Written April/May 2011
Billy Booth was nowhere to be found the next day at noon when DEA showed up. Also gone was eighteen hundred dollars - the entirety of Nancy's sock-drawer-rainy-day money - and her '91 Honda Civic with no air conditioning. Nancy claimed to have no knowledge and genuinely seemed pretty pissed off. However, Brennan noticed that she was favoring her right side and wore long sleeves in a hundred degree heat which led Booth to conclude that Nancy knew more than she was saying but was also grateful that Billy was gone.
The car made it as far as Green Valley, about forty minutes south of Tucson. It was discovered by a State Trooper abandoned with the engine seized. There was one report of an old man getting picked up by a trucker head south, but it was unconfirmed. It appeared that Billy was making a run for the border. Regardless he was gone from Prescott – for the time being.
Other DEA agents were descending on Austin and had taken Maggie's other little problem into custody. The Austin connection was a much bigger fish to catch. Her testimony would be very critical and she was offered Witness Protection. She accepted after much debate; Brennan convinced her it was the perfect way to start a new life. She would legally get a new name, a new job and a new place to live. She would be free and clear of her old life. Maggie saw that wisdom in that.
Maggie stayed with the Yaccarino's for a few days pending Tara's cremation. She made contact with the lawyer Booth secured for her in Phoenix and arranged to turn the house over to the bank. There was just enough equity to make it a clean break. Not a good deal for the bank but Maggie really didn't care. She would get out of it free and clear but nothing ahead. The lawyer also contacted the trust and arranged to have that released to her. WITSEC determined there was no reason she couldn't take the money with her. Of course they had to liquidate that account and place it in another that couldn't lead back to her. Maggie was a rich woman and free to do what she wanted. After much debate with her handlers, her first order of business was to take Tara's remains to Hawaii to be spread and she thought she would stay. The Marshalls weren't happy, but it was arranged. Maggie was going to paradise with a clean slate and money in her pockets. She was very grateful to Booth and Brennan but was told that she would have to several all ties with them. It was a bitter sweet victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Booth and Jared had a good conversation at dinner. It was stiff at first. Jared was pretty pissed off that so much had been kept him. Booth fell back on saying that he was protecting him when he was a kid and after they grew up their relationship had been at such odds that it really didn't matter. Of course the 'you never asked' defense was used quite a bit too. Jared accepted that and eventually came to apologize for letting Booth carry this weight all by himself. In the end, the truth of their lineage may have made them biologically half brothers, but they were closer than they ever had been.
Jared's step off the wagon was a one night thing. He was goaded by his father - as he always had been even after he was gone. But he stepped right back on. He was happy with Padme just as they were. He was grateful that Booth was in his life and that they lived so close. And he was convinced he would find a job that would utilize and enhance his skills. He was a changed man when Booth put him on the plane that Sunday afternoon. He had cleaned out his closets of those old skeletons. He felt lighter and more complete than he ever had in his life. Of course his final request was for Big Brother Seeley to stop protecting him and to give him all the information he should have. Booth agreed. The last thing Jared said to Booth was, "Marry that woman, Seeley. You need her." Booth confirmed that that was the plan.
Booth, Brennan, CJ and Parker had a great week in San Diego - the zoo, Sea World, the Wild Animal Park. Jared had called a friend who was stationed in San Diego and they got to tour of an aircraft carrier and a submarine that were docked there. That was the best part for Parker - well that and the time he got to swim in the pool with Booth, Brennan and CJ. Parker really liked being part of a real family. Rebecca was a great mother but found it very hard to commit to a man in any long term way. The men in her life always seemed to be leaving. Booth and Brennan were solid - as far as Parker was concerned they always had been. The months the Booth and Brennan partnership was severed, Parker still went to the Jeffersonian and got to see her, the only difference was that his father was not there. Parker took it in stride, didn't question one about the other and pretended that nothing had changed between them. He didn't need to do that anymore.
It was Parker who pressed Brennan about getting married. His logic was sound. He wanted to introduce her to his friends as his step-mother, not his dad's partner or girlfriend. His final reason was that he wanted CJ to be part of an official family - something he never got. Brennan wondered if Booth put him up to it, but she chose to believe that he didn't.
Things got back to normal in the month of August. By normal it was back to what it was before they ever separated. Brennan was back in the lab and had taken over from Clark at Clark's request. He had been asked to head up a special project and needed to cut his hours back. Brennan did leave the lab quite a bit to go into the field with Booth, but there was always some very reasonable rationale. Cam didn't question it. The FBI either didn't notice or didn't care and Sweets - for once - kept his mouth shut.
They hired a nanny - Sally Smithers. There was an extensive background check, a psyche eval and references were scoured. Most Supreme Court nominees had fewer hurdles to clear. She was fifty-seven and a kindergarten teacher who had been lain off due to budget cuts. She was not interested in Booth sexually or Brennan for that matter - it was suggested that she batted for the other team, but no one asked and no one told. She was fascinated by Booth and Brennan's work and found the prospect of taking care of CJ at the Jeffersonian a dream come true. She was also a grandmother and knew all about infants, toddlers and teenagers. She quickly became a member of the family - the big sister that neither Booth nor Brennan had in real life but desperately needed. If she had been there years before, a lot of the drama could have been avoided. Of course they didn't need a nanny years before.
The search was on for a new place to live. They opted for a Townhouse or Condo with four bedrooms rather than a single family home with a yard. Originally Booth had a romantic notion that he would be the Papa and do the yard work and a lot of repairs around the home. Brennan reasoned him out of it - it didn't take much. Parker's only request was that it had a pool. Booth and Brennan both wanted on site security and a weight room - if wishes were horses. They had narrowed it down to two and would be making their decision soon and expected to move in by the end of September.
Things were good - very good.
Booth didn't bring up the wedding and neither did Brennan.
"He is so cute with CJ," Angela said striding into the bone room. "When are you going to make an honest man out of him?"
"Who? Booth?" Brennan puzzled. "Why do you believe he's not honest? You have known Booth for years and know him to be truthful, fair and just. He has more integrity than -"
"It's a saying Sweetie." She shook her head. "It's another way of asking when you two are getting married."
"So married implies honesty? In light of the rate of adultery and divorce in this society, I can't see your logic."
"Just roll with it," she encouraged. "Didn't you tell me that he asked you and you agreed?"
"We talked about it," Brennan said staying focused on her work. "But he hasn't brought it up again."
"It's up to you to pick a day and make it happen, Bren."
"Why? Why should it fall to the female?"
Angela cocked her head and put her hand on her hip. "Why is it that you know the tiniest detail of marriage custom of a long extinct tribe in Outer Mongolia but you don't have a clue what happens in your own backyard?"
Brennan tried to avoid eye contact but had a tiny smile on her lips.
"WHOA HO ... So you do know. ... You have been playing us all these years?" She laughed heartily. "Oh my God ... you little ... little ... little liar. You vixen. You big teaser. You have been having fun at our expense, haven't you? Well, my oh my ... Dr. Brennan I think I have finally seen through your facade. I'm on to you."
"I don't know what you mean."
"You do too. You always have. Does Booth know?"
"Angela," Brennan started to scold.
"So he doesn't ... the more fool he."
"Dishonest and a fool? Do you have such a low opinion of Booth?"
She shook her head and stepped closer to Brennan. "I need to ask ... it has been nagging at me for some time now. When you and Booth are ... you know ... doing it ... do you call out Booth or is there some pet name you have for him and if so what is it?"
"I will not discuss my intimate relations with you."
Angela nodded. "So no pet names. Hmmm. Please tell me you call him something just so he knows that you know who you are doing it with."
"We are both very aware of who we are with ... sexually and we both find the experience quite gratifying."
"Always knew you would," she laughed. "So pick a date, Bren. You've never been so happy."
"So why should things change? I'm fully committed to the relationship and we have a child together I know we will be making that a priority for the rest of our lives."
Angela got very serious. "Brennan, I don't need to tell you this but if you are going to pretend that you don't know it or have never heard it, let me be the first. Booth is a marrying man. He is a one-woman-for-life kind of guy. He wants someone he can rely on through thick and thin - someone he can build a life with. He has been looking for that woman for a long time. He found that woman in you - and you broke his heart. And he tried to find it with Reporter Barbie and we all know what happened there. She strung him a long until he couldn't take it anymore. You finally got a second chance - the both of you. Don't do this to him - don't make him feel like he's not good enough - because you know you can't do any better. You love him; you expect to be with him for the rest of your life. Make it legal in the eyes of society - you're not promising anything you haven't already promised. This is not a situation where you want to dig your heels in. Marry him - in front of friends and family. Wear a pretty dress, put a ring on his finger, and call him your husband, your life partner, you soul mate - really doesn't matter what name you put on it. Let him make the same vow to you. It's what Booth wants and it's a custom of your culture. OK?"
Brennan nodded. Angela made some reasonable arguments. The most important of which was that Brennan didn't want to do to Booth what Hannah had. She would not string him along.
In early September, literally a year to the day from that fateful night when CJ was conceived, Brennan called just before lunch to ask Booth to meet her for dinner. They had just closed a case; they typically would have gone to Founding Fathers or home for their post-case drink. Brennan still wasn't drinking but she liked the tradition even if she had to have soda water or juice. He agreed and she gave him an address and told him to meet her there at seven-thirty. It was implied that their lunch was canceled. They found that they could leave a lot of things implied without any negative repercussions.
Booth thought nothing of swapping one meal for another, no big deal. She was probably busy, he was busy – whatever – lunch, dinner it didn't matter just as long as they had at least thirty minutes of uninterrupted time together. He didn't recognize the address of the restaurant and she hadn't given him the name, but he would find it later. It wasn't a thing.
As the day wore on and the paperwork he was doing was getting increasingly more tedious he let his mind wander to Brennan and the idea of dinner out with his … well whatever she was he enjoyed her company. It wasn't going to be grabbing a bite at the diner with his partner or sharing a salad at Founding Fathers with his significant other. It was an actual dinner – appetizers, dessert, maybe even a nice bottle of wine. The idea became more than just distraction. By four o'clock he found he could think of little else. Suddenly it felt like a date. He was sorry he hadn't come up with the idea himself. He made a mental note to do that more often – date Brennan. The way their relationship had evolved they had missed a lot of the normal niceties of new couples. He had a private hope that Brennan had arranged for Angela and Hodgins to take CJ for the night and then we would have more than a couple of hours. It was a Friday, after all.
Things were good. Things were great. He had no regrets. Since San Diego, he was really enjoying his downtime with her. It was the first time in their history that they were together for more than a meal or an event that did not include something work or baby related. One fear he had many years ago was that if there were no work between them they would have nothing to say to each other. He needn't have worried. They could talk (banter, debate, exchange ideas) about anything and everything. That week under the sun with the kids put his fears to rest. Of course they also discovered that they didn't have to talk. The sex was great no question there, but it was also nice reading with her by his side, or lying on the couch as she wrote. It was just nice that she was around twenty-four/seven and was easy with him. That's what had changed. It was easy to be with her.
At about four-thirty he decided to go home and shower and change for their 'date'. He didn't know why, but he felt like it was the right thing to do. He called Brennan but she was unavailable. He had a meeting with Sweets at six. That would give him enough time to get home and get back and still meet her at seven-thirty.
Brennan had showered and changed at the lab. She had an errand to run before dinner so she left at five-thirty. She and Booth had been playing phone tag for the past few hours. She of course had arranged for Angela and Hodgins to take CJ. She would pick her up first thing in the morning. Angela had told her to sleep in and come in the afternoon. Brennan decided that she would wait and see how the evening turned out.
The restaurant was Gordon Gordon Wyatt's. He was not there that evening, but she had called ahead to arrange the dinner with the maitre d' with Chef Wyatt's blessing. She arrived about seven-ten and was shown to a private dining table. It wasn't in a separate room, but it was very secluded. It was usually reserved for their very special guests. She opened the box that she had brought with her and reviewed the contents. It struck her out of the blue that she was nervous. Why? There was no reason to be nervous, but she was. She ordered a drink while she waited. She didn't need to feed CJ again until the next day, so she could drink a little bit.
Booth arrived promptly at seven-twenty. He was always ten minutes early. He recognized the restaurant as soon as he turned down the street and that raise a question. Was there trouble he didn't know about that needed Gordon Gordon's magic shrink touch? He decided to check his concern and wait and see. He was recognized as soon as he walked in, which always put him a little on edge. Sure the staff at the diner or Founding Fathers knew him, but in that fancy place it was just strange. He was shown to their table. His fears, his concerns, his edge was washed away when he saw her. It was a date and she had dressed up for him.
"Hi," he said softly leaning over to kiss her.
"Hi," she said back returning his kiss.
"Nice place," he said looking around. "Good table too … very intimate."
"The chef's table was too open this evening and Chef Wyatt is not here tonight."
That was also a good sign. This wasn't some kind of half-baked intervention. "No?"
She smiled. "No."
The captain brought over a bottle of Highland Park, thirty year old scotch and two crystal tumblers. He poured the drinks, placed the bottle on the table and left them alone.
Booth admired the bottle – it was familiar but he couldn't place it.
Brennan raised her glass to toast. "To us."
"To us," he returned and touched her glass with his. "If you're trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me, let me tell you right now – I'm a sure thing."
"I hope never to presume to know you. It would lead to taking you for granted – a mistake I made years ago and won't do again."
She raised her glass again. "To us."
He studied her for a moment. Her mood was serious. "To us."
The taste of the scotch sent memories flooding back on him: a night of tentative emotions, of a life altering question and desire fulfilled. He checked his watch for the date forgetting for a moment that the date was not working correctly. But he knew it was the right date. One year prior Booth and Brennan had met as old friends, near strangers and in the course of the evening and morning they changed the entire future and created a life.
She smiled knowingly. "So you realize what today is."
"I do now." He puzzled a look at her. "You're not the anniversary type. You don't believe in honoring arbitrary dates of events long past."
"Maybe I have seen the error of my ways." She took his hand. "I wouldn't be a very good anthropologist if I didn't recognize the past and its impact on our present and future."
"And you are an excellent anthropologist." He leaned over and kissed her again – more deeply this time taking full advantage of the privacy of their table.
As if perfectly timed, a light appetizer arrived. The waiter served and slipped away nearly unnoticed.
"What is this," Booth asked.
"I don't know," Brennan said looking at the plate. "I let Chef Wyatt choose the menu."
"Well then … best we don't know what it is, but it's sure to be delicious."
They each tasted and were impressed. Chef Wyatt knew his food.
"So," Booth said leaning back but keeping his hand on hers. "What made you plan this dinner out?" He flashed a charmed smile. "And if I forget to tell you, I had a really great time."
"How could you know that?"
"It's a line from Pretty Woman." Technically the second line from that movie he used so far. "The movie? … Julia Roberts and Richard Gere?" Brennan shook her head. "Ok, that's it … You're going to get cultural education – from sports to TV to music to movies for the last hundred years. You're an anthropologist; you need to study your culture."
"And you will be my teacher?"
"I will be your guide, yes." He pressed her hand.
"It sounds like a lot of information."
"It may take the rest of my life, but it's worth it."
"That is why I planned this dinner."
Booth was confused. "So I can teach you about pop culture?"
"No, about the rest of our lives and customs."
Booth felt nervous again.
Brennan swallowed hard and took a deep breath. "You have been my partner, my friend, my mentor and my lover. We share a child, a home, a mission and a future – I hope."
"Please, let me say what I want to say."
He nodded for her to continue.
"We don't always agree."
He raised an eyebrow questioning the veracity of that statement.
"OK, we rarely agree. We approach life differently and find joy in different things, but we agree on the most important things: family, friends, truth and justice. You are my companion, my ally … the one who will have my back, as I have yours whatever tomorrow brings."
He nodded and smiled. "You got that right." He still wasn't quite sure where she was going with all this.
"It's the custom in most societies that when two people find each other and believe that they can pass through life together, they pledge themselves to each other in front of friends, family and in the eyes of their community." She paused. "I am proposing marriage to you and request that you share your life with me."
Booth's face lit up. "You're proposing to me?"
"I realize that in this society it is the male who proposes to the female."
"And I did."
"As I recall, you didn't," she corrected. "We discussed marriage but there was no actual proposal. No question was asked."
"My mistake," he said with a wide grin. "Yes, Bones, Yes I accept your proposal of marriage and will share everything that I am or will be with you."
She nodded letting a smile edge her lips and eyes. Brennan produced a box from under the table and placed it on the plate in front of him.
"It's customary for the one proposing to offer a token as symbol of love, devotion and fidelity." She looked up at him. "Yes, I'm also aware that typically it's the male who offers a ring typically of gold or platinum with a single diamond stone."
Booth was tentative about opening the box. He would of course wear a wedding band, he would wear it proudly, but he was less sure about a diamond ring. "This box is too big for a ring."
"It isn't a ring. I have taken liberties with this custom as well."
"Of course you have." He opened the box. In it was the watch he had been looking at for many months but had chosen not to buy. It wasn't that it was out of his price range, but it was just something he didn't want to buy for himself, not when there were so many other bills coming in. "Bones – you shouldn't have."
"It's the one you wanted, correct?"
"Yes, yes of course." It actually was the next model up from the one he was looking at. He pulled it out of the box to inspect it. It was stunning; not a dress watch, but dressier than the one he had. It was clearly an everyday watch with a diamond set at the twelve o'clock.
"There's an inscription," she said softly. This part she had done without asking anyone's advice. She was more than a little nervous.
He turned it over and noticed the engraving around the back. He moved so it was under the light and read, "If I know what love is, it's because of you." Centered on the back was: "Yours Always, Bones." He looked back at her, his eyes were wet. "Bones."
"It's a quote from Herman Hesse," she explained. "But it applies."
He pulled her into a kiss filled with love, hope and promise for a long life together.
There next course arrived with a bottle of wine and they were unable to continue their conversation. The entrees came quickly after that and they found themselves enjoying the meal and the company. Each has something different but they were sharing. The Chef's choices were not safe by any means, but were excellent.
Finally dessert, coffee and a very fine cognac arrived. They were able to slowdown and reflect on the evening. Booth would often look down admiring his watch. It was typical of Brennan to do something that was practical but the sentimental part had him floored. Arranging dinner on a very important anniversary, a proposal of marriage, a very sentimental gift … this was a side of her that she rarely showed to anyone. He liked it, and he would bet that she liked it too.
"There is something else," Brennan said. "I would like to set a date for the wedding."
"Ok." Booth had wondered about that. They had talked six or eight weeks ago about getting married but nothing came of it. He wondered if this was the next step but would again be put off. It never entered Booth's mind that Brennan was concerned about repeating his experience with Hannah. "What day do you have in mind?"
"I would like to have a Christmas Eve wedding."
"Christmas Eve? Really?"
"Ok … why?" He wasn't sure if she were picking a day because she thought he wanted or if it was something that she wanted.
"Christmas is a very important holiday to you and celebrating our commitment to each other seems appropriate at that time."
He nodded. She was holding something back. "OK … any other reason?"
She paused to find her words. "I have few good memories of Christmas, and many bad ones. I would like to … to create new traditions … I would like us to create new traditions for our family."
He whole heartedly agreed. "Christmas Eve it is." He kissed her sealing their agreement. "What about your lawyers and their prenup?"
"Booth, I meant what I said … I meant more than I said. You have brought so much to my life. There would be no money, no books without you."
"So you are admitting that I was the inspiration for Andy Lister?"
She shook her head. "Loosely based, you have more in common with Lizzie Dee than you ever did with Andy Lister."
Booth was offended at first but as he thought about it, he did like Lizzie better than Andy, and he could really see working with her. "Ok … Ok … I can see that."
"But there never would have been a first book if I hadn't met you."
They finished their dessert talking of the future. Chef Wyatt of course picked up the tab over Brennan's protestations. So she over tipped the waiters. She would deal with Chef Wyatt another day. They got the bottle of scotch as a parting gift. They let CJ stay with Angela and Hodgins until eleven the next morning and fully enjoyed their time together alone living in the moment with one eye on the past and the other on the future.
On Christmas Eve, Brennan donned a pretty dress that she had purchased for the occasion, it wasn't white, nor would anyone confuse it with a wedding dress but she looked stunning. Booth cut a fine figure in a dark suit. They were flanked by Angela and Jared with their children, friends and family as witnesses. They stood before the Justice of the Peace and Father Bishop – a compromise, one of many. Before the ceremony commenced they looked at each other as two whole people, nothing had been left unsaid – nothing except the official vows but they were committed, the ceremony was just a formality.
"Bones?" He smiled.
"Booth?" She smiled back.
They both nodded slightly to each other and looked to the men presiding. It was time.
Father Bishop spoke up: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses to join Seeley and Temperance in matrimony."
Booth and Brennan shared a look.
They weren't Seeley and Temperance – they were Booth and Bones.
They would be Booth and Bones forever.
A/N: Thanks for playing along and sorry it got dragged out. It has been suggested that I make this a trilogy, and I will say that Ricky got short shrift again this time around, and it would be nice to see Booth and Brennan back at work. As of this moment I have no plans on writing a third installment. I've had my Bones obsession for just over a year now and I think it has finally been beaten out of me. I sure picked the wrong season to focus on this show. It was so much easier to like when I was a passive viewer. Not sure how or if HH&Co is planning on redeeming this season – maybe he doesn't see the need for redemption. The next two episodes look like they could be great (Silence and Hole in the Heart). The sniper arc so far has been really good, so I am looking forward to that. But I dread the season finale. At least there is a season seven to hope for redemption.
Anyway, thanks for reading, your comments have always been greatly appreciated and very motivational.
So let's give another cheer for Booth and Bones forever at least in FanFiction – and maybe soon on our TVs.