A/N- This story picks up where "The Story in the Truth" left off… in fact two days later. I really appreciate the response to the original story, and I hope you enjoy this continuation. As always, your reviews mean a lot, so please let me know what you think!
Chapter 1 – Traditions
"That's it!" Seeley Booth exclaimed, dragging his partner by the hand.
"Slow down, Booth," Brennan called out through her giggles.
That was a sound he thought he'd never get used to. In the seven months since they'd returned from their separate sabbaticals and decided that they wanted a romantic relationship, hearing Temperance Brennan actually giggle with happiness had become his favorite sound.
"Sorry, Bones," he said as he pulled her up beside him. "But this is it. It's perfect."
"It is beautiful," she answered as she looked up at the majestic spruce, her breath showing in the crisp morning air.
"You like it?"
"Yes," she said, nodding. "You're right, it's the one. What do we do now?"
"What do you mean?"
"Booth," she said. "I've never done this before, how to do we get it home?"
"You've never picked out a Christmas tree?"
"No," she answered. "Dad and Russ always went out to get the tree while Mom and I got the decorations ready."
He wrapped his arms around her and leaned in to kiss her temple. Sometimes, it still got to him… all the things she'd missed out on in her teen years. He wanted to make up for all of it. He wanted to give her the world-starting with Christmas traditions of their own.
"Well then," he said softly. "We'll just have to make this a new family tradition."
"You and me?" she asked with a smile. "Choosing our own Christmas tree?"
"Yep," he said.
"And next week when you have Parker, we can do it again," she replied, smiling.
"Yes," she answered. "This one for my place, and we'll take Parker to choose one for yours."
"Two trees, Bones?" he asked. "Isn't that a little excessive?"
"While it's true that you spend most nights at my apartment," she said, "you're not there every night. I know how much the holidays mean to you… and to Parker. It's only right that we decorate both apartments."
He couldn't disagree with her logic…but then again, he rarely could.
"So," she said, getting back to her original question. "What do we do now?"
"We find the attendant and buy this tree," he said. "You stay here, and don't let anyone take it. I'll be right back with the guy."
He laughed as she smiled and gave him a military-style salute.
Before long, the tree was strapped to the top of the SUV and they were slowly making their way through the ice-covered streets of DC.
"Isn't the craft fair at Parker's school this weekend?" she asked.
"I don't know, why?"
"Well, I thought it might be a nice addition to our new Christmas traditions," she said. "Perhaps we can choose some handmade decorations to start our collection."
He thought back to their discussion when he'd convinced her to go out and pick a tree for her apartment. She'd told him that she didn't really have any Christmas decorations since she hadn't celebrated the holiday much since her parents disappeared.
"I'll bring over some of my special ones," he'd told her. Every year, Parker made him an ornament to add to the tree and he had some from his own childhood that Pops had saved for him. "And maybe we can pick out some new ones together."
"That's a great idea, baby," he said. "Let's get this tree home and set up. We can check it out and it if it is time for the craft show, we can head over there."
He felt warm all over when a huge smile spread across her face.
"Maybe Rebecca would even let us take Parker with us, since it is an event for his school," she suggested.
"She might," he answered. "I'll give her a call."
"Okay, bub. Do we have everything?" Booth asked, surveying the boxes of lights decorations that were strewn about his partner's living room.
"I think so," Parker answered.
"Lights?" Booth asked.
"Check," Parker answered.
"Check. We have the box from your house and the ones that you and Bones just got."
"Then I think we're ready to get started."
"Not so fast, boys," Brennan said. She was leaning against the doorframe to the hallway.
"Why, Bones?" Parker asked. "We got everything we need to decorate your tree. We were just missing you!"
"What's that behind your back?" Booth asked.
She bit her lip as she walked over to join the boys in her living room. She handed Booth the box in question.
"What's this?" he asked.
"My contribution," she said. "My dad gave this to me a couple of years ago. Open it."
Booth took the lid off the box to find what he assumed were the remnants of her childhood Christmases. There were a few handmade ornaments as well as some really beautiful antique glass bulbs.
He took out a beautiful silver star tree topper and held it up.
"This is gorgeous, Bones," he said.
"It was my mother's," she answered. "From when she was a little girl. When we were finished decorating the tree, my dad would hold me up and I'd place it on the top. I couldn't believe my dad kept it."
Booth leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips.
"That's a tradition we can continue," he said.
The three of them had a great time decorating the tree. It was the perfect blend of past, present and future. All too soon, it was finished and it was time to get Parker back home to Rebecca's. She'd allowed him to go with them to the craft fair and stay for dinner and decorating, but he had to be home before bedtime. She didn't want him cranky when she and Drew took him to pick out their tree in the morning.
Later that evening, Brennan leaned back into the cradle of Booth's embrace, as they sat on the couch basking in the sparkle of the tree.
"Thank you for today," she said.
"Thank you," he replied with a kiss to her temple. "Thanks for making sure Parker was included."
"You said it was a family tradition," she answered simply. "Parker is a part of that. A big part."
"You really consider him family, don't you?"
"Of course I do," she answered, surprised that he seemed surprised. "He's your son. If we're a family, he is a part of it."
"I think it was a perfect day," he said, pulling her even closer.
"Almost," she said.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, Parker kept calling it my tree," she said. "Not our tree."
"I guess that's because this is your place, baby," he said. "Even though we spend a lot of time here, he still thinks of my place as home."
"Would he think of this as home if you lived here all the time?"
He sat up straighter and looked at her.
"Are you asking what I think you're asking?" he said.
"Move in with me," she answered.
"Yes," she said, nodding.
"Are you sure?"
"I am. We have been together more than half a year, and we spend most nights together anyway," she said logically. "And if I'm being honest, I don't sleep as well when we're apart."
"Neither do I," he admitted. "So, when would we do this?"
"Right away," she answered, never one to waiver once she'd made a decision. "Cullen told you that you could take the next two weeks off to prepare to transition into your new position. I have plenty of vacation time accrued, so we could take of starting tomorrow until after New Years. We finished shopping for Parker's gifts yesterday, so we don't really have anything else scheduled…"
She paused, looking up to see if she could gauge his reaction. She still wasn't always very good at reading people, but most of the time, she knew Booth the way she knew her bones. This wasn't one of those times, his face bore no indication of what he might be thinking. This made her nervous.
"But if you don't want to, or it's too much once with the new job and all…"
He stopped her babbling with a passionate kiss. She turned in his arms to settle more comfortably into the kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck as his tightened around her waist.
"Of course I want to," he said, breathless as they broke the kiss. "In fact, I was thinking about how the timing couldn't be better. I was supposed to sign my new lease at the first of the year, so now is a great time to get out of it. And I think that our moving in together at the same time as we transition into our new positions is actually perfect. It's like a fresh start to our new life together."
He sat back again, pulling her close as he looked over to the tree. He was holding in his arms his very own Christmas miracle. Even though it had been seven months since they'd gotten back and gotten together, he occasionally had to remind himself that it was really happening. He was amazed at how much his partner had begun opening up to the concept of forever. He knew that she was still frightened, but she loved him more than she was scared and that was an incredible feeling. He couldn't believe that she'd really just asked him to move in with her. He'd wanted them to live together for a while, but he didn't want to push her by bringing it up. He was amazed that she'd been the one to do the asking.
He knew the perfect way to celebrate. Standing up, he reached out his hand to her and she took it. No more words were needed as he led her down the hall to their bedroom.
"What did Cam say?" Booth asked, pouring Brennan a cup of coffee as she walked into the kitchen.
"She was surprised," she answered. "Not only is it unusual that I requested vacation time, but I think for me to do so without notice caught her off guard. She said it wouldn't be a problem, though. It helps that I'm not really involved in the FBI cases at the moment, I think. Did you talk to Cullen?"
"Yep, we're good to go," he said. "What do you want to do first?"
"I think we need to go over to your apartment and start sorting through things," she answered, sipping her coffee.
"Sorting through things?" he asked with just a hint of trepidation.
"Of course, Booth," she said. "You have an apartment full of things; I have an apartment full of things. Everything isn't going to fit. First we have to decide which of your things you need to bring, and then we'll make room for them by seeing which of my things need to go."
She smiled as she saw the relief that came over his face.
"What?" she asked. "Did you think that I intended for you to just get rid of all your things? That wouldn't make sense."
She set down her coffee cup and walked over to him. She took his cup and set it down on the counter he was leaning on. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she leaned in to him. He followed her lead and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Baby, I want this to be our home," she said quietly. "I don't want you to feel like you're a guest or that you're living in my place."
"I know," he answered. "And that means a lot, Bones. I'm just so happy," he said. "I'm sure we can find a way to make it work."
He knew they would; most of the stuff he used regularly was here already. Her guest room had already been turned into Parker's room, and he had more things here than he did at the other apartment. There were things that he'd like to bring out to display, like some of his sports memorabilia, that he was pretty sure she would want to veto, but he was willing to do pretty much whatever it took to make her happy, so in the end he guessed it didn't really matter.
After a trip to the local U-haul office to pick up boxes and arrange for a moving truck, and a stop off at the diner for a take-out lunch, they arrived at Booth's apartment.
"Maybe we should start in Parker's room," he said. "Most of his stuff is at your place already. We can pack up the rest and go ahead and take it over today."
"Okay," she answered. "Then we should do your room. I know that most of what you use is already moved, but we'll need to go through what you still have here. Is there anything that you don't need?" she asked. "Anything you might want to get rid of?"
He looked at her skeptically.
"Not saying you have to, just that if there is something it would be easier to get rid of it from here rather than moving it and then having to decide what to do with it."
"Yeah, that makes sense," he said. He figured he'd start with the boxes that hadn't been emptied since he'd moved into the place. If he hadn't used it in years, he probably never would.
"If we plan it out and stick to the plan," she said, we can have this done within the week. It would be nice to have it all finished when we have everyone over for Christmas dinner on Sunday."