Title: Learning Curves
Rating: Happily M for awesome sexytiemz
Summary: Brennan has always insisted that she had a steep learning curve - but does that apply to dating Booth? Spoilers for Season 6 and much speculation as well.
Spoilers: Only for the speculation surrounding Season 6. This fic will not deal with the events in 06x01 The Mastodon in the Room onwards. If you want to know what happened to the Hannah in my story, you can read "A Love Warm and Bright", which precedes this one.
Disclaimer: Bones does not belong to me. It belongs to Hart Hanson, FOX and various other affiliates
Author's Notes: See, it didn't take so long this time around, didn't it? :) I guess I was simply encouraged by last week's episode, you know, the one without Li'l Miss Hannah. *shudder* Now the name has absolutely no positive connotation for me anymore. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little piece of fluff - Booth and Brennan move in. Or do they?
Every Piece In Its Rightful Place
Brennan sat, Indian-style, in front of her coffee table. In front of her was a crisp sheet of legal paper and her favorite ink pen with the sharp metal nub that her father had given her two Christmases ago. The lights around the living room was dimmed almost to the point of darkness, and strains of jazz from the sound system filtered throughout the room. A half-finished glass of Moscato d'Asti sat by her elbow, beads of condensation clinging to the curve of the glass. Blankly, she stared at the piece of paper. She was supposed to be writing down which items were going to storage, which items she was bringing to the new townhouse, and which ones she was giving away to charity. But somehow, the decision felt heavy on her shoulders. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. This was supposed to be logical, simple - they were simply pieces of furniture. She should be able to sort this out.
Perhaps the issue was really the fact that she was, by all intents and purposes, hesitant of moving in with Booth. Of course, she attributed it to the heat of the moment at that time of the proposal. Emotions had gotten the better of her, and while she was too stubborn to back down, she left him with the responsibility of finding a new place, contacting a suitable real estate agent, and organizing the move. He had been quite willing to do his fair share and ask her opinion for everything from distance to the color of the walls, but at the end of the day, she had thrown herself into her work and left him with all the distant details. She wasn't proud of herself for that - even she was aware of what she was doing - but as Booth hadn't called her out on her behavior, she wasn't going to change anything.
Maybe that was the problem, she mused. She was still not at ease with changes in her life. Sure, the move from being simply partners to becoming romantically involved might seem rushed to some, but they had been dancing around each other for almost a decade before she had decided that what she was feeling wasn't a simple case of lust; it was a deep, abiding respect, admiration, and a great deal of care for the man behind the badge and the gun. But she was still, by nature, a solitary individual, and the last time she had co-habited with someone (and why she would never date psychologists anymore; Peter was a lesson worth learning), she had shattered his TV with a baseball bat.
Booth had already informed her that the movers would be swinging by her place in less than a week's time. Their final choice (his final choice, come to think of it) was a cozy townhouse at Mount Pleasant by Dupont Circle. The old-style red brick facade mirrored her current apartment block, except that now, they also owned a small front yard, a rather spacious backyard, and a proper living room. She had simply signed her name on the lease when prompted, handed over her share of the rent, and informed him that a fifteenth-century skeleton unearthed in Scotland was being shipped over for authentication. Thinking back, she thought that she had been treating him rather callously for the past month - ever since the decision to move in together had been finalized.
It wasn't that she didn't love him. She made her feelings on the matter rather clear, both physically and emotionally. But somehow, the thought of making such a significant commitment to him left her with a bitter taste in her mouth. What if he didn't like the fact that she habitually woke up before dawn to practice yoga, or that she enjoyed being left alone in her study for hours, or that the reason that she disliked the television was because of the erroneous information on the Discovery Channel? And what if - what if he finally realized that she was not the type of woman to cook and clean and wait for her partner to come home - and what if - what if he realized that that was what he wanted? Oh, he would drop her like a hot potato and go find Suzy Homemaker.
A vigorous knock on her door jolted her out of her reverie. Quickly, she uncrossed her legs and padded barefoot to the entrance, peering into the fish-eye to check who was behind the solid teak panel. Obviously, she already knew that Booth was the only one who would visit her at one in the morning, but it never hurt her to be careful. Once she was certain, she unlocked the door and slid the deadbolt out of its niche. "Hey," she said softly, ushering him in.
"Hey there." Booth leaned against the door frame, hands inside the pockets of his jeans, his familiar brown leather jacket molded perfectly around his shoulders and arms. He held up his car keys and dangled them in front of her. "Want to go for a drive?"
"It's past midnight, Booth. Aren't you tired?"
"I'm a bundle of energy, Bones." He gave her his patented smile, knowing that it worked equally well with both murder suspects and stubborn forensic anthropologists. "Come on, Bones, it's been a long week and we both deserve a nightcap."
"A nightcap that could be served in either of our apartments and quite possibly leading to sexual intercourse and a good night's sleep." She raised an eyebrow. "Why are you really here, Booth?"
"Can't a guy just see his girlfriend on a Friday night?"
"Not if this guy has something up his sleeves."
"Hey, you got that right!"
"I'm only socially inept, Booth, which is something I'm aware of. I'm not stupid." She rolled her eyes at him.
"I never said you were." He reached out and gently stroked her arm. "Come on, Bones. Just one drink."
She sighed. He was right. They've had a long week, with one case chasing the heels of the next, and several museum projects that she'd spent hours poring over, not to mention the reams of paperwork that had currently taken over her desk. "Let me grab my coat and purse, and we'll head out."
Booth nodded, giving her an appreciative once-over. She was wearing her most comfortable pair of jeans and a long-sleeved lace top that covered just enough of her skin while hugging her curves in such a way that he was itching to wrap his arms around her waist and never let go. "You look fine, babe. Come on. The sooner we go out, the sooner we can get back home."
Giving him a swift smile, Brennan unhooked her favorite white coat off the rack, grabbed her purse and keys from the counter, and followed Booth down the hall and out of the apartment. She hated to admit it, but she did miss his company for the past few days - they were only able to see each other in the context of work, and while there were fleeting kisses and phone calls in the middle of the night, for the most part, they were being run ragged by their careers. She leaned against his reassuring bulk as they headed down the elevator lobby and made their way to the parking lot, feeling infinitely better once his arm was around her shoulders, keeping her close to him.
It was a quiet drive as they made their way towards downtown Washington, the SUV moving swiftly down the slick asphalt, still damp and shining after a short evening shower. Brennan fidgeted with her purse, the seatbelt across her chest, even reaching over to the center console to fiddle with the radio station dial. Finally, when she had realized that they were neither heading towards the Founding Fathers nor the diner, she spared a glance at his shadowed profile. "Where are we going, Booth?"
He gave her a wink and a grin. "It's a familiar place, Bones. Don't worry."
The SUV swung around Dupont Circle and Brennan recognized the elegant wainscoting and familiar wrought-iron streetlamps. "Booth, you didn't have to - "
"Hey, come on. I have the keys already and we've signed the lease. Technically, it's ours." He parked on the curb just outside the townhouse, and gestured for her to join him as he hopped out of the car. She made her way slowly to the sidewalk, looking up at the townhouse hesitantly. The pale white-framed windows seemed to peer out at her from the trees, and she leaned back against the SUV as Booth rummaged around the back of the vehicle, finally producing a blanket, a bottle of the rich red wine she loved so much, and two wine glasses.
They made their way up the porch and Booth turned the key into the lock and nudged the door smoothly. "Mi casa e su casa," he said.
Brennan tried to hide a smile. "I would think that would be the case, as I own half of it."
He ushered her into the darkened living room. The bare hardwood floors were polished and smooth, and the tall windows streamed in pale white lamplight from the sidewalk, cutting squares of light and shadow across the floor and walls. A fireplace, framed in rough-hewn stones and with an elegant wrought-iron grill, gaped at them from the far end of the wall. Booth spread the blanket on the floor and laid down the wine and glasses on top of the cloth. Brennan stood uneasily at the door, arms crossed over her chest, not wanting to make the first move. Looking at her, he toed off his shoes and settled, cross-legged on the blanket, reaching out one hand to her in an invitation.
She sat opposite him, allowing the bottle and glasses to serve as her walls. He poured them each a generous serving of the wine and raised it up for a toast. "What are we celebrating tonight, Bones?"
Looking at him, at his open smile, the wine shimmering in the glass like freshly-decanted blood, she could feel the words clawing out of her throat, past her lips. "I don't want to move in," she blurted out, terrified.
He placed his glass down on the blanket and cocked his head slightly, as though he was looking at her through the other side of the FBI interrogation room. "I know."
"Look, Bones, if you were really, totally, 100% into this move, you would have wanted to be there for everything - looking at places, checking out everything from the plumbing to the building plans, and you would certainly have accompanied me to the realtor's office to drop off the papers. Plus, you were always heading off to either bone storage or the platform whenever I would drop by the lab, which meant that whatever you wanted to talk about would have to be within the context of work." His face fell slightly. "Also, you didn't want to spend time at my place, and you didn't invite me over to yours this entire week."
"You never needed an invitation before."
"Yes, but I also know that if you were really into this project, you would have started packing. I remember when you left for the Maluku project - your stuff was in storage at least three weeks before your flight was scheduled to leave."
She lowered her gaze. "I told you I'm no good at the relationship stuff, Booth. Maybe you should've - "
He reached over and pressed a finger to her lips. "No. I don't regret being with you one single second. And no, I did not want to stay with Hannah. You know that, she knows that, I know that. I'm certain you had very strong feelings for Sully when you were together; I had very strong feelings for Hannah when we were together. But I love you, Temperance Brennan, and if you run away to the ends of the earth, I will follow you even before the words 'trans-Pacific monsoon winds' leave your lips. All right?"
For the first time that evening, she gave him a genuine smile. "There's no such thing as trans-Pacific monsoon winds, Booth."
"I know you'd get your squint on."
She reached down to take a small sip of her wine, allowing the rich, deep flavor of the grapes to explode in her mouth, coat her tongue. "I... I'm just having a difficult time processing this."
"Let me help you, Bones. I want to help you. Just say the word and we'll back out of the lease - of course, I need to tell Parker he won't be having a new room anymore, and man, I'll need to do some serious begging with my landlord to let me re-sign my apartment - but whatever, I'll work out the details." He reached over and entwined his fingers with hers. "Tell me. Please."
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
He laughed. "Out of everything you could have picked on, you picked on that?"
"Yes!" Exasperated, she jumped up from the blanket and paced the length of the empty room. "If I was in your position, I would have been furious that you were backing out of what was supposed to be a joint decision - one that was amenable to both parties. I would have been livid that you decided to tell me just before we were supposed to pack everything up in boxes and cart them over here. I would have told you, in no uncertain terms, that we are a team, that we are partners, and we do things together because that is what happens when two people in a relationship makes a joint decision." She huffed at him. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"
The corners of his eyes crinkled in amusement. "Seems like you scolded yourself pretty good right there, Bones." He stood up and walked over to where she was, slipping his arms around her waist and pulling her flush against him. "Look," he said, looking into her eyes, shining like an endless ocean of blue, "I know this is scary for you. I know that you think that once I found out all your dirty little secrets, I'd break up with you and find someone else. But Bones - I've shared a room with you in Vegas, and again a trailer in the middle of nowhere with just one bed between us, and I've seen you - all of you, might I add, and I'm being metaphorical here - when we were in New York. Not to mention staying over at each other's place all the time, and this was even before we were together, and so I know you, Bones, and I will, ever ask you to change who you are. I don't care whether you listen to African mating chants to unwind or you keep your disgusting tofu in the fridge because, let's face, I've been keeping disgusting tofu in my fridge for years now." He shrugged, sweeping back an errant lock of her hair behind her ear. "I am happy with who you are, Bones, and it would be both my pleasure and my privilege to live with you."
They were silent for awhile - her head tucked against his chest, his arms tight around her waist. For a moment, Booth thought that she would run away again - and he wasn't kidding, he'd follow her anywhere, quit his job at the Bureau, hop on a plane and track her down. But he felt her sigh deeply and tighten her embrace around him. There was relief in the air, a kind of loosening of tense muscles, tense thoughts. He bent down and pressed a kiss against her hair.
"I'm sorry," she whispered against his shirt. "What I was experiencing was irrational."
"Well, you're bound to be irrational every once in awhile, Bones. You're not a robot. And remember what happens when you allow irrefutable logic to take over your life?" They were quiet for a moment, remembering Zach. "Now, why don't you come with me? We can go around the house."
Picking up their respective wine glasses, Brennan and Booth wandered down the hallway. "I figured you would want this as your office," Booth said, gesturing to a smaller room off the hallway, away from the kitchen and dining areas. Everything was done in creams and whites, the woodwork dark and gleaming. She peered into the room, noting the built-in bookshelves and glass-covered cabinets that would be perfect for her artifacts. The kitchen flowed into the dining room, and a cozy breakfast nook was tucked into the corner, providing a perfect view of the climbing vines that decorated the back fence. They had enough space for her sofa and his armchairs, and a long blank wall was the best place to mount the tail-end of the plane that he had decorating his wall back at his apartment.
Strange lights filtered through the bare windows, coupled with the shadows of the trees outside the house, made Brennan feel as though they were underwater. There were three bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs - the master suite was bigger than her own bedroom, and the bathroom boasted the luxury of a bathtub and separate shower stall, as well as his-and-hers sinks and separate wardrobes. Parker's room had a view of the yard outside, and they decided to use the extra room as a guest bedroom, whose bathroom was connected to the one Parker would be using. As Booth regaled her with plans about where to put his collection of antique clocks and his hockey trophies ("They won't belong in that museum shelf where your artifacts will be stored, Bones."), his arm slung around her shoulder, she suddenly felt... calm. She took a deep, cleansing breath. The niggling worry, the nervousness that seemed to have invaded her body and mind was gone, to be replaced with something - almost, but not quite - something close to the feeling of safety. Of comfort. Of home.
They wandered back down to the living room, where the blanket was still spread out, rumpled, on the bare floor, and the half-finished bottle of wine guarding the space. Brennan stretched out on the blanket, her fingers releasing the wineglass stem, and reached up to pull Booth down for a kiss. After a week of not being certain of where she stood, of vacillating back and forth between wanting to stay and wanting to run away, she was surprised that she felt so... centered. Her arms were around his shoulders, knees tightly around his hips, ankles crossed at the small of his back. He was stable and warm in her arms, and his tongue laved over hers gently, lovingly, telling her with each heady stroke that he loved her here - and here - and here -
He gently removed her blouse, his tongue writing love letters across her skin, lips punctuating each sentence with a kiss. She was molten glass in his hands, continually molded, fragile and beautiful and shining in the pale, undulating light. Her eyes were shimmering, glass-blown, blue heat. She peeled off his own shirt, running her hands across his musculature, her nails scraping lightly across his back as Booth bent down and traced the lace edging of her bra with his tongue. She shivered in his arms, feeling her body respond to his as he flicked the clasp of her bra and slowly, almost reverently, removed it from her body. His hands encircled her breasts as his lips gave name to all the secret places of her body, his teeth running across the sensitive, pebbled surface of her nipples. "Booth..." she insisted, barely recognizing the voice as her own. "Somebody will see."
"This is our house, Bones," he growled, strong arms supporting her body as he traveled across the pale, smooth surface of her belly. "We're just christening this room early."
She gave him a languid smile. "You mean - ?"
"Making love in each part of the house?"
A touch of laughter came to Booth's gaze. "Well, maybe except Parker's room. I don't want him to be scarred for life."
She chuckled, propping herself up on her elbows as Booth made short work of her button-down jeans. She bit back a moan as he hooked his thumbs at the edge of her underwear and slid them down her legs, throwing her head back as his teeth sank into the sensitive flesh of her inner thighs, his tongue soothing the bite mark, pain and pleasure mingling throughout her body. Pulling himself up, Booth kissed her deeply, tasting of wine and arousal. She pushed down his own jeans, half-blind with lust and want, and between the two of them, they managed to get Booth's pants and boxers down to his ankles, where he kicked them off haphazardly, accidentally spilling the bottle of wine across the blanket and soaking Brennan's shoulder and side. Instead of wiping off the wine on her skin, Booth bent down and started licking up and down her bare skin, suckling her flesh as she moaned and writhed, the now-familiar feeling of a Booth-induced orgasm burning low in her belly.
He flipped her over so that she was on top, knowing that she needed some kind of control over the situation. His back twinged as it made contact with the hardwood floor, but he silenced the small, pitiful voice in his head as Brennan gave him a wicked grin and made for his cock, taking the length between her lips, her tongue drawing circles across the sensitive flesh. He fisted her hair, unable to control himself, silken strands twining between his fingers. He held his breath as the pressure began to mount. Desperately, he tried not to pound into her mouth; instead, he pulled her up by her shoulders, sliding her down his torso so that their hips aligned, his swollen head begging to enter her slick core.
"I love you, you know that, right Bones?" It seemed important to remind her now, before they lost themselves in each other. She was soft and warm and wanton in his arms, her fall of mahogany-brown hair covering his face like a curtain, as though they were the only two people in the world at this moment in time.
Her lips pursed. "Yes," she breathed out as she sank into him, allowing him to fill her up inch by delicious inch. She was tight as a noose, slick as crushed velvet, and for a moment, he just allowed her to feel him, twitching, inside her. And then her body started to rock, her breasts swaying enticingly above him, and he followed her rhythm, matching her for every thrust, every moan, his thumbs tracing infinite circles on her nipples. She could feel the heat rising from between their bodies, that indescribable uncoiling deep within that snapped - sending waves of pleasure up and down her body. Booth called out her name, unfurling from his lips like a cry of mercy, as his climax slammed against him and he pumped himself dry inside her welcoming core.
Sighing, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her down to rest on his chest, still joined. Idly stroking her hair, he asked, "Are you better now?"
"Yes, although I should say something about your use of sex to get what you want."
"Hey, babe, I'm not complaining. And besides, you were the one who seduced me, remember?"
A low laugh escaped her lips. "I remember no such thing." She snuggled closer in his arms. "So I suppose we should start figuring out which of our furniture's coming into the house and which ones are going into storage, correct?"
He held her tighter. "Not scared anymore, Bones?"
"Still want to move in with me?"
"Yes." She took a deep, shuddering breath. "I still want to be with you, Booth."
They decided to move in on a Saturday. Parker was staying with them for the weekend ("This is so cool - my room's much bigger! he exclaimed when he was shown to his new space) and Max and Russ volunteered their help as well. The movers that Angela recommended dismantled both apartments quickly and efficiently, and the five of them followed the moving truck in Booth's SUV with a bunch of suitcases and fragile items. Parker sat in the middle, between Max and Russ, chattering a mile a minute about his new room and how he would hang a poster of the Justice League on his walls and have his own shelf for comic books.
When they arrived at the townhouse, Brennan started directing the men - including Booth and her father and brother - into moving the heavier items first. Her teak dining table was a perfect fit for the dining alcove, and his bar stools and old-school diner decorations found its way to the breakfast nook. Boxes were brought in and set inside the appropriate rooms, and the entire house had an air of organized chaos as the uniformed movers proceeded at a quick pace, while Parker zoomed here and there, finally crashing into the sofa and falling asleep, still clutching his hand-held computer game. Just after lunch, they were finally done, and after a quick drink of lemonade and a generous tip from Booth, the movers piled into the van and drove away.
"Who wants lunch?" proposed Max as they hung around the kitchen island, taking a breather. Russ volunteered to make a pizza run, promising Brennan that he would bring in some spinach and white sauce pizza for her, and let himself out the back door.
Parker wandered into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes. "Where's everyone?"
"The movers just left, bub," said Booth, swinging his son up to sit on the kitchen counter, his legs swinging in mid-air. "We're grabbing some pizza and then you wanna help fix your room?"
"Cool!" Parker accepted a tall glass of lemonade and surveyed the kitchen. "Man, this place is a mess."
Brennan laughed. "We'll fix it today so that we have somewhere to sleep, okay? Then tomorrow, you think you can help me?"
"Sure, Bones!" The enthusiasm in his voice was infectious.
"I really need someone who's responsible and intelligent, Parker, and who can be sure that he can help me fix my office."
"You want me to help you?" There was a mixture of awe and disbelief in Parker's voice.
"Sure. You're the best person to ask, aren't you?"
"Of course I am!" Beaming with pride, Parker wriggled off the counter, handed his glass back to his father, and zoomed out the room. "I'll go and fix my room right now!" he crowed as they heard him clatter up the stairs.
"Well you kids enjoy your space. I think I'll take a nap on the couch until Russ gets back," said Max, his eyes crinkling kindly. He gave Booth a friendly punch on the arm and hugged his daughter warmly as he made his way to the living room.
Suddenly, the air seemed much warmer as Booth edged towards Brennan, finally capturing her lips in a heated kiss. "God, I wanted to do that all morning."
"You were doing that all morning," she said, smiling against his lips.
"Until Parker came in."
"Indeed." They both grinned at the memory of Parker entering the bedroom, hands firmly over his eyes, announcing that he was hungry.
"We are investing in child-proof locks, Bones." He bent down and kissed her again, leaning his forehead against hers. "So - still scared about this?"
"No way." She looked up at him, her eyes clear and determined. "Plus Angela will kill me. She said that she was hosting a housewarming party for us next week."
He groaned, knowing that when Angela was involved, she was apt to get her way. "Fine, but it better be just our family."
"Yes," she assured him, secretly pleased at the sound of the words on her tongue. "It will just be our family."
A/N: Still reeling from all that fluff? I hope you didn't get a massive toothache. (Sorry, I don't cover dental bills.) Anyway, we still have one more item from that box, the Green Lantern comic book will finally be revealed to our favorite FBI agent, and madness ensues. In the meantime, reviews will be much appreciated. See, I skipped lunch break for you guys! :)