Contractual Obligations

by Amy L. Hull

Written for gossy16's prompt in the LJ Bitesize_bones "Meme Without a Theme" summer challenge, betaed by Ayiana2.

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"We are going to have to choose one place to live."

His eyes moved to meet hers but the rest of him stayed entirely still. "Oh?"

"These slacks no longer fit me."

He frowned. "You wore them the day before yesterday."

"I'm aware of that." She folded them and resisted the urge to fling them onto the bed. "Very, very aware."

He held out a hand and she took it. He pulled her forward and laid a hand on her abdomen, stroking in slow circles. She knew it was hard to the touch, rounded, slightly uneven, knew that the fundus was now as high as her waist. "You are so beautiful."

She kissed him. "I know. And I know you find me additionally attractive because I'm carrying your child; anthropologically it makes sense that you would feel that greater connection in order to protect your bloodline."

He stood, his hands moving to her rear. He smiled against her lips, and said between kisses, "Yep. Just attracted to you because my DNA is hitching a ride." His thumbs pressed into her lower back where she had begun to have occasional discomfort. "Are you saying you want to move in?"

"No. My apartment is much nicer. Of course, you have your own decorating style and it would be appropriate to incorporate that, unless you'd prefer we find a neutral location that is ours together, where there's enough room for the baby and for Parker."

He leaned back and looked straight into her eyes. His eyes seemed darker, maybe slightly sad...or...she wasn't sure, but for a moment she thought he looked...almost confused, like he might ask a question. Then he kissed her, a long, long kiss, during which his hands came up to the sides of her face before one lowered to stroke her breast. She slid both hands inside the waistband of his pants, cupping his ass, and was glad that her pants didn't fit so she was halfway to naked, ready to take him back to bed before they left for work.

"I love you so much," he said against her mouth, his lips still brushing against hers.

She pushed him back onto the bed and reached for his zipper, but he took her wrists and kissed them, then her palms and hands.

"I wish, but I have a 9:30 meeting with Hacker, and we still have to find you pants."

She huffed slightly, then stood and sifted through a pile of her clothes. "I think I have a skirt that is not fitted. But this is why we need to live together: all our things will be in one place, and we haven't spent a night apart in two months except when you went to train agents in Atlanta and when I gave that lecture at the University of Chicago."

He stepped up behind her, hands back on her belly. "Yeah, and we wouldn't have been apart if you'd let me come with you."

"To my lecture? You would have been bored, and I was fine."

"Yeah, but you've got to admit that Chicago has great pizza."

She chuckled as she stepped into a light skirt with an elastic waist. She was going to have to change her blouse, too. "Yes. The stuffed spinach pizza was very good, if ridiculously high in fat and cholesterol. And salt." She turned and kissed him, stroking his cheek. She never tired of the feel of him fresh-shaven, nor of the smoothness around his lips. Of course, the contrast of stubble was quiet arousing too. Booth was arousing. All the time. "My ankles and fingers were swollen for two days after I got home, even though I drink copious amounts of water."

He smiled appreciatively as she stripped out of her blouse.

She bit her lip. Maybe he was avoiding this topic. "Our lives would be simpler if we cohabitated."

"I'm not arguing. And, you say the word, I'll move into your place or go house-hunting with you." He straightened her collar and let his hand linger, and that look came back into his eyes.

A warmth flowed through her chest, one she had never had so often and had come to associate specifically with Booth. "I think it would be best to buy a living space that is ours together."

"Whatever you want, Bones. We can talk about specifics over Thai food tonight."

She arched an eyebrow at him, "You mean, after you come and remove me forcibly from my lab at six so I won't stay too late."

"Yep."

She smiled and stepped around him, picking up her jacket and shrugging into it. It was far too snug through the chest (something else Booth was vocal about enjoying), but warm enough for the fall DC weather. He locked the door behind them and insisted on carrying her armload of files and paperwork, then slipped his hand into hers.

"You know, purchasing property with someone is a major commitment."

"So is having a child." He stroked her belly with the back of his hand without letting of hers.

She pushed forward, thinking of the question in his eyes earlier. "Those commitments are both decades long. Lifelong with a child," she said.

"Yeah." He looked at her. "Yeah, Bones, they are."

She stepped away from him and loaded her computer into the floor of the seat behind hers. As he pulled onto the street she set her hand in the middle and, once he straightened the wheel, he set his hand in hers and squeezed. She squeezed back and watched out her window, at the green leaves turning to yellow and orange as summer slipped away in a blaze of glory before the barrenness of winter. They'd almost been too late, but they'd committed to each other.

"A house, a child...those are long-term, legal contracts with another person, aren't they?"

"Yeah. They are." Booth glanced at her. "We don't have to move in together if you don't want, Bones."

"No. I mean, yes, I want to live with you. I have just been thinking. About legal and contractual obligations."

"Hey, raising a child is not just an obligation."

"I know that, Booth." She slipped her hand out of his. She couldn't think when he was touching her.

"Eighteen years is a long time, and it's scary, but it's good, okay?"

She didn't look at him. "It's more than just eighteen years."

"I know."

"I've just been thinking."

"You said that. And anyway, you're always thinking."

"I've been thinking that it might be meaningful to you, that I've already made a long-term commitment, that I believe in legally binding contracts, and that marriage is a long-term and binding legal contract between two people."

He turned toward her for a long moment.

"Booth!"

He slammed on the brakes, swerved, then signaled, pulled over, and shoved the gearshift into park.

"Bones, you don't just SAY things like that!"

She grinned, "Like that, to go along with purchasing a house and having a child with you, I'd like to enter into a marital contract if you're interested?"

His face was utterly still for a moment, just like it had been when she'd told him she was pregnant. Then the same beatific smile he'd had then spread across his face and his eyes sparkled with what she recognized easily as joy and anticipation.

He reached across the SUV and kissed her, pulling her toward him so that the seat belt was taut against her shoulder. He had a hand in her hair and another on her face when he said into her ear, "Yes."

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~the end~

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