One Month Later
"You're not the Booth I was expecting."
It was 7:04 P.M., so almost all of the Jeffersonian's employees were at home, enjoying the company of their significant others, children, pets, and televisions. But not Brennan. She had no reason to go home and no one waiting for her, so she had been working on identifying a set of remains from Limbo. She had returned those remains to their assigned drawer ten minutes ago so she could meet Parker in the lounge on the Jeffersonian's upper level. Yet Baby Booth, as Angela called him, was nowhere to be seen. Instead she found herself face to face with his father, who she rarely saw outside of work these days.
"You were expecting Parker?" Booth asked.
"So was I. He called me and said Becca was going to drop him off here so we could have dinner together at the diner."
Brennan's confusion deepened. "I received a call from him as well. He asked me to meet him here because he wanted my help on a science fair project. Why would he ask both of us to be here and then not show up himself?"
"Because he set us up, Bones. Look at that." Booth pointed to a round table at the other end of the lounge. It was covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth, two red candles, a vase filled with red roses, two plates, utensils, a bowl of salad, a basket of bread, a pot of pasta, a bottle of wine, and two glasses. As Brennan approached the table, she noticed place cards beside the plates. One place card had "Dad" written in big black letters; underneath that, in smaller print, was "(Seeley Booth)". The other was labeled "Bones" with a human skull drawn inside the "o". The skull wasn't entirely accurate, but Brennan thought that it was pretty good for a child's drawing.
"Parker did all this for us? I'm very impressed."
"He is an impressive kid, but he must have had help. I bet Angela, Hodgins and Cam pitched in. Maybe the squinterns too. Or even Grandpa Max."
"I didn't know Parker had a Grandpa Max."
Booth chuckled. "He doesn't. That's what Parker calls your dad. As far as he's concerned, Max is family. So are you."
Brennan smiled as she recalled Booth saying that there was more than one kind of family. "I'm glad he feels that way. But I still don't understand why he would go to all the trouble of arranging a meal for us."
"He feels responsible for me and Hannah breaking up," Booth said with a sigh. "We talked about it last weekend when he stayed at my place. I told him it wasn't his fault, but I could see he still felt bad about it. I think this is his way of trying to make amends."
"I am sorry about Hannah." She was sorry Booth had been hurt, but she didn't miss having the journalist around. Seeing Booth so happy with another woman had been more painful than she could have logically anticipated.
"It's okay, Bones. I knew in the back of my mind that it wasn't going to last." Not wanting to dwell on his latest relationship failure, he turned his attention to the food before them. "I don't know about you, but I'm starving. Shall we?"
The partners sat at their assigned seats and began to eat. "This is really good," Booth said after taking a bite of pasta.
"I agree. Your son and whoever helped him did an excellent job."
After a few minutes passed in silence, Booth realized Brennan was staring at him. "What's on your mind, Bones?"
"I was just thinking about how much I missed this."
"You missed pasta?" Booth teased.
"No, I missed us eating together. I miss all the things we used to do together outside of work. We're barely more than co-workers now, and I find that very distressing."
Booth could see she was close to tears. He reached for her hand and she gave it to him without hesitation. "I know what you mean."
This is it, Booth thought.
I'm going to tell her I still want a relationship with her.
Whoa! Bad idea. She'll just break your heart again. You remember how much that hurt? You really want to put yourself through that all over again?
I can't go back to pretending I don't have feelings for her!
But that's exactly what you need to do if you want to keep working with her. Keep your mouth shut.
For how long? A year? Ten years? The rest of my life? I can't live like that.
You have to. She doesn't love you.
Maybe she does. Maybe she only rejected me last time because I used the wrong approach. Or because I rushed her.
Wishful thinking. She rejected you because she doesn't think you're good enough for her. Andy Lister in her books is a Harvard graduate who speaks six languages. That's the kind of guy she wants, and you'll never be that guy.
"Booth?" Brennan was looking at him with concern. "You're being very quiet. What's wrong?"
"Your facial expression suggests otherwise."
Booth laughed. "You say you're not good at reading people, but you can always read me easily enough."
"So will you tell me what's bothering you? Please?"
Okay. I have to tell her.
Don't. You'll just screw up the relationship you have.
Or maybe I'll start an even better one.
"I lied to you when I told you that I moved on. I didn't. I couldn't. That's why Hannah broke up with me- she figured out that my heart was still yours, and that it always would be. I love you, Bones. I know you don't believe in love, but if you give me the chance, I'll spend the rest of my life proving to you that it exists."
The normally quick-witted Dr. Temperance Brennan didn't rush to respond.
Say something, Bones. Anything. Please. The silence is killing me.
She's crying. You made her cry!
"I'm sorry, Bones. I shouldn't keep trying to push you into a relationship. If all you want from me is friendship, then that's what I'll give you. I know you don't let many people get close to you, so I feel lucky that you even consider me a friend."
"No, you don't consider me a friend?" Way to go, Seeley. You've ruined everything.
"I do consider you a friend. But I don't want only friendship from you. I have fantasies about us becoming intimate quite frequently. I've been afraid to act on those fantasies because my brain tells me that I'm terrible at relationships, and that if I enter into a relationship with you, I'll end up losing the best friend I've ever had. But you've taught me to listen to my heart, metaphorically speaking, and my heart says that I should give you a chance. I want to give us a chance."
Booth leaned towards her, closing the distance between them. "My brain and heart had a similar debate. I'm glad my heart won."
"I am too."
After tasting each other's lips again and again, they finished their meal and walked out of the Jeffersonian hand in hand.
"I've got good news for you, Baby Booth," Angela said when Parker answered the phone the following evening. Moments earlier, she and Cam had been watching Booth and Brennan kiss on the previous night's security footage. For the sixth time. "Your plan worked."
"Really? That's awesome! Bones can be my step-mom! She and Dad can give me a baby brother!"
"Don't start thinking about baby names just yet," Angela warned, trying to sound serious but failing miserably. "These things take time."
"But you think it'll happen someday?"
She grinned as she imagined her child on a swing set with Booth and Brennan's. "Definitely."
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.