Just because I love holidays.
There are days you cannot grasp within the boundaries of time. You cannot label them like all the others because they are unlike anything you know. Can you hear the whisper of the sea; can you feel the caress of the sun? It might be Saturday or maybe even Monday, but for once you don't care and names are just as ephemeral as the next blink of your eye.
They are called holidays, and they might find you in a faraway kingdom by the sea, the sound of foreign tongues and birds in the air.
Once he had told her that he always harbors the idea of not coming back. She had barely known him back then, let alone understood him. Now she did.
Her belly was four months old, a curve as soft as the blurry mountain line above the water, dusky pink in the early evening light (the mountain line, not her belly), and Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth were on holidays.
Purposeless. Romantic. Sunny.
Cobblestones underneath their feet, the thick walls of the ancient city cradling them, the water as clear and deep as her heart. As corny as the simile might be, these days, Temperance Brennan wasn't offended that easily by sudden outbursts of romance.
They had arrived the other day; he had carried their luggage, she had carried their unborn child.
A child that didn't make any sense; that had stubbornly nestled himself (or herself?) into her body. A child that had taken the first chance offered.
Holidays suited her. It was so unlike her, a white summer dress waving around her knees, her hair lighter in the sun, a shade of pink covering her nose. You could barely tell that she was pregnant, but he who knew noticed the changes. Her hips just a tad wider, a certain heaviness in her breasts, a glow on her face. Pregnancy – it suited her as well.
Booth counted it as a personal victory that he had been able to talk her into this trip – granted, Angela had been helpful – but now that they were here, Brennan seemed to enjoy herself. They had come a long way, in every sense of the word, and they were nowhere near the finish line, yet. But for once they were moving on together, heading in the same direction, matching their pace.
What they had was precious, and it had created something even more precious. She had been shocked; he had been drunken with happiness. They had met somewhere in the middle. There were still some more months before the unknown variable would be added to their center, maybe shifting it, and both of them embraced this time. And now... they were on holidays.
In the morning, right before the first sunrays tickled the old town, right when the little fishing boats headed towards the open sea, Brennan awoke. Booth was sprawled out next to her, as always occupying more than his half of the bed, and his smooth skin was already enviably tanned.
Her eyes followed the frame of his narrow hips under the thin sheet up his spine to his head. Tousled dark hair, his face free of worry lines, his mouth slightly open in slumber, and... was he actually drooling?
He chose that moment to let go of a snore, and she watched him with a bemused but loving grin. Like always when she saw him asleep, a tender wave of belonging rushed through her, and even though, scientifically speaking, she couldn't be sure, Brennan just knew that the emotions were evoked by more than just pregnancy hormones.
Back in Maluku, she had realized that she might love her partner. During a heart-crushing night in the rain, she had been sure. Right now, she was beyond loving him. Hodgins had called it "over the moon and stupid in love" once, and, finally, she knew exactly what he had been talking about.
The color of the sky in front of the window told her that it was still early, but Brennan felt oddly energized; it was one of the things pregnancy did to her. So far, she felt great, and she was still able to sleep on her stomach. Part of her dreaded the day when it wouldn't be possible anymore.
One more smile, and she slipped away from the sleeping man next to her to take an early morning shower. The water cascaded down her curved body, her shoulders more red than actually tanned, and she hummed contently. In the other room, her lack of presence or the rushing water had woken Booth up, and Brennan shrieked briefly, when someone invaded her shower. She relaxed immediately, though, and his warm arms snaked around her slippery body.
He touched her wet lips with a soft kiss.
"Hmm... good morning yourself. Did I wake you up?"
"Nah. You were just gone. Please tell me that our kid won't be an early bird."
"I can assure you that our child won't be a bird, but infants tend to-"
He silenced her with another kiss.
Taking the shower gel out of her hand, Booth began lathering her. His knowledge of her body was four months old, and not one day had passed when he hadn't been stunned all over again by her softness, her beauty. Sometimes, he found it hard to believe that she was his – truly, finally – but she never flinched when he touched her, literally or emotionally, always leaned into him.
Returning the gesture, Brennan reached for his shampoo, squeezing a generous amount into her palm, and soon her fingers were raking through his wet and spiky hair, completely captivated by the content hum that left his throat, by the way his eyes fell shut under her caress. He might be oblivious to it, but, between the two of them, Booth wasn't the only one dazzled by the other's beauty – had never been.
His pursed lips fell to her shoulder, dropping a tiny kiss onto tender skin.
"You're gorgeous," he murmured, and she smiled even wider.
"You're quite gorgeous yourself."
"Wanna try that little café around the corner for breakfast?"
Today's dress had yellow stripes, her shoes were flat, her hair damp and open. He wore jeans and a simple white shirt, more buttons undone than usually. The sun was at home and the scent of the ocean just a few streets away. It was almost too beautiful to be true, but it was real.
They were on holidays.
Between sunrise and sunset, there were a million wonderful things to explore, and in the evening, right after the sun had made its exit with various shades of orange and pink, the mood shifted, as the city prepared itself for the night.
The narrow streets were full of music and the scent of grilled fish – mouthwatering for him, almost regretful for her. However, grilled vegetables and roasted garlic bread were delicious as well, and, just because it seemed fair, he dismissed the beer and settled on water.
"How's your eggplant?"
"Interesting. I believe they added lemon to their olive oil."
"You're sure you don't wanna try my fish?"
Brennan ogled his plate and shuddered.
"Even though it smells quite tasty, it looks at me."
He shrugged, and they ate in silence for a while.
"I'm glad we came," he finally said, playing with her fingers in that absentminded way she had gotten accustomed to.
"Me too. Thanks for having been persistent."
He gave her one of his lopsided smiles.
"I think I understand now what you have been talking about all those years ago. Thinking about not going back."
He looked at her with an oddly serious expression on his face.
"I don't know... for once I don't mind going back. My life is pretty damn perfect right now."
The way he looked at her created a strange tingling sensation in her stomach.
"You mean us?"
"Yes. You, me, the baby. And you."
"You mentioned me twice."
"I could mention you a few more times."
"So... I make your life... good?"
"Perfect, Bones. I think the word I used was 'perfect'."
"Despite my inability to understand your enthusiasm for sportscasts?"
"Even despite your habit to order peppers by color."
"I can be quite self-absorbed."
"You bought this massage thing for my back. You even changed your toothpaste for me."
"I doesn't make sense to buy two different brands, and you are quite grumpy without the red stripes."
"See? You're great. Perfect."
"You're pleased easily."
"Only by you."
"Your argument is invalid."
"And what does that even mean?"
He grinned brightly.
"Are you making fun of me?"
She was looking at him with big blue eyes, her hair a sea-wind-tousled mess of curls, and he fell in love with her all over again.
"Only a little bit. Sorry."
"How am I supposed to get your romantic implications when you mix compliments with jokes all the time?"
Bending over, he kissed her hand which was still in his own.
"Just roll with it."
They roamed the streets after dinner, aimlessly, peacefully, and even without the sun to shine on them, it was still warm. Booth wrapped his arm around her shoulder as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
And guess what?
Not only because they were on holidays.
To be continued...