Hello. Sorry if this comes as a surprise, but this is the last chapter! 30 is a nice even number to end on, so I made it a little longer to include what I wanted. Thank you, everyone, for reading and reviewing.
Please drop me one last line there at the end. This is the longest story chapter-wise I've ever written and I did it in less than two months, which was a big change for me. Let me know what you thought. Thanks again for reading.
She still didn't understand certain things. She was still slightly awkward and very opinionated. She was still rational. She was still frustratingly brilliant.
They were still equals. Partners, as they were in everything.
As Brennan lulled pleasantly between the realms of consciousness and dreaming, she felt his arm lazily draped over her side.
That was the difference.
She rolled over, into his sleeping form. She burrowed her way between his arms and laid her head eye-level with his. She watched him, waiting for him to wake up.
He hated it when she did this. She knew that all too well. She still thought it was funny.
Unsure how much time was passing, she waited, still not completely out of the dream world herself. The sun shone in through the window on his side of the bed and the world of late Saturday mornings continued outside without them.
Brennan loved the fact that she felt no pressing need to be at the Lab. Not today, anyway.
"JESUS, Bones!" Booth gasped the moment he had woken up. Her laugher rang throughout her apartment. "Don't do that!"
Brennan rolled on top of him and kissed him sweetly. "Good morning," she sang in response.
"Good morning," he grumbled. "Oh woman I love so dearly."
"Guess what," she said, kissing him again. He didn't kiss her back, still irritated with her and that creepy thing she did that she thought was oh-so-hilarious.
"You have to guess."
"I don't want to, Bones. Just tell me."
She sat up straight, still straddling him. She looked a little confused. "Are you mad at me?"
Booth sighed, his hands resting on her thighs. "No, Bones, I'm not mad at you. But you know that I hate it when you do that."
"But it's funny," she said sadly in her defense.
"Yeah, for you."
"Should I stop?"
Brennan leaned forward again, folding her arms across his chest and resting her chin on her arms. "What do you want to do today?" she asked.
Booth finally smiled. "I'm comfy here."
"But it's a beautiful day outside."
"So?" he asked, running his fingers through her hair. "We've already slept most of it away anyway. And it will probably be a beautiful day tomorrow, too," he reasoned with her.
She sighed in resignation. Booth reached up and kissed her, slowly rolling her over onto her back. They didn't leave the house all day.
Booth sauntered into her office. Thursday night was always date night for them. His shirt collar was unbuttoned, his slacks low on his hips as he leaned against the doorway as she packed up her things. She had dressed up for him, too, but she didn't notice him watching her.
She turned, unaware of his presence, to her office door and started at the sight of him. Her shock was wordless but he knew he had surprised her.
"See how creepy that is?" he asked with a smile as he walked towards her. "You look nice," he observed as he leaned forward to kiss her. "Mm, and you smell nice too."
"You like it?" she asked, pleased.
"Of course I like it. It's on you," he said kissing her neck where it smelled the most delicious. "I'd like skunk on you."
She laughed a sultry laugh that he could feel in her throat as he kissed her. "I'm fairly certain you wouldn't."
"You'd be like my camping-Bones," he said, pulling back and smiling at her, his arms still wrapped around her. "I won't shave or shower ever again and we can live in a one-room cabin and I'll hunt deer with my sniper rifle."
"You would enjoy that?" she asked, skeptical.
"Getting to shoot things without having to fill out a stack of paperwork every time would be a nice change. And do you think I like wearing a suit every day?"
"I like you wearing a suit every day," she said as she slipped out of his arms to pick up the rest of her things.
He just laughed at her, know exactly what she meant by that. "You're horrible."
"What? I'm just saying."
"Yeah, whatever Bones. Come on, we have to hurry," he urged her, holding out her jacket for her to slip into. He kissed her again once her jacket was on. "You really do smell very good, though."
"Nothing like skunk?"
"Absolutely nothing like skunk," he said with another laugh. "Come on." He put his arm around her and led her out of her office, smiling to himself. It was totally random, totally pointless, but these little conversations made him fall in love with her more and more each day.
"What do you think is the probability that we'll split up?" Brennan asked suddenly right after they got their food.
Booth, his mouth full, was startled by her question. "What? What do you mean? As partners?"
"No, of course not. Our success rate is too high for that. The FBI isn't that stupid."
"Thanks, for that," he said sarcastically.
"No, I meant like this. As a couple." She was so straight-forward about it, it was off-putting. Booth took a second to remind himself that's why he loved her.
"Why?" he asked cautiously.
She hesitated. "Do you promise not to laugh?"
"I've been thinking about seeing other people—"
Booth nearly spat out his food. "Excuse me?" he asked, angry at the very suggestion of the idea.
"No, Booth, will you let me finish?"
"This had better be going somewhere good."
"I've been thinking about what it would be like to see other people at this point, and it occurred to me that I have absolutely no desire to date and/or have sex with anyone else."
"Why would I laugh at that? That is singularly not-funny."
"I said I don't want to see other people."
"Still. The idea of it. I can't…don't say stuff like that."
Brennan's brow furrowed, trying to figure out what he was trying to say. "Do you want to date other people?" she asked, trying to hide the hurt in her voice.
"What? No. God no. How could you even—No. Never." He had finally managed to swallow his food.
"Then I don't understand what you're trying to say."
"I just don't like the idea of anyone else, ever, touching you. Thinking about touching you. It bothered me before and it most certainly bothers me now," he explained.
"Why?" she asked, though they both knew she knew the answer already.
"Because I'm an alpha male and I'm very possessive. Protective. And rightfully so," he said almost darkly.
"What do you mean, 'rightfully so'?"
Booth leaned into her. "Because given the chance, any guy would love to get his hands on you."
"Because I'm beautiful and very good at sex," she stated. It was a fact they both knew all too well.
"Yes, and you're intelligent and wonderful and surprising. But you're mine."
Brennan sighed. "You can't just claim me, Booth."
Booth smiled wide, satisfied. "I didn't have to. You decided that you were mine. All on your own, my brilliant and beautiful anthropologist." He leaned in and kissed her softly.
"I suppose I did. Which is what I was trying to say earlier."
"That I could imagine myself being with you for the rest of my life…and being happy. Completely satisfied. With just you."
He smiled, leaning back in pride. "Then I'm glad we're on the same page."
"You want to be with me? Forever?"
"There has never been a doubt in my mind," he said seriously. "I'm madly in love with you, Bones. And that's never going to change."
Brennan smiled, thinking for a moment. "Would you like to get married?"
The question put Booth on guard. He knew her opinions on the subject, but still he couldn't help but answer honestly. "Of course I would. But I'm okay without it. I don't need you to marry me."
"But you want me to."
"Want you to what?"
"To marry you."
"If this were only about what I wanted, yes. But it's not. I get that."
"Well, we've established that we're not looking for anyone else."
"Yes…" Booth said slowly, trying to figure out where she was going with this.
"Then, if you want to get married, I'd be okay with that."
"What? Really?" he nearly choked in surprise.
Booth smiled wide. "Say it," he said, leaning forward again.
"Come on, Booth, really?"
He came incredibly close to her face, close enough that she could kiss him if she wanted, but when she tired, he pulled back slightly. "Say it." His warm breath danced across her face.
"Do you want me to get down on one knee?" she asked sarcastically.
"I won't require that." His breath and his lips teased her all the more.
"Seeley Booth, will you marry me?" she asked, dark and smoky.
He smiled, and got even closer. "Say it again."
"Marry me, Booth."
"If you insist," he said happily, closing the few centimeters between them and kissing her again.
Champagne flutes clinked together as the guests laughed and celebrated, waiting for the newly married couple to arrive at the reception.
The couple sat in the limousine for a few minutes, not wanting to join the party before they had a small chance to celebrate themselves. But they were still them, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that they were arguing.
"I'm positive, Bones!" he was trying to convince her.
"Because I could have, if you really wanted me to."
"I know. I get it. But you don't have to. You're a best-selling author. You're a published scientist. You've gotta keep the last name. I don't mind," he stressed. Again.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes!" he had told her so a hundred times when she had initially made the decision a few weeks ago. But she was till worried that it bothered him. "There's a ring on your finger, Bones. You're mine forever. And 'Doctor Temperance Booth' just sounds weird anyway."
She moved to sit herself in his lap, covering him with layers of white fabric and lace. "Doctor Temperance Brennan-Booth, forensic anthropologist," she said, kissing the side of his face multiple times. "Scientist, crime-fighter and wife."
"Mm," Booth nearly growled as she continued to kiss him. "I like the sound of that. The last one is my favorite."
"Is it?" she asked alluringly. "Dear husband?"
"That one's even better."
Brennan hurried off of him. "Come on. We have a party to get to."
"It's the same general idea of frivolity and celebration, right?"
"It's a wedding. So it's called a reception," he said as he followed her out of the limo. "It's better because we're married at this party."
They were greeted with applause as they stepped into the ballroom crowded with friends and family and co-workers and the people who fell into all three categories. They shook hands and kissed cheeks and smiled and accepted congratulations.
Occasionally, the glasses would all clink and they'd run at each other, landing in a comfortable kiss.
"…Bren and Booth have been dancing around each other for a long time, and while it frustrated me to no end then, I'm glad they waited. I'm so happy for you guys," Angela finished, the last to make a toast.
From across the room, Sully raised his glass to them, met both of their glances. He smiled. And then he was gone.
Cam sighed contentedly in her place at the wedding party table. Finally, the madness was behind them all.
Angela and Hodgins were already slightly tipsy, kissing, and laughing their asses off because of it. They hoped with all their hearts that Booth and Brennan would find the same happiness they had.
Sweets sat back with his arms folded across his chest, a stupid grin on his face.
They had all been right to leave them to flounder. It had been right to just sit back and watch, though at times it was difficult. But no one could have saved them. No one but the two of them could have gotten them to this point.
And they hadn't just survived. They now thrived.
Brennan and Booth didn't dance in the innocent joy of being in love, though. They celebrated in the sacrifices it took and the road they'd traveled to get there. They were aware of the prices they'd paid and the consequences they'd face.
Brennan looked up into her husband's eyes and kissed him for the fun of it. She smiled at him and her eyes sparkled with the knowledge that he was absolutely, one-hundred percent, completely hers. Even though the thought was redundant.
Booth kissed his wife in complete adoration. Sure, having her at all was wonderful, and having her commit to him like she had was mind-blowing…but marrying her was something he never thought he'd do. He'd wanted to, but it had always been an unreachable fantasy.
It had taken two hundred seventy-two days of unrest, but here they were.
Here she was, in his arms, married to him of her own volition, dressed in white at his request.
They knew it wasn't happily ever after. Neither of them believed in that.
But it was so very, very close.