Upon reflection later they would say they spent the first ten years of their relationship adjusting.
First adjusting to working together, to being partners.
Then adjusting to being friends as well.
They adjusted to having feelings they weren't supposed to have.
They became more than partners, more than friends and that was an adjustment, too.
Then they had to adjust to being new parents.
Hadley Christine Booth was perfect. A tiny version of her mother except for her father's wicked grin, she charmed everyone she met, everywhere she went.
But she was an adjustment. Booth struggled to balance his two children without shorting either one, and in the process it was sometimes Brennan who got the short end of his time and attention. Brennan struggled to be sure she remained every bit the scientist she ever was, while being the best mother she could possibly be, and making sure that Parker never felt they didn't love him too. She was exhausted all the time, leaving her testy with Booth and the squinterns often quaked in their shoes when she called them out.
When Hadley was six months old, Auntie Angela insisted she was ready for a sleep over weekend with her favorite aunt and told Booth and Brennan to go away and not come back for forty-eight hours.
Most parents would hem and haw.
Booth and Brennan ran to the car.
Because in the end, no matter how difficult things got, they were each other's strength, each other's safe haven, each other's other half and they knew they needed to get back to that.
So they did. Teamwork, partnership had always been their thing and they quickly found that when they nourished their relationship, everything else became so much easier.
Enough to where on Hadley's first birthday, after the last party guest had left and the last new toy had been put away Brennan put her arms around Booth's neck and whispered in his ear "I would very much like to make another Hadley all over again with you."
Booth couldn't get their daughter in bed fast enough.
Two months and a lot of practice later she left a white envelope under his car keys for him to find when he left for an early morning meeting.
He'd had to double check with Cam, but he'd been correct when he'd realized the paper inside was blood test results that confirmed another Booth baby was on it's way.
They bought a house to accommodate their growing family. They moved from the city to the suburbs.
They parented an almost teen and a toddler and acclimated themselves to the notion that their family was going to change again.
They were happy. More than happy. Enough that he rarely thought about the fact that they weren't married and she rarely worried that it bothered him. They were partners in every sense of the word.
Their second daughter was born just one month shy of Hadley's second birthday. She was every bit as perfect as her sister, but completely different, resembling her father but with her mother's stunning blue eyes.
And they were adjusting again. Twice the diapers, twice the chaos, twice the exhaustion, twice the effort.
But just like any other formula, any other equation, there were sometimes unexpected variables; things that crop up when you least expect them.
Brennan came downstairs from putting an exhausted newly two year old in bed. The house was strewn with discarded gift wrap and rapidly deflating balloons and cake remnants lay all over the table, swimming in spilled apple juice.
She found Booth asleep on the couch, a pink party hat askew on his head and the baby sleeping peacefully on his chest, one tiny hand gripping his t-shirt.
She surveyed the mess. She watched her baby and her Booth sleep. She had the life she'd never even known she'd always wanted.
And suddenly she realized that sometimes the things you think you know aren't true at all.
She went to her desk and turned on her computer, did a quick search and hit print. She folded the paper, scribbled on a Post-It note and stuck both in a plain white envelope.
She lifted the baby off of Booth and placed her in the cradle at the foot of their bed.
She taped the envelope to his mirror and went to bed, leaving the mess for the morning.
He'd stirred and resettled when she'd taken the baby, so he awoke an hour or so later to a dark house. Knowing she was exhausted too and feeling a little guilty for his nap, he cleaned up the mess before he went to bed.
It was when he went to brush his teeth that he saw the envelope.
Surprised, he remembered the other two times he'd gotten white envelopes from her and what they had meant.
He took a breath, a pause, before he opened it.
There was a white sheet of paper folded into threes.
A marriage license application for Washington DC.
And the only words on the Post It, in her precise, scientific handwriting were: "I know."
So he went and got the ring he'd had for years from the back of his gun safe and slipped it on her finger in the dark.
"Marry me?" he said simply.
"Yes." she answered him, equally simply.
It wasn't traditional. It wasn't grand. It wasn't over the top.
But it was them. Perfectly untraditional them.
He would say it was fate.
She would say that was ludicrous.
But they both knew it was right.
I would love to hear your final thoughts. Thank you for reading and reviewing. I appreciate all of you who took the time to read my story and I have enjoyed reading your comments.