Author's Note: Merry Christmas Eve! This year's Eve/Day miracle is that I finished. Yep, this is the last chapter. But there are over 2800 words to savor before we're done. I won't be on much this next week because of my family here but I wanted to say a word to you, part of my online family. Thank you to my faithful reviewers who follow me from fic to fic and those just joining me: your words are all the gold I'll ever need no matter how small the comment. I look forward to sharing new fic with you all in the New Year, including the sequels to "Vanishing Point" and "Behind Blue Eyes" as promised.
Chapter 6: A Wing and A Prayer
For Mary, who helps keep my Booth "Boothy" whether she realizes it or not, and PJ, who is my silent(or not so silent) partner in crime. Ah, my sisters, may you never run out of words!
"The universe hates me," Booth groaned, pulling back only slightly as he tried to orient himself in the darkness.
"I highly doubt that," came the precise response from beside him. "Brownouts and power failures are fairly common in such extreme weather conditions. Do you have your phone on you?"
"Yeah, why- HEY!" he yelped as Brennan began her search. "Um, Bones, that's not my phone. What do you need it for anyway?"
"Stop being such a drama king, Booth," he could hear her eyes rolling. "Phones are an excellent light source."
As if to prove her point, small lights began winking on throughout the room as people found their phones and opened them.
"It's 'drama queen,' Bones," Booth groused, "and I'm pretty sure the TSA guys weren't as thorough as you're being."
"Got it!" she crowed, turning it on and revealing her familiar smile. "I was well aware of the proper saying, by the way. I just felt given your adverseness to speculations that your actions are more feminine in nature the change in gender would be appreciated."
"Thanks," he muttered. "I think."
"You're welcome," her bright smile might've been enough to pull him out of his funk had she not followed it with a frown. "Why didn't you simply submit to the x-ray?"
"Huh?" his brain fumbled to switch gears. "Oh, well, you know, Bones, I just don't want anything to get, er, damaged."
"The radiation is negligible and no more or less than you'd be exposed to on a normal flight," she shrugged. "Rumors of testicular and other types of cancers occurring as a result are unfounded."
Booth leaned back against the couch stifling a groan and trying to convince his nether regions they needed to settle down before she caught on to the effect her earlier groping had caused when combined with the kiss they'd been sharing when the lights went out.
"Booth," she turned to face him, the lines of concern deepened by the eerie glow of the phone's light, "are you alright?"
She shifted on the couch, turning her whole body sideways toward him before speaking, "In my experience when people claim that they are 'fine' they rarely are."
"You've been hanging out with Sweets too much," he grumbled.
"And you're acting like a sexually frustrated adolescent," she told him matter-of-factly.
The light on the phone dimmed, then went out, surrounding them once again in relative darkness. An announcement from the front of the room was made, informing them that the power was out and the back-up generators were off-line and currently buried in snow. Emergency candles, bottles of water, and small bags of snack foods were issued systematically by the staff. They had already procured cots for the night but due to the sheer volume of people who were trapped at the airport, priority would be given first to the elderly and those with small children.
Brennan excused herself from his side and he sat in the dark, thoroughly disgruntled by the whole situation. He should be in Vancouver by now, sitting by a roaring fire with Parker, not having to muddle through whatever was going on between him and his partner. Not that kissing her wasn't great – it always was – but so far he had no indication that this was going end any better than the last time he'd opened himself up to her and he wasn't sure he could survive that again. Obviously, she wanted nothing to do with him right now and he resigned himself to waiting in the dark until she came back.
The scraping of the coffee table against the carpet startled him awake some time later and he leapt out of his seat, fumbling for his phone. He needn't have bothered. Awash in the light from a nearby flashlight, Temperance Brennan was bent over, pushing the table away from the couch and setting their things to one side.
"I was able to procure a cot for you," she greeted him, blowing her bangs away from her face and settling her hands on her hips as she surveyed the space she'd made.
"Really?" he was caught off guard. "Um, thanks."
"I simply pointed out your medical condition," she informed him blithely as she and the employee she'd wrangled into her grand scheme began setting the thing up, "along with the fact that you're a decorated service veteran."
Of course she had, he thought bitterly, wondering if the staff now thought they had some decrepit war hero in their midst.
"There you go, Dr. Brennan," the kid who was helping her declared, stepping back. "Let us know if you need anything else."
"Thank you," she said sincerely.
The kid nodded, then turned to Booth and extended his hand, "And thank you, Sir."
"Me?" Booth wasn't sure what he was getting at, but shook hands anyway.
"Yeah," the kid nodded, "I don't understand what's really happening in the Middle East half the time but the guys who go? I've got nothing but respect for 'em. You keep us safe."
With that, the kid turned and walked away, leaving Booth no chance to respond even if he could have found the words to say.
Brennan couldn't see Booth, but she could tell he was lost in thought, still rooted to the place where the young man had left him. While she waited for him to respond, she busied herself with making the bed up with the blankets and pillows she'd been given, moving on to her own sleeping space on the couch when she'd finished.
"You didn't have to do this," he finally broke the silence.
She stood next to him, choosing her words carefully. "There's no shame in asking for things that are warranted, Booth. Your spine would be severely under-supported by the couch and I wanted to spare you the pain."
"So you told them I was a wounded vet?" she couldn't tell if he was pleased with her actions or not by his question.
"I told them you required the lumbar support a cot would offer," she corrected him gently, "and that a man who is as dedicated to his country as you are deserves due consideration."
For a moment she thought he might protest further, but instead he laid a gentle hand on her forearm and thanked her.
"I believe Angela would say I did so because I love you," the words came tumbling out before she could check them.
"Probably," he smiled, sitting down on the cot and testing it. "What would you say, Bones?"
The question surprised her, as did the lack of teasing in his voice. "I would say," she started tentatively, then grew more confident, "it's because I value your needs as much as my own. You're my partner, Booth, and my friend. I don't like it when you're in pain."
"Ditto," he replied, catching her hand in his and brushing his thumb over the slight scratch she'd gotten earlier. "And for the record: I like your answer better."
Without another word he gave her hand a squeeze and swung his legs off of the other side of the bed. She heard a few bumps, then felt him pushing the cot up flush against the couch, forcing her to pull her legs out of the way.
"There," he said, scrambling back up across the cot and onto the couch beside her, stretching his legs out in front of him, "now we can both be comfy."
She stretched her legs out in front of her as well and there was a moment where neither one of them was quite sure what to say next. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, the white of the snow coming in through the windows made the room seem brighter. Still, the longer the power was out the cooler the room became.
"Here," Booth pulled one of the blankets out from under their feet after a particularly strong gust of wind against the nearby pane made the anthropologist shiver.
"I'm fine," she insisted, shaking her head.
"You know," she could hear the wide grin in his voice, "most of the time when people tell me that they're fine, they're lying."
"Really?" she rolled her eyes, snatching the blanket from him more to placate him than for herself.
"Or so I've heard."
A retort was on her lips when he moved away and began rummaging through his backpack.
"What are you doing?" she asked as he suddenly upended the contents onto the cot.
He didn't answer right away, but a few seconds later gave a triumphant little whoop and called out, "Catch!"
Her hands went up and out instinctively and were met with a wad of material coming at her faster than she'd anticipated. "Oof," she grunted. "What is this?"
"My Phillies' hoodie," he answered, shoveling the mess on the cot back into his backpack.
She could see that now and asked as she pulled it over her head, "Isn't baseball season over?"
"Well, yeah," he tossed the backpack to the side with her bags and grabbed for the trench coat he'd been wearing earlier, "but it's a World Series one."
"Ah," she nodded in understanding, "so it's used for gloating purposes over the off-season? Is that appropriate as they failed to advance to this year's contest?"
"Don't remind me," he gave a mock groan. "And yeah, doesn't matter how they did this year."
A low chuckle escaped his lips and she looked up at him quizzically, prompting him to respond, "I like it when you get all squinty on me." She raised an eyebrow and he hurriedly went on, "You know, like there's this inner anthropologist that can't help but see the world through squinty-colored glasses."
It was her turn to chuckle at his absurdity. "Exactly where on the spectrum does 'squinty' reside?" she teased, poking him with her index finger.
"Probing me again, Bones?" he teased right back with a reciprocal poke.
"Possibly," she said coyly. "Though I am having another 'squinty' thought."
"What's up?" his attention was fully focused on her.
"Scientifically speaking," she said deliberately, "layered clothing does aid in maintaining body heat, however, we would do even better were we to cohabit a singular covering."
"Two bodies under a blanket are better than one?" he translated.
"Precisely," she nodded, handing him half of the blanket she'd been using.
They also pulled up the blanket that she'd put on the couch and gathered the two pillows they'd been given. When they were finally settled, Booth dropped a light kiss on her temple which made her shiver for reasons that had nothing to do with the cold.
"Com'ere, Bones," he beckoned, extending his arms for her to enter them.
Perhaps if the lights had been on, or if they hadn't been trapped in an airport with literally nowhere else to go, she would've hesitated. But right here, right now, she didn't, and scooted willingly into his embrace, enjoying the feeling of safety and contentment that came as his arms closed around her.
"Are you sniffing me?" he looked down at her, puzzled.
Inwardly she chided herself for being caught inhaling his scent and scrambled for an answer.
"You are!" apparently she took too long because he was onto her. Then instead of asking her why, he buried his own nose in her hair and breathed deeply, saying, "Mmm, yup. Smells like Bones."
"I do not smell like a skeleton," she kicked him playfully under the covers.
"Not little bones," he winced, shaking his head. "Big Bones. With a capital 'B.'"
"Ah," she nodded in understanding. "Well for your information you smell very Boothy."
"So you smell like you and I smell like me?" he asked rhetorically. "Right. Glad we got that out of the way early 'cause that could've been a deal-breaker if you'd smelled like, say, Hodgins when he's in Oscar the Grouch mode."
She laughed at that image, recalling fondly, "I used to tell my father that Oscar's living conditions were highly impractical and unsanitary."
"That's great," Booth laughed along with her.
"For something to be a deal-breaker, that would imply there's a deal in place to be broken," she said with a bit more thought.
"Then let's make a deal," he quipped, emboldened by the darkness.
The covers rustled as she shifted to face him, confessing, "I still struggle with concepts like 30, 40, and 50 years of monogamous love, but," she placed a finger on his lips to stay his response, "I would regret not trying. Not giving us a try, I mean."
"That's all I ever wanted, Bones," his voice was soft and thick with emotion.
"I'm still scared." Her words were barely audible in the stillness. "Scared that I'll push you away. Scared that-"
Wide, innocent eyes, moistening at the corners met his as she blurted out softly, "That I'm holding you back from being with someone who could love you the way you want to be loved."
"What I want," he began slowly, tenderly, "is someone who knows how I like my meatloaf and what kind of Chinese to order without me telling her. Someone who keeps an indexed record of my medical history in her head and who can tell me if the docs screwed up on how they read the MRI's. Someone who'll go with me into the operating room and someone who won't leave my side until I wake up." He reached up to caress her jawline with his thumb, his eyes focused and intent, "Someone who knows how I feel when I have to take a life and who will be there to tell me I'm not my dad and I'm made of very, very good stuff."
"You are," she affirmed through a sheen of tears.
"So are you, Bones," he pulled her closer, whispering into her ear, "and I'll hold you when you get scared."
They sat there in the dark, clinging to one another. The clinging eventually turned to kissing; the kissing to caressing; the caressing to heavy petting. They might've joined the ground-level chapter of the mile-high club had the power not been restored, though that didn't stop them from sleeping wrapped in each other's arms that night.
The next morning they awoke to a very white Christmas that, while not safe enough to fly in, was cleared up enough by nightfall for her to secure them a hotel room. Booth gave himself to her and Brennan told him she loved her gift. They didn't leave until they had to.
Reluctantly, they parted ways; though only after she'd upgraded his ticket to first-class, and after several good-bye kisses had been exchanged. They talked on the phone for as long as they could while in the air and for another hour once they'd each landed.
Despite her initial hesitancy, Brennan found herself surrounded by family members eager to welcome her into their midst and exchange stories about the Ruth she'd never known. They then peppered her with questions about her work at the Jeffersonian, her career as an author, and how in the world she'd managed to persuade Margaret to stop quoting Benjamin Franklin incessantly.
A week into her stay, two Booth boys showed up, and they spent the rest of their vacation time together. Parker declared that it was about time the two adults stopped being stupid and he and Max teamed up to fill Brennan's numerous relations in on the saga. But if truth be told, the happy couple didn't care. Life together might not always be perfect, but as long as they had each other, it didn't need to be.
I suppose next you'd like to know how everything turned out once they got to DC: Did Angela squee so loud Hodgins swore he was deaf until the baby was born and squalled louder than her mother? Did Cam win the Jeffersonian pool on the couple and Sweets the Hoover one? Did Booth move into Brennan's place before February? Was there a wedding? A honeymoon? A Boothling-to-be-named-later?
Ah, my dear readers, don't you know by now?
"Everything happens eventually."
FIN. And Merry Christmas!