Just a little one-shot in response to a wonderful meme on LJ. No angst or drama here, just our favorite BB! I really hope you like it.
"Okay. Now we have to add the white sugar, fennel seed and basil leaves. You got 'em ready, Bones?"
"Yes. I'm unsure if the basil leaves have been chopped to the correct size..."
"Doesn't matter. Toss it all in there. Good. Okay then – now for the parsley, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning." Crouching down, Booth fished around in the bottom of the fridge, his broad shoulders almost disappearing completely before he re-emerged, triumphantly gripping a small fistful of green herbs. "Can you grab the other stuff for me?"
Stepping to the opposite side of the room, Brennan grimaced as she opened the cabinet door and surveyed the chaos inside. "Booth – how am I supposed to find anything in here? You don't have a spice rack, and everything is completely disorganized. You need some kind of a system in place to facilitate easier navigation."
"Don't worry about it, Bones." Stepping close behind her, he reached past her shoulder and stuck one wide palm into the abyss. His grin as he looked down at her was only slightly mischievous. "I have a system."
She twisted around, considering him for a moment before her lips twitched almost imperceptibly. "A highly-flawed system."
"Maybe." Knowing she'd be unable to resist, he stood still until she finally smiled back at him. "But I have a great deal of affection for it. My system and I, we understand each other." Before she could point out to him that a system was incapable of understanding, he presented the batch of greenery, holding it under her nose. "For you."
"For me?" Knowing better than to argue with him, she snatched the parsley from his hand and pushed past him to the counter, an amused chuckle leaving her lips. She never knew what he'd say next when he was in one of his playful moods. They'd been partners for five years and friends for almost as long. She'd learned to not only tolerate his whimsical moods but actually enjoy them. And just lately, she'd found herself looking forward to them. Just lately...she pondered the latest changes between them. Maybe not actual changes, but a hint of changes to come. The subtle flirtations between them slowly becoming less subtle. The long looks they'd always shared lasting even longer. She'd never been one for equivocating, but she'd found herself for the last little while appreciating a more...leisurely pace. Nothing had been discussed; no words had been exchanged between them. But like the feeling she got when a storm was approaching, all her senses were attuned to the increasing pressure, the heavier air between them. Change was coming. And she was starting to become impatient. Fighting the heat growing in her chest, knowing it would be reflected in her cheeks, she bent herself to the task at hand. "What do I need to do with this?"
"Same as the basil leaves. Just chop it up and toss it in."
"Booth...why didn't you tell me sooner? I could have chopped this with the basil; it would have been much more economical..."
"Aw, c'mon, Bones, I told you, I have –"
"- a system, I know. You told me that."
"It's true, though. Hey, this is how I learned to make my famous Lasagna. And now I'm passing my wisdom on to you."
She threw him her favorite sardonic look, one that seemed to have been reserved especially for him. "Thank you. I'm honored."
"Bones! Were you just sarcastic?" He mimed wiping a tear off his cheek. "I'm so proud."
"And now you're being sarcastic." Her face brightened at her accomplishment. "I'm getting better at recognizing the indicators when you employ sarcasm."
His eyes shone warmly at her. "Okay, okay. Get chopping, there."
They worked in silence for a few minutes, and as she worked the knife she was unable to avoid glancing at him now and then. At least twice she caught him quickly looking away at the last second, the last time with a small smile. Her own lips seemed determined to betray her, curving upward every time she so much as thought about him. And she thought about him quite often lately. The intellectual in her lodged a feeble protest at her juvenile behavior, but she just couldn't bring herself to care anymore. Happiness, an emotion she'd thought was gone from her forever, had come back into her life when she wasn't looking. And she was determined to hold on to it.
"You done with that yet?"
"What? Oh, yes, I'm done."
"Okay, then, toss it on in there." With a flourish he opened the pot, waiting as she meticulously brushed every last fleck of herb into the mix before replacing the lid. "And we're done."
"No, silly. Now it has to cook for a while. Around ninety minutes or so," he continued, easily anticipating her question.
"Ninety minutes? Why are we waiting so long?"
"Well, it has to simmer. And after that we have to build the lasagna and bake it."
"Well, because it tastes better after it simmers." Wiping his hands on the edge of his apron, he leaned back against the counter. "Why so many questions, Bones?"
"It smells delicious...and I'm hungry. I'm sure it would taste good if we ate it now." As if attesting to the truth of her statement, her stomach growled audibly.
Chuckling merrily, he reached into the refrigerator again, pulling out a plate with slices of cheese neatly arranged. "Don't worry, I anticipated that. Have you forgotten who you're talking to, here?"
"Oh yes. What was it that Cam called you? A bottomless hole?"
He could see by the twinkling in her eye that she'd deliberately botched the phrase. "Ha ha, Bones. C'mon, let's go relax and watch some TV for a while. Grab the crackers and we'll take a load off for a bit." He'd barely reached the doorway when her voice stopped him.
"Why are we waiting so long?"
Turning back to her, he studied her carefully. The high splashes of color on her cheeks. The unmistakably hungry tilt to her mouth and the wide, earnest blue of her eyes. His own stare darkened as he walked back to her, stopping only inches away. Before he could answer her she spoke again.
"Why are we waiting so long? It would be good now. I'm confused."
His long fingers twined with hers, his thumb stroking her palm. "Well, yeah. It would be good now. But if we give it just the right amount of time, it'll be so much better." Knowing smile firmly in place, he tilted his head, his body inching infinitesimally closer. "It'll be perfect."
Lost in him, she was frozen in place, absorbing the heat from his imposing frame, the scent of herbs and spices - and man - radiating from him. A slow, uncertain half-smile flitted across her face. "You're sure."
"I'm sure. Besides, you have to listen to the apron. The apron's always right." Watching her, he nodded after a moment and began to undo the apron tie at his waist, apparently satisfied with what he saw. "So. You wanna go check out the game?" Another big grin flashed at her. "I know how much you love hockey."
"I'm not going to watch hockey, Booth. You can check the scores, but then we have to find something else to watch." She easily caught his apron as he playfully tossed it at her, grateful to him for giving her a moment, for lightening the mood. A shaky breath escaped her. He'd said lasagna was his specialty, and maybe he was right. But what she knew without a doubt was that early on in their relationship, she had become his specialty, too. Bolstered by his certainty, she nodded with determination. She could do it. She could listen to the apron. Her fingers traced lightly over the whimsical phrase sewn onto the apron bib before she set it aside and started after him.
The neon lettering stood out in stark contrast against the dark apron fabric, the bright phrase seeming to vibrate in the sudden stillness of the room.
TRUST THE CHEF
Well, that's it - like I said, just a little bit of happy between our two favorite people. Thanks so much for reading!