?" Brennan rose from the table a little abruptly, betraying for the first time any signs of agitation. "Why exactly?"
Booth got up from the table as well, running a frustrated hand through his hair. What could he say? Because I love you? Because I absolutely do want to marry you? Because there's a little part of me that hopes that maybe one day you'll want to marry me too?
He could still remember the day he bought the ring. It was one of those rare Monday mornings where they still had Parker with them and she had driven his little boy to school because he'd had an early meeting. After dropping off Parker, she had called him, full of excitement.
"Booth …" she launched the second he answered the phone. "Parker is enamored with a girl in one of his classes!"
"Yeah, Rebecca told me last week he had a little crush on someone," he chuckled. "Did he tell you about her?"
"Yes, apparently she's quite pretty and smart and funny," she recited earnestly and he knew she was quoting Parker precisely.
"Yeah, kid's got it bad," he chuckled again. "I hope she doesn't break his heart."
"Break his heart?" her startled tone told him that she hadn't even considered the possibility. "Why would she do that?"
"Well, Bones, you know how kids are at that age …" Except he realized, she likely didn't know and he said softly, "Don't worry, baby … Parker will be fine."
"Mmm … well, maybe you should, you know, investigate. Make sure that she's not going to hurt him."
"Bones, are you suggesting I do a background check on Parker's classmate?"
"No," she said it so defensively that Booth knew it was exactly what she was suggesting and he chuckled in appreciation of her strangely non-rational, but adorable suggestion.
"Shut up," Brennan grumbled as the ridiculousness of the idea hit her too. "Goodbye, Booth."
"Love you, Bones," he said quickly as she hung up on him and he leaned back in his chair, laughter and happiness running through him.
He had walked out of his office then and hit three different jewelry stores before finding the perfect ring. It hadn't escaped Booth that the perfect ring would likely never see the outside of its little velvet box, but he didn't care. Even if he never gave it to her, the ring was still a testament to the fact that he would spend the rest of his life with her. He would never again buy another ring, because this was it. She was it.
Her voice brought him back to the present and he shook himself.
"I'm sorry," he said, walking to her and taking her in his arms. "I bought it because I love you. Because I want to spend the rest of my life with you and when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone that's what you do, you buy a ring."
She was looking up at him in confusion and he swept her into his arms, bridal style. Kissing her mouth softly as he walked to the bedroom, Booth sighed, "I love you, all right? And all I need is you, right here, in my arms. I swear, Bones, I don't want to change anything about you, I don't need anything you haven't already given me. Forget about the ring."
"What if I want the ring, Booth?"
The question dropped softly between them, even as she dropped his tie on the floor. Booth had taken off his jacket and gun before sitting down for dinner, but clearly the fact that he was still wearing pants and a shirt was an issue for her because she attacked his shirt buttons and swept off his belt as he stood frozen next to the bed.
Soft hands spread open his shirt, sliding it only past his shoulders because he was still holding her and that was as far as it could go.
"I … you … are you … are you serious?" he stammered, wondering if the soft glide of her lips on his chest was somehow short-circuiting his brain to such an extent that he was beginning to hallucinate.
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"Because … because …" Brennan was methodically pressing warm, wet kisses across his chest, up to one shoulder and then the other and Booth realized he couldn't concentrate. "Okay, Bones, you have to stop that now. We are having a serious conversation."
Still holding her, Booth sat on the bed, settling her in his lap. His white shirt slid further down his arms and she swept it off him and sent it sailing. Her hands started unbuttoning his pants and he captured them easily and brought them up to his chest.
"Bones … look at me." She raised solemn eyes to his and he almost trembled as it struck Booth that this might be the most important conversation he ever had in his life. "You told me you never wanted to get married; you told me marriage was an archaic institution …"
"I changed my mind," Brennan interrupted with a delicate shrug. "You changed my mind."
"I did?" His eyebrows raised in surprise because it had been years since they had even discussed this particular topic.
"Yes," she replied with a small smile. "Plus, there are a number of practical benefits to being married, after all, society doesn't recognize …"
"Bones, if you start talking about practical stuff like tax benefits I'm going to cry," he warned, fingers tensing automatically around her delicate wrists.
"But Booth, there are practical considerations to marriage," she insisted stubbornly.
"Maybe there are, Bones, but practicality should never even be discussed in the same sentence as marriage," Booth insisted, determination spiking through him.
Releasing her wrists, he cupped one hand round her face, looking straight into her eyes.
"I want to marry you. I do. No point in lying about it," he finally voiced it out loud. "But absolutely none of my reasons have anything to do with practicality or convenience or anything other than the fact that I simply want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Taking the jewelry box out of his pocket, Booth carefully placed it on the bed next to them.
"It's yours whenever you want it," he said softly. "But if you're saying yes, please think carefully about why, because Temperance, if you do this for the wrong reasons … you'll end up hating me, baby, and I can't handle that."
Brennan gasped and threw her arms around his neck, bringing her face close to his.
"Booth, no … absolutely not a possibility," she denied categorically. "You taught me to believe in love, how could I ever hate you?" Before he could answer, Brennan kissed him softly, letting her tongue gently trail along the seam of his lips.
"I love you," she whispered against his mouth. "I want to make you happy, I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy."
Gentle hands gripped the edge of her soft sweater, pulling it over her head and down to the floor. His lips descended to the swell of her breasts, peppering kisses over the soft flesh as he divested her of the bra as well.
"No matter what, I'm spending the rest of my life with you," Booth guaranteed her, guiding her down on the bed. His fingers hooked on her gray slacks, drawing them down. "Nothing's going to change that."
Placing one knee on either side of her hips, Booth hovered over her almost naked body, placing deep kisses on different parts of her. On the side of one breast, she gasped. In the middle of her stomach, she arched into his mouth. On the inside of one thigh, she moaned softly.
"Every single centimeter of you was made to be worshiped," he praised, running his lips over her satiny skin in one kiss after another. "And I can hardly believe that I get to do so."
Brennan's hands caressed down the smooth muscles of his back until she reached the pants he was still wearing.
"Take this off," she said huskily, tugging on the material. "I want to worship you too."
Momentarily moving to the side of the bed, Booth removed his remaining articles of clothing and took a second to drink her in, spread so beautifully before him. Her gorgeous body was flushed with arousal, silky brown hair shining like a halo around her angelic face.
Next to her, by her hip, the little black box rested and he picked it up as he settled carefully over her. His hips fit perfectly between the warm cradle of her thighs and Booth moaned a little into her lips as his erection rocked against the lace panties protecting her core.
"Hey," he whispered, feathering his fingers over flushed cheekbones and trying to focus her attention. Her eyes were brilliant on his and he snapped open the lid, the blue sapphire with its circle of tiny encrusted diamonds shining between them.
The question whispered along her skin, raising a trail of goosebumps up her spine. Or maybe it was the melted brown of his eyes, drawing her in, soothing and exciting at the same time.
But she knew there could only be one answer because if ever there was a reason, he was it.
"Yes." One hand threaded in his hair, bringing him down and making sure he understood her answer had nothing to do with practicality. "You're my reason."
The words she murmured into his mouth didn't quite make sense to him, but he was too busy kissing her to really care. Euphoria was flowing like a drug through him and Booth laughed out loud as he rolled with her on the bed, her body resting on top of his.
"Damn, Bones," he breathed ecstatically, slipping the ring from the box and onto her finger. "You surprise me every single day."
"It's really perfect, Booth," she stated, admiring the ring with a dreamy smile. "The setting and cut of the stones will let me wear gloves without a problem."
"I know," he chuckled, running his hands down her back and pressing open mouthed kisses on her throat. "And now I really want to see you wearing nothing but that ring."
Grasping her hips, Booth flipped them over until she was under him again. Her lips landed on his chest, tongue swirling across one small dark nipple and he let out a soft growl, tugging down her panties.
Finally, finally, they were both completely naked, skin to skin and moaning softly into each other's mouths.
"Mmm … I love you, Bones," he gasped, sliding slowly inside, savoring the exquisite feeling of perfection that always gripped him when he was in her arms like this. "God, I'm so in love with you."
"Don't ever stop," she breathed, moving perfectly in sync, meeting him stroke for stroke, hands applying pressure at the small of his back before moving down to grasp his butt firmly.
Booth groaned and buried his face between her breasts, licking the skin there and increasing the tempo of his hips. Reflexively, her fingers dug into him, encouraging the harder thrusts, the sensitive tips of her breasts scraping against his chest with every stroke.
He glided his fingertips up the sides of her body, absorbing the feel of her under his hands, before bracing his arms on the bed on either side of her and surging up. She cried out huskily, nails digging into him, teeth sinking into the chords of his neck.
"Ohhh, Bones," he moaned in utter pleasure, unraveling at the way she marked him, showing him she was out of control too. "Oh yeesss! I need you, I need you."
She clenched around him, drawing him in deeper and moaning hoarsely as he started to come inside her. The second she felt him, the hot liquid relief of him rushing inside her, Brennan shuddered and splintered. His lips found hers, tongues stroking feverishly and stoking the pleasure to a fever pitch; the taste of mutual surrender the most powerful aphrodisiac.
In the aftermath there was nothing but exhausted, sweat-slicked bodies and tangled sheets; heavy breathing and the scent of addictive sex.
Booth rolled on his back and she sprawled on top of him, head on his chest, one smooth thigh draped intimately over his. He would have been content to stay like that for the next two weeks, one hand caressing her back gently, the other absentmindedly tracing the outline of her hand splayed on his chest.
"What type of wedding do you want?" Brennan asked and his smile bloomed automatically at the question.
"One that involves you and me, Bones."
"Booth," she protested, teeth scraping slightly over the skin closest to her mouth. "I'm serious."
"So am I," he replied, tracing the ring on her finger in near awe. "As long as I'm there and you are there, whatever you want is fine with me."
"So you have no opinions, I see," she mused, resting her chin on his chest and giving him a considering look. "Well, I'm sure Angela will have plenty, I'm certain she's been planning our wedding for quite a few years now."
"Small," he blurted out, eyes widening slightly. "Small. The squint squad and our family, which is pretty small." His mind whirled with images of a mad, wedding planning Angela and he added, "Low-key, nothing crazy. Maybe outside? I don't know … if it's summer then maybe later in the day when it's not as hot." His fingers tangled in her hair and he murmured, "A nice summer breeze making your hair dance … that's a nice image."
"Mmm … so I guess you do have some thoughts on this, after all," she pointed out innocently and he narrowed his eyes on her.
"That was evil," he accused, catching her by the hips and pulling her flush on top of him, her lips hovering right over his.
Brennan laughed delightedly, running her fingers into his messy hair and scraping her tongue teasingly across his top lip. Under her tongue, his lips curved into a smile as his arms went around her, fingertips stroking the silky skin under his hands.
"You're lucky I kinda like you and I'm willing to forgive," Booth chuckled, it was impossible to even fake righteous indignation with her, soft and smiling, on top of him.
"Mm, that's very generous," she said huskily, subtly rocking against him. "I wonder what else you'd be willing to do for me."
"Anything," he gasped, tossing his head back when she sucked at the hollow of this throat. "Any damn thing for you."
"Booth," she breathed against his skin and he wound his fingers in her hair, pulling her up and crushing his mouth against her.
His eyes glittered as he looked right into hers, his voice low and dead serious.
"For you, I'd go to hell and back. For you, I'd break any rule. For you … everything I am is for you."
Her lips landed on his without hesitation. One kiss that answered him unequivocally.
Yes. Anything, everything … for you.