A/N: I have to admit, the jogging scene in last week's episode made me squee like a fan girl long after the episode ended. In fact, I had finally stopped when the newest episode got me started all over again. At any rate, I had to include the jogging scene here. Maybe I've been reading too much Bones Theory but the whole scene and interaction between the two was just so symbolic that I had to play with it in this story. Some rewriting had to occur, but it was worth it. This is the last chapter! Happy Reading!
The rekindling of their friendship had started slow. Fighting over mee krob and spring rolls as they finished paperwork, drinks at the Founding Fathers after a case. It had been over a year since they had been back at this place and while Booth didn't want to jinx anything, he thought it was going pretty well. They were back to being best friends again. As he laced up his shoes, he thought about their conversation in his office. It had been a few months since they had first defeatedly confessed their love for one another. On the whole, they had decided to ignore that aspect of their relationship until they found their footing again, but now that Booth was back on solid ground, he was realizing he couldn't hide from it very much longer.
He took off around the jogging path at a simple pace. For the first time in a long time, he wasn't in a hurry. He knew that he would probably end up running a marathon today as he worked out exactly how he was going to proceed. He had made it about half a mile when he saw a familiar brunette pony tail bobbing in front of him. Chuckling at his luck, he picked up the pace to chase after her. She had her ear buds in and he smiled, knowing he had the element of surprise. He also knew that she would probably kick his ass if he snuck up behind her. Instead, he poked her on the shoulder and ran up beside her.
"What are you doing here?" She asked with a surprised grin.
"Eh, day off. Want some company?" He smiled back, hoping she would say yes.
"You think you can keep up with me?" She asked in her own playful way.
"Hey, that's my line Bones." He said as he took off.
"Oh no you don't!" She said, the laughter in her voice caught up to him and caused his heart to beat just a little bit faster in his chest. When he spotted the coffee cart, he figured it would be the perfect place to end the race and he took off towards it.
"Whew!" He exhaled in victory as he forced his body to come to an abrupt stop.
"I won!" She exclaimed proudly when she finally caught up to him.
"What do you mean you won? I got here first!" He said, defending his victory.
"No! You took off before me by approximately two seconds, which means that you were both mentally and physically prepared before you accelerated." She explained.
"No, no, you're not going to science your way to a win here." Booth said, refusing to buy her argument.
"I won and you're buying coffee." She said as she took another step towards him.
"Okay, listen, I'll buy the coffee because I won and I'm a gracious victor." He said, nearly touching noses with her at this point. He knew from her expression that she was faltering, but she refused to back down physically. Between his humming body and the challenging look in her eye, he was hyperaware of the situation they were in. He took a deep breath and a much needed step back.
"So, what are you doing on your day off?" She asked, knowingly changing the subject.
"I don't know yet. Any ideas?" He asked. She smiled at the fact that he wanted her opinion.
"I was going to go home, take a shower and get to work on my book." She said. "I'm not exactly the day off type." She reminded him.
"Oh, come on Bones! It's too nice to stay cooped up inside. This spring weather is gorgeous and you want to spend the day typing away at your computer? I don't think so. What kind of friend would I be if I let you do something like that?"
"Well what do you suggest I do instead?" She asked, letting the slightly flirty statement slide. She would blame it on the spring weather; it traditionally made everyone a little crazy, right? Booth just smiled.
"I've got a plan."
He had promised to pick her up in an hour at her place with no details other than to be ready for anything. Logically, this was impossible and the fact that he taunted her desire to be properly prepared annoyed her to no end, but then again, this was Booth. He loved annoying her almost more than anything else in his life.
He had shown up with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine and had driven them out of the city to an open field on the top of a hill overlooking a large section of Virginia. She had to admit, it was starting to feel more like a date than any other she had ever gone on. Judging by the way that Booth was fidgeting, he felt the same way.
"You know what, Bones? I've been thinking a lot lately about us. About our fight, about the Hoover, about everything." He was fidgeting with his hands and unable to make eye contact. He prayed for a little help getting out what he needed to say without sounding like a total fool.
"What was your conclusion?" Brennan asked, trying to be helpful. She could see how nervous he was and she found it to be strangely adorable.
"I know that you don't believe in fate and journeys, but I do and I think that all of the things that we've gone through together have led us to this point in our lives for a reason. We said that we had to be certain." He said definitively. "And now I know that I am."
"Are you saying that you're ready to move forward?" She asked, needing him to say the words out loud.
"Well, I thought I was ready a long time ago. It turned out that I still had some lessons to learn." He said with a sad smile.
"That's true, but you did take off before me, Booth." She reminded him. He thought back to their race in the park and furrowed his eyebrows. "That night on the steps of the Hoover, you were mentally prepared to…run the race" she said, going with the metaphor "but I was caught off-guard by the fact that you were starting. You took off before me." She said again.
"But you still got there first." He reminded her. She analyzed his sullen features for a moment before continuing.
"Well, you couldn't keep up with me." She said. "I gave you what Angela refers to as the 'run-around'."
"I got a little lost along the way." He admitted. "I'm sorry for that. I shouldn't have given up so quickly."
"Don't be sorry." She said. "Of course you were going to be frustrated with me. You knew where you wanted the race to end before I even started running."
"At the coffee cart?" He said, trying to lighten the mood. She shook her head.
"Here." She said simply, looking around. Booth didn't know that one word could stop him flat, but his heart stopped beating for just a second as he stared at her. She looked deep into his eyes and smiled as she recognized the look. She had seen it once before, years ago. "You're going to kiss me now, aren't you?" She said, knowing it was true. He simply nodded once and closed the distance between them with his flea-like reflexes. He captured her mouth in a kiss that could quite literally take her breath away. She had always thought that was a ridiculous notion, but now she wasn't so sure. When he finally pulled away, she fought the urge to pout. He laughed at her face and pulled her into his lap, her legs latching firmly around his waist.
"I love you." He told her so honestly and freely that it took her breath away. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she swallowed the lump in her throat and worked up the courage to say what she had always needed to say to him.
"I love you too." The smile that broke out on Booth's face was enough incentive to remind her to say it again soon. He kissed her again. "I have for quite some time now." She added.
"Since the beginning?" He asked, pushing his luck. She shook her head.
"No, but long enough that it feels like it." He rewarded her by kissing her yet again.
"So if I promise not to run ahead, and you promise not to run around, I guess that means we're finally on the same stretch of the track." His lips broke away from hers and traveled to her jaw, behind her ear, and back down again.
"I find that to be an appropriate metaphor, yes." She managed to say as he kissed her neck, but it was getting harder to put the words together.
"Does that mean we're going to finish at the same time?" He teased as he tilted her head back into his hand and placed a kiss against the hollow of her throat. She closed her eyes at the sensation.
"There's only one way to find out." She murmured, her eyes still closed.
"Well, we may be alone up here but I really don't think our first time making love should be in an open field." Booth said as he looked around.
"We've waited almost seven years, what's another couple of hours?" She said as she leaned backwards to fall on the blanket and pulled him on top of her. "Besides, something tells me that we can find ways to entertain ourselves." Booth glanced down at the woman underneath him and shook his head in amazement.
"Fate has to exist. How else could I have possibly gotten this lucky?" He asked her.
"If fate did exist, you would have no reason to feel lucky." She pointed out. "Either it was predestined by some imaginary higher power or it was chance. You can't have it both ways." She informed him. "Besides, wouldn't you rather be with me knowing that I chose you with my own free will and not because the universe just kept shoving me in your general direction until I gave in?" Booth smiled.
"You and I both know that you are way too stubborn to give in to anything, including the universe." He said as he kissed her nose. "All the powers in Heaven and Hell couldn't force you to do anything against your will."
"That's true." She said, a definitely glint in her eye. Booth knew that she was internally debating whether or not to tell him that Heaven and Hell didn't exist and therefore, of course she was more stubborn than a silly morality myth; but for whatever reason, she decided to keep it to herself and kiss him breathless instead. Booth approved of the decision and ran his hand up her calf to her knee, where the frilly hem of her skirt rested. Always the gambler, he let his hand stray up her outer thigh and he stroked the skin just under her hipbone with his thumb. The quiet moan of approval that greeted his ears caused him to smile, but pause. As he looked into her hazy eyes, he knew that if he pushed this any farther, there would be no going back. He didn't have the self-control to deny himself anymore and she was just unabashed enough to not care where they were at the moment. At his hesitance, she questioned him with a single look, silently asking him what the matter was.
"Not here." He repeated, mostly to remind himself. He rolled onto his side and stood up, shaking the excess grass off his jeans.
"There's a B&B just down the road. We passed it on the way up." She offered. He glanced down at her, still lying on the blanket, her lips rosy and swollen. He couldn't help but smile at her.
"In a hurry, Bones? What happened to waiting another couple of hours?" He teased as he knelt down to kiss her one more time.
"Seven years, Booth." She reminded him with a whine. He laughed and helped her to her feet. She began picking up their things and they packed the back of the SUV in silence. The drive was fairly short and both Booth and Brennan were thankful to get out of the quiet car.
"Hello, checking in?" The woman behind the counter asked.
"We hope so. We don't actually have a reservation." Booth said as he pulled out his wallet.
"We're out of rooms, but we still have some cottages available."
"That's perfect." Brennan said quickly.
"Just for tonight?" She asked as she began typing on the computer.
"Yes." She said.
"Do you have any luggage we can bring in for you while you check in?" Booth blushed as he glanced at Brennan, knowing that the answer was no.
"We're fine on our own." Brennan said simply, leaving it at that. The woman took no notice and kept typing. Booth let out a sigh.
"Alright, you will be in cottage number four. It's down the sidewalk and on your left. Breakfast is served at eight."
"Thank you." Booth said as he took the key with a kind smile. He put his hand on the small of Brennan's back and escorted her out the door and down the path. He unlocked the door without any fanfare and she entered first. After taking a very brief look around the small room, she turned to face him.
"What do you think?" She asked him, wanting him to be okay with the sudden arrangement.
"Beautiful." He said with a smile. "And the cottage isn't bad either." She rolled her eyes at his line but wrapped her arms around his neck anyway. "What do you think?" He asked her quietly, wanting this moment to be perfect for them. She didn't answer, simply closed the shrinking distance between them and met his lips with a soft kiss.
"I think that it's time to stop thinking." She wove her fingers through his and pulled him towards the bed.
When Booth woke up the next morning, the first thing he felt was something tickling his shoulder. He didn't dare open his eyes for fear that the day before had been some sort of dream; however, after waking up enough to realize that he really wasn't alone, he finally let his eyelids flutter open.
"Good morning." Brennan said cheerfully.
"Good morning." He said.
"Sleep well?" She asked.
"Yeah." It was then that he noticed that there was coffee brewing. "How long have you been awake?" He asked.
"A while." She said vaguely. "I discovered something last night." She changed the subject as she sat up and wrapped the sheet tighter around her torso.
"What's that?" He asked, fighting the nerves that suddenly caused his muscles to clench.
"You steal the covers." She grinned. He scoffed at the accusation.
"I do not." He said. "And even if I do, it's probably because my subconscious is just trying to keep you naked." He said, propping himself up on his elbow. "Did you ever think of that?" He asked her.
"That's psychology." She explained, as if that were the only thing she needed to say. She glanced over to the coffee maker as it finished percolating. "Coffee's ready. Do you want some?" She asked as she turned, preparing to get out of bed. Booth grabbed her arm and pulled her back down to the bed, causing her to squeal. "Booth!" She cried, surprised by his action.
"Not yet." He said quietly as he hovered over her body, staring into her eyes. She wasn't sure if he was referring to her leaving the bed or to the coffee or both, but she didn't care. Their silent connection was something that she would never be able to understand. There was a time when she couldn't read any body signals whatsoever, but with Booth, she could have entire conversations without opening her mouth.
"Okay." She nodded slowly, acquiescing to his request and he bent down to capture her lips in a long, slow kiss. "Mmm, your argument is quite persuasive." She smirked as they both lay back down. She settled into his arms and laid her head down on his chest.
"I've waited for seven years to get to hold you like this. Right now, I just want to lay here with you and hide from reality for a while." He felt Brennan's breathing still as she took in his words.
"Are you suggesting that this isn't reality?" She asked, reading too much into what he had just said.
"No! God, Bones, of course it is." He said, realizing that she was worried by his statement. "I just meant that, you know, we had the opportunity to bask in the moment, take it all in, adjust to everything on our own before stepping outside that door and dealing with all of the issues that come with a relationship. You know, like a certain best friend of yours who's going to pierce every eardrum within a mile radius when she finds out what we did last night. Or a young psychologist who's going to over-analyze every single syllable that comes out of our mouths for at least the next few months?" He suggested, knowing he was right. Brennan smiled.
"They care." It was a simple sentence, but it filled her heart with joy to know that she had friends who worried about her so. "I didn't realize how much until our fight, but they really do want what is best for both of us." She said. At the mention of their past, Booth sighed. "What's wrong?" She asked, knowing the guilty look that suddenly appeared on his face all too well. She also knew that the reason for it was usually unjustified.
"I still can't believe that it took this long to get here. I hate thinking about how much time we wasted."
"If you say 'Years of chances', I will throw you out of this bed." She said, not wanting to hear that phrase ever again. Booth had to give her that one. "We've already had this discussion, Booth and you said that you believed that it was all part of the journey, that it was timed by fate." She reminded him. "You can't go back on your own argument now." She pointed out.
"I did say that." He said, surrendering to her logic. "You're right." He said with a small smile.
"Of course I am." She said. He chuckled at her confident tone and suddenly remembered why he fell in love with her in the first place.
"I love you." He whispered into her hair before kissing the top of her head. Brennan had a very strong suspicion that she would never become accustomed to hearing the awe and joy in his voice when he said those three words. To think, she was the reason! It was almost as if he couldn't believe that he was worthy of her. It was a feeling that Brennan absolutely reciprocated, even if she didn't understand the reasons for his own insecurity. He was the heart of the operation after all; she was simply the brains, learning from him as they moved forward.
"I know you do." She replied in the same doubtless tone. Booth smiled with surprise. Her casual certainty in his feelings was exactly what he needed to hear. He didn't know how or when it had happened, but she had finally accepted that his love for her was more than a fleeting feeling that would change over time and had now gone so far as to treat it as casually as an indisputable fact. Like the sky was blue and the grass was green, he loved her. His goofy grin on his face grew wider as he realized that it was more than that. Not only was she certain that he loved her, but she loved him just as factually in return. And after all that they had been through together, he knew that that knowledge would be enough to get them through anything the future held, even Sweets and Angela.
A/N: Okay, so I'm a total junkie for bookends so I had to end this story with the idea that Sweets and Angela would be just as meddlesome in the future as they were in the first chapter! Thanks to everyone who read this little snapshot of a story and I hope you all enjoyed it!