This is it, folks. It ends here. I don't want to write so far into the future that my story becomes obsolete once HH and crew begin season 7. This chapter may dip into that territory, but I had to go there to give it the end I felt it needed.
There are so, so many of you I would like to thank personally. Coming to the front of my mind is jsq for telling me to go with a multi-chap and people would like it. Thanks! Also to sunsetdreamer for writing me the funniest reviews and really making me feel good about what I post every time and to Alexsmom and Mimssio and wazo29, who have reviewed every single thing I have ever written, and never fail to make me feel all glowy. A special recognition to Ink Quillz, who made me feel like a rock star with one simple review and to Athena2079, who registered here for the first time EVER to tell me she liked my story. Now that is high praise. Thank you! There were many, many more of you wonderful readers/reviewers and I treasure everything you wrote. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
For all of you who alerted this story, thank you as well. Knowing how many of you were interested in what came next helped me pump each chapter out as fast as the quality I was aiming for would allow.
And now on with the show.
"Booth? Do you have my black pumps over there?" It was eight at night and he was gathering things to head to her place.
"What is a black pump?" He cradled the phone between his shoulder and his ear while he grabbed a t-shirt and some running shorts.
"Heels. Black heels. I was trying to figure out what to wear tomorrow and I can't find them. I thought maybe I'd left them there."
"Uh…" he did a quick spin around the room. "I don't see them. Maybe by the door. Lemme walk in there."
"I'm not sure how I left there without my shoes, though." Brennan mused while he looked.
"Oh, these shoes." He grinned when he saw then next to the couch. The heels on them were obscene…just the way he liked them. "Yep, I got 'em."
"Can you bring them with you?"
"Are you on your way?"
"In about ten minutes."
"I'll order the food. It always takes twenty minutes for pick up."
"See you in a few."
This was not an uncommon conversation and happened a few times a week. A lost shirt, misplaced socks or a mislaid tie were standard problems for them.
They were, Booth reflected, problems he was happy to have.
Brennan's wardrobe was getting smaller as she got bigger. She was still only fifteen weeks, but button up shirts were not buttoning well and waistbands started the day fitting just a bit snugly but by the evenings they were far too tight. She had resisted going maternity clothes shopping so far, so the few outfits she was still managing to pull together needed to be planned out in advance to make sure all the pieces were wherever she was when she dressed in the morning.
He was standing at her door twenty-five minutes later, hands full of food, shoes and duffel bag. He knocked with his foot.
She opened the door and retrieved the shoes dangling from two of his fingers and the take out bag from his other hand.
"I'm starving." she announced and started dishing out the food while he put the contents of his bag in his part of the dresser. "I'm feel like I'm making up for all the food I couldn't eat before." She sneaked small bites from the containers when she opened them.
He emerged from the bedroom and stopped short.
"Damn." he muttered. He was struck, not for the first time, by how completely beautiful she was and how completely he loved her. The small rounding of her belly had begun. Her cheeks were a bit fuller, her hair a bit thicker and there was a slight shift in the way she carried herself that he doubted anyone could see but him. After years of watching her, he knew her so well and these small changes were awe inspiring.
He came up behind her, wrapped his arms around her from the back and kissed her cheek.
"What do you want, Booth?" She knew it wasn't nice the second she said it.
"Nothing. I'm just…I'm just happy. Is that okay with you?" He let go of her, a little hurt, but tried not to let on.
She turned to look at him. "I'm sorry. I've had a lot on my mind today."
"Yes. I think so. I….I do have something I would like to discuss with you, though."
For some reason her words made him incredibly nervous and he felt like his blood froze in his veins for a moment.
"Sure Bones, but can we talk and eat? I thought you were hungry." His appetite had gone out the window but she still needed to get some sustenance in her.
"I am." She put both plates on the table. "Beer?" She asked, grabbing water for herself.
"I got it." He went to the fridge, trying to cover up the sinking feeling he had in his stomach. He tried to get a grip. He tried to tell himself that if she were suddenly unhappy with things she wouldn't have him staying there with her for the night. But with Bones he sometimes felt like he was waiting for that other shoe to drop and he suddenly realized that was no way to live. No way to love, really.
They ate in silence, she was clearly lost in thought and, if she'd noticed, he was clearly lost in fear.
He broke the silence.
"Right, okay." She put down her fork and fussed with her napkin and he could tell she was terribly unsettled. "I've been doing a lot of thinking."
"You always do a lot of thinking." He tried to joke, lighten the mood, anything to make what she was about to say more bearable, because he could tell whatever it was it was going to rock the boat they'd been sailing on. He cursed himself silently for believing it could be as easy as it had been lately.
"That's true. But this has been weighing on me. I've been collecting evidence and weighing the facts. It's how I do things."
"I know that. What are you collecting evidence and facts about?"
His heart stopped, he was sure.
"What about us?" He tried to make it more than a scared whisper, but he wasn't sure he succeeded.
She forged on. "I'm not always very good at being in a relationship. I don't just mean what we're doing here, but any relationship. Father and daughter, brother and sister, friend and friend…I struggle. Because for the most part, I've always been alone."
"You are a wonderful partner in every way. You never failed me, Bones. Not once." He truly meant it.
"I did fail you, Booth. On the steps of the Hoover. I failed you."
He couldn't believe she thought that. "No, no, Bones, you didn't." His desire to comfort and reassure outweighed his trepidation at where she was going with this conversation. Comfort and reassurance for her had always outweighed everything. "I pushed. I knew you weren't there yet. I got caught up in the moment. I let Sweets…" He trailed off and then "But it doesn't matter now. We've gotten so far past that, haven't we?"
"Do you still want thirty or forty or fifty years?" She asked.
"With you? Yes."
" I can't guarantee I can give you that."
There it was. And he would fight fire with fire.
"I didn't ask you to. I have only ever asked for one day at a time, Bones."
"I know. You've been very good to me." Her voice shook. "You have told me I have you for the rest of your life, but I haven't been able to say it back."
"But you said that you love me. That's enough for me, Bones, it really is."
"It's not, though. I can't promise you what you promise me. It's not fair, but it's the way it is."
"But we owe to ourselves to try. Day by day, we can make this work." He probably sounded like he was begging, but he didn't care.
"What we're doing here is not enough for you and I recognize that. In the end, it won't be enough."
"So I think you should move in with me." Now she looked in his eyes, fearful and ready for his response.
He stared at her in dumbfounded silence.
"Unless you don't want to." She was flustered by his silence. "I mean, I know it's not the same as forty years, but it's the best I can do right now."
"I'm sorry I can't do more. It's all I can offer at the moment. I'm sorry I can't promise…"
He shut her up by rounding the table like lightening and kissing her like crazy.
"I thought…" she tried to speak between kisses. "I thought we could…" He just kept stopping her with his lips. "Booth!"
"What?" He was grinning the most ridiculous grin.
"Don't you want to talk about the logistics?"
"Bones, I would live in a tent in the woods if it meant living with you."
"That would be highly impractical."
"I don't think I'd care."
"You'd care when it snowed."
"You could keep me warm." He leered suggestively.
"I would like to talk logistics." She said, trying to keep her wits about her while his lips began to lay claim to her neck.
"Okay. Fine. Logistics." He stopped, knowing this was a ridiculously huge "give" for her and that she'd need to explain her thoughts and plans out loud. "Tell me."
"Well, Mrs. Culver next door is moving."
"The little old lady?"
"Yes. She's retiring to Florida. This place isn't quite large enough to accommodate us all."
"You want to move into Mrs. Culver's place?"
"No. No. I want to buy it and knock down some walls."
"Wait, what? It's an apartment building."
"It's a condo."
"You own this place?"
"Oh." He hadn't realized she didn't pay rent like he did.
"I just think, the way it is now, I only have one extra bedroom and we need at least two, one for the baby and one for Parker. And I'd like to have an office. If we knock out the wall between the two then we can open the space and double the size."
"Will the building let you do that?"
"Well yes." She responded. "I own the building as well."
He had to laugh. "Of course you do."
"Why is that funny? My people said it was a good investment. I have found that to be true."
"It just…you will never not surprise me, Bones."
"How am I surprising?"
"You just are. In a very, very good way."
"Is…" she swallowed. "Is this a good plan? I thought you might like it. We could meet with a contractor. I think, if we hurry, we could get it done before the baby arrives."
He looked at her, his heart happier than he had ever known possible. "I think it's the best idea you have ever had."
"Are you sure?" She smirked, teasingly. "I've had some very good ideas."
"I am absolutely sure. This is the best idea anyone has ever had anywhere, anytime, ever."
"So," she smiled hesitantly "we'll live together."
"I swear I'm never going back to my place again."
"Don't be silly. You have to pack."
"My girlfriend is rich. I'll buy new stuff." He was starting in on her neck again.
"What?" He took a break and looked at her in earnest.
"I love you." She smiled at him. She'd never said it just like that before and it felt so right rolling off her tongue.
"I love you too, Bones. More than I can say."
"I believe you were about to show me just how much."
"I can do that. I can definitely do that."
And he did.
And so did she.
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