Part V: Epilogue
"Call out your name love, don't be surprised"
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
"Do you ever sit back and wonder how we got here?
Brennan, who is knee-deep in the water, turns her head over her shoulder to find her partner, who is standing to her left in the sand. "We drove here, Booth."
He laughs. "Too literal, Bones. I'm talking about us. Our partnership, our relationship, our lives."
Walking towards him, she replies, "Our previous individual experiences, together with the influence of the social environments we've lived in, have shaped our personalities and lives, leading us to the present."
"Yeah, thanks." Booth places his arm around her when she reaches him.
"Or," she continues, quieter this time, "You may prefer the explanation that our current relationship is the result of months of developed trust and friendship, sharing in each other's sorrow and joy, and affection, culminating from ostensibly peripheral moments into our current love and desire to be with one another."
"Did you just tell me that 'the little moments matter the most' in squint?"
"Yes, I believe I did. Angela's used that cliché before."
"That's deep for you, Bones."
"I can be sentimental, you know," she defends, "I just haven't always seen the logic in it."
"You're saying you see the logic in it now?"
"I am reluctantly admitting that logic does not always lead to what is best for the individual. You taught me that. I didn't agree to being in a monogamous relationship with you because it was logical, Booth. I agreed to it because despite what was rational, I still wanted to."
"I'm glad you wanted to. Sometimes, I'm not sure myself how we got here. Sometimes I still have a difficult time believing it. All I know is, you've made me happier than I ever imagined I could be."
Not trusting her voice, she swallows the lump in her throat and buries her head in his shoulder. "I love you," she whispers, "Thank you for showing me it's okay."
"Thank you for letting me."
They remain at the beach until twilight, despite the cool weather. Brennan has thought ahead, as usual, and there were plenty of extra blankets in the back of the SUV. She feels chilled, physically, and yet wrapped up in fleece on the sand, tucked in Booth's hoodie-clad arms, she feels warm. She silently berates herself for thinking metaphorically in this manner. He's influenced you too much, she thinks, yet she finds she would not change where they were – literally and figuratively – for anything.
Bathed in moonlight, they bask in the crisp cool air and the sounds of the waves. Booth briefly realizes that no moment they have ever had together at the beach has been insignificant. It's romantic, but he laughs a little when he imagines what his partner would say if he chose to point that out.
"Has it been worth it?" He asks her quietly, remembering a conversation they had once over beer and a half-eaten banana split.
"This vacation?" She questions, shifting herself in his arms to gaze up at him. "It's too early to properly assess the benefits versus inconveniences."
"I disagree," he murmurs, "but that's not what I'm asking. You love me."
She smiles softly, lovingly kissing his chin, then his nose, and finally his lips. "Yes, I do."
Caressing her gently, Booth kisses her deeply to the coming of the tide. When he pulls away, she settles again in his arms, turning again to face the water. "Has it been worth it?" he asks softly.
She does not face him, instead keeping her eyes on the water, but she squeezes his hand in her own. She thinks of conclusions without evidence.
Well, it wasn't necessarily my intention, but this wound up being worthy of a sugar warning. I'm going to place all of the blame for this on season six. I wrote almost all of this while the first half of the season was still airing, and I was just as tired of dealing with the drama as anyone else.
Thanks a bunch to everyone who stuck with me and read this entire thing through – it is pretty massive. Originally this was an indulgence in my curiosities of what life could have been like for Booth and Brennan if, as I stated, things had gone differently. It ended up running as deep as my typical indulgence in mint chocolate ice cream, or Hodgins' love for bugs, or the oceans. Also, thanks to everyone who has reviewed! I appreciate all of the feedback and kind words :)