Sophia's A/N: Happy Birthday to the rainbow of our #TwitterFam, Sarah! Thanks for all the smiles, laughs and super-squishy tentacled hugs. Hope you enjoyed your birthday pajamas and Very Large Cat last night. Feel better soon! This one is for you...
Special thanks to stephaniew for being my co-writer. It's always a lot of fun cooking up trouble with you, Steph...I couldn't have done this without you.
Steph's A/N: Happy Birthday sweet Sarah! I hope you enjoy this! My part is the first part and I hope it makes you laugh! You make me laugh nearly every day on Twitter, so I'm hoping to return the favor! Here's to the next year being one of the best years for you!
Disclaimer: We don't own Bones.
The Agent and the Birthday Cake
He stares at the mixer and the ingredients spread over the counter in front of him. Suddenly, the idea of making her a birthday cake starts to feel like a bad idea. He's been warned that this is complicated. He's been reminded that he's an amateur.
But it's for Bones. His Bones. Well, at least he hopes they're getting back to their spot. Getting to a place where they're both ready to move on. Only this time, together.
"Ok, Booth," he says, rubbing his hands together as he gives himself a pep-talk. "This should be easy enough. People make chocolate cake all the time, don't they?"
He checks the recipe from Gordon Gordon. "Cream the softened butter and sugar...hmm..." He gets a bowl and dumps the butter in, along with the sugar. Scrabbling through one of the drawers, he finds the beaters for his hand-held mixer and sets to beating. Reading through the rest of the recipe, he doesn't notice the bowl moving with the mixer and nearly jumps out of his skin when it tumbles into the sink.
He fishes the bowl out of the sink and checks to make sure nothing undesirable has gotten into the mixture. "Ok, ok, what's next? Um, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition."
Booth cracks the first egg in the bowl. He smiles proudly. Turning the mixer back on, he blends in the egg. Still feeling a little cocky, he lifts the mixer out of the bowl to add the next egg. "Ahhhh," he cries as the buttery goo sprays all over the kitchen.
Quickly shutting off the machine, he reaches for a kitchen towel to wipe his face. Sighing, he cracks the next egg on the edge of the counter, only to have it completely shatter in his hand. Egg slides down over the edge of the counter, hitting the floor with a plop.
Growling, he throws the broken shell on the floor. Snatching up another egg, he cracks it into the bowl. Flicking the mixer back on, he manages to get everything blended successfully. Feeling better again, he gives the recipe another look. "Uh, let's see, mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk."
Very carefully measuring out the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and other dry ingredients, his confidence starts to return. He adds the first bit of flour and flicks on the mixer, promptly sending a cloud of cocoa-y flour into the air. Panicked, he yanks the mixers out of the bowl, sending another round of batter flying around the kitchen. The mixers go back in the bowl, cloud of flour follows. Finally getting a hold of himself, he turns down the speed on the mixer.
"Seriously?" he mumbles. He splashes in some milk, this time turning the mixer to a lower speed. A few more minutes and he manages to get the remaining flour and milk blended in without further mishap.
He spills more flour trying to flour the pans like the directions say, but at this point, he just wants to get the damn thing in the oven. He scrapes the batter into three more or less equal portions into the more or less floured pans. Slamming them into the oven, which he forgot to preheat, he prepares for the task of make the frosting.
Taking a deep breath, he closes his eyes and leans heavily on the aging formica in front of him. He thinks about her. About all the times he's hurt her in the last year. About how perfect he wants this night to be. This was supposed to be special. It was supposed to...
To do a lot of things he knows he should probably just come out and say. That he's sorry. That she's still the standard. That there is no moving on from her. That all he wants more than anything is the chance to make her happy. Which, of course, is why he's covered in cocoa powder and flour in a kitchen that looks like a war zone.
Surely frosting's got to be easier than cake...
One month earlier...
If asked, he would have said that his partner wasn't much of the sweets type. Sure, he's seen her eat a slice of cake at a party or sample the occasional baked good her coffee, but she never seems to go out of her way for that kind of thing.
Chef Gordon Wyatt asked them to swing by the restaurant. He said he had a few creations he wanted to try out and they quickly accepted his offer. Brennan had enjoyed a lively pasta primavera with perfectly roasted vegetables over a bed of handmade linguini. Booth had tucked into a perfectly seasoned cornish hen with rosemary potatoes.
When it came time for dessert, Brennan held up her hand and politely declined. She claimed she was too full. Right up until she saw the decadent slice of cake being placed on the table. Seven towering layers of moist dark chocolate pastry and alternate layers of white and milk chocolate mousse. It was covered in glossy peaks of Italian buttercream frosting and drizzled with a delicate strawberry puree. Several of the largest, blood-red berries he'd ever seen garnished the plate.
His stomach growled at the sight of the treat, the triangle of crisp caramel apple pie in front of him with its flaky, golden crust rapidly losing its appeal. His tongue scrapes over his lip and he wonders briefly if he could reach out and steal a forkful. That's when his gaze drifts from the cake to her face. He watches in anticipation as her mouth closes around the fork. Sees her eyes flutter shut. Hears the soft sound of incredible pleasure escape her.
And at that moment, he knows. Really knows. Not like the night outside the Hoover when he was fueled by desperation and need. Truly, honest to God, knows that she's the one. That there would never - could never - be anyone else. That 30 or 40 or 50 years he wants to be sitting across the dinner table watching the way her eyes dance over a stupid piece of chocolate cake. Not because some kid dared him. Not because their friends think they should. But because her smile touches his soul. Because she saves him from himself with a single look.
Now he just needs a plan. A way to show her and give her the facts. The evidence she needs to believe in the power of lasting love...
The memory dissolves like a spun-sugar cloud on the tongue as the timer begins to go off. He's got an hour to clean up the mess and frost the cake. If he's lucky, she'll be late. Except she's always early when he feels behind. If he was still a gambler, he'd lay money on this being the one time she showed up right on schedule.
Standing in the middle of his kitchen, he surveys the damage. Empty eggshells litter the countertop amid a snowfall of flour and a river of milk that now drips onto the floor. He watches as it puddles next to the guts of the broken egg on the tile.
To his left, the pot on the stove has boiled over. The burner beneath it smells of burnt sugar and is gobbed with slimy syrup. He doesn't really bake, but the mess looks nothing like the frosting from their friend's restaurant. He looks at the pans resting on the counter next to the tubs of mousse. The cake doesn't look like Wyatt's either. At least the puree looked right. And the strawberries. The strawberries were delectable.
With a sigh, he pulls the trash can from under the sink and grabs the sponge. He sweeps the eggs and flour into the waiting bag. Stooping he cleans the floor. He looks around and rakes a hand through his hair. How was ever going to be done in time?
20 minutes later...
He hears her familiar knock as he's pulling on the worn denim of his favorite blue jeans. He ruffles his hair with the towel and hurries to the door. "Give me just a minute, Bones," he tells her. "I'll be right back as soon as I find a clean shirt."
When he rejoins her, she's in the kitchen. His heart sinks. He was hoping to keep her out of that room. He's further upset when he sees her stretching up to wipe some batter he missed off of one of the cabinets. "You're cleaning my kitchen," he says abruptly.
"It looked like you could use the help," she says clinically.
He watches as she shuffles from one foot to the other. They stare at each other in an uncomfortable silence. "Listen, Bones, I just wanted to..." With elegant fingers, she swipes at the frosting sliding off the top of the cake. His mouth goes dry. "I...um..."
She sucks the frosting from her fingers with a crooked smile and the temperature in the room rises ten degrees as he watches her pink tongue dart out to lick her lips. Did he leave the oven on? Knobs are all in their proper positions. It's just her.
He knows she's not doing it on purpose. She's just not that way. But, God help him, she's so innocently sexy. Her eyes meet his and he feels the familiar undertow tugging him down into the shimmering blue depths. With the pad of his thumb, he swipes across her lower lip and catches the dab of frosting at the corner.
She watches as his eyes darken. His lids fall closed. The groan that escapes his parted lips vibrates within her. "Booth," she says.
When his eyes open, he sees the tilt of her face. The way her brow furrows when she's concerned. Her eyes are big and bright and he... "I can't do this," he tells her, his hand still cupping her face. "There is no moving on, Bones. I can't..."
She takes a slightly timid step toward him, slightly nuzzling against the roughened skin of his palm. Her eyes remain glued to his. "I..."
He shakes his head, his eyes dropping momentarily. "I wanna be that guy for you," he says. "The one that shares your birthday and Christmas. I want to go to bed with you and wake up next to you and..." The intensity in his voice grows with every word. Years of honesty and pent up emotion tumble out. "I want to have kids with you - whether we last 4 years or 40."
He waits, sure he's messed it up again. Certain it's too much, too fast. Waiting for her to run for nearest dig site. He gulps, his eyes closing tightly against the rejection. Rejection that comes in the form of a tender kiss. Rejection that includes her fingers curling into his collar to pull his mouth more firmly against hers. Rejection...that isn't really rejection at all.
Pulling away slightly, he lets his fingers slide into the silken threads of her hair. His mouth ghosts over hers softly as he whispers, "Happy birthday, baby. And many, many more."