Love is patient

Booth is in the interrogation room for three hours. This hasn't been an easy case on either of you, and he doesn't have the usual strong forensic links to back him up. But he takes the man in anyway, going on his gut, because Booth doesn't compromise on cases with children or abuse. Booth doesn't really compromise on any cases, you realize, and you trust him to gain justice for the six children in your lab.

You turn off the sound piping into the room, and watch Booth in pantomime. He points to the pictures on the table again, finger stiff, looking like he wants to dent the metal. He leans on angry fists over your suspect, and even you are a little afraid. The suspect opens his mouth.

You went out with Angela last night, knocking back shots as you listened to her complain between cocktails that there are no good men left in the world, and if her Prince Charming doesn't show up soon, she'll end up married to Hodgins or something.

Now, stepping out of the room, looking at Booth- exhausted, victorious Booth- lead the suspect out of the room you do not believe that there are no good men left in the world. This man is more than a superstitious, cocky cop, more than slicked-back hair and the quarterback's smile on his face as he passes you.

The cuffs shine in the florescent Hoover lights like the sun did the day you stepped onto the Northwestern campus, and you smile back at your partner.

Love is kind

It's hard for you to understand how Parker can have memorized all the bones in the hand and arm and still enjoy riding around in a circle on a plaster horse. But he stays on the carousel for three cycles and Booth doesn't scold or ask him to try another ride. You know that he's feeling guilty, and it's proven when Parker finally gets off and his father suggests ice cream as a treat.

It isn't hard to figure out why Parker is reluctant and more guilt crosses Booth's face briefly before he kneels beside his son.

"Park, I would never make you get ice cream if you didn't want it, but I think it would be sad if you stopped getting the ice cream that you love just because of something a bad man did." Pain flashes across his face, and he places a steady, apologetic hand on his son's shoulder. "Or because I scared you."

The talk works. Parker is actually the one to take Booth's hand, and he even tries to argue for the necessity of two scoops in his cone. You follow them to the stall, standing by the side to watch Parker get his (single) scoop of chocolate. Booth smiles as he pays and the girl fumbles with the napkins she is handing him, blushing brightly as she scatters them around the counter. Booth's smile stays as he assures her that it's alright and helps her pick up the napkins, and it makes her blush even more prominent.

They walk back toward you, Booth's fingers ruffling Parker's hair. Booth has big hands. They are dangerous, gun-wielding hands; they are strong, killing hands. But, you think as they reach you and Booth gently guides your back to keep you beside them, you are lucky to have a friend with such versatile hands.

It does not envy

Booth gets ten minutes before you leave for the airport. It is barely enough time for a quick exchange of gifts. Parker is asleep against the window of the SUV, the science museum membership card that you got him clutched in his hands. You and Booth stand at the side of the road in the snow, your cars parked as you trade: a biography of Theodora Kroeber and a cd of classic hits from the 1980s (some of which you even recognize) for you; for him, three rare baseball cards that he's been looking for for years and a gift certificate to a tiny, side-street place you found downtown called The Sock Shop.

"They've never done this before, but I convinced them to open up a credit account for you." You flip distractedly through your bag, checking for your passport and travel documents. "Just show them the certificate, and if they tell you they don't know what you're talking about, they're-they're lying."

"Thanks, Bones," he says, and takes you into a hug. You stand silently for a minute before he asks, "You glad that you got to see your family?"

Booth gets ten minutes in the snow on the side of the highway while you are already part way onto the plane. But he uses his ten minutes to ask that, so you smile and hug him back. "Yes. Thank you for convincing me."

"Hey, Christmas is family time, and you know that. You just forgot it along the way."

And here, on the shoulder of Route 395 as Booth's white Christmas comes to pass, you are glad that you got to spend at least a little of it with your more-than-one-kind-of family.

It does not boast

Booth held a job at an auto shop while playing varsity football all through high school. He has a degree in Criminology- with honors- from Penn State, which he got while living at home to take care of his brother. Booth has won twenty-three medals. Booth has turned down two Rose Garden ceremonies, but couldn't avoid three others. Booth knows the lyrics to every Led Zeppelin song. But you'd never know any of that from looking.

You sit beside Booth on the bench- a paint-peeled, graffitied D.C. bus bench- and eat cake. The significance of his confession shakes you.

He knows so much about you, probably more than anyone else. He knows about the picnics you took with your family, about your grades in school, about your crushes. But what you know about him has come from prodding the way he taught you.

He has told you few things without prompting, without being backed into a corner, a handful of facts about his mission or his parents' jobs, and now this. "My dad drank."

Like an iceberg, there is so much of Booth below the surface, and it's shocking to you that people see so little of him when he seems so open and when below the surface there is so much worth discovering.

"You deserved your face on a coin," you say quietly, swallowing some of the too-crumbly cake.

"It doesn't matter. There are more important things."

"You did- you do good work and someone will notice. Hard work has to be rewarded to ensure that people continue to do the necessary labor." You hate how you fumble with the words. You wish that you could know instinctively how to comfort him as he does for you.

Your words seem good enough, though. He slides his arm around your shoulders, the plate resting between you two, confessing and confessor. "Thanks, Bones."

It is not proud

He stands before you with his hands out (a position of innocence, supplication) laying it all out there because I believe in giving this a chance.

He is Seeley Joseph Booth, and he believes in you as much as he does the saint for whom he is named. And you wish to everything that he believes in that you could trust the same way back.

But you can't. Because you are Temperance Anne Brennan, and you have learned to trust only the things that you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. His love for you cannot be seen or touched or written about in any scientific publication. And you push him away because I'm a scientist. I can't change. I don't know how.

You are crying, and it's not because you can't change. It's because you are afraid to, you're afraid to fall for him. When you were a girl, you would have been able to give all the evidence necessary-anthropological, anecdotal- to show that your family loved you. But they left anyway, and even though you now know their reasons, even though you appreciate their sacrifice, it still hurts. It means walls around your heart, protecting your memories. It means an infinitesimally slow lowering of the princess's drawbridge. It means that no matter how many times Booth pulls out his gun to protect you, no matter how many little figurines he gives you, no matter how much mee krob he brings over or how well he sometimes understands you, you can't quite make yourself believe that he won't hurt you.

It takes you half a second to realize that in your need to avoid hurt, you might have hurt him. He doesn't sob aloud, but his eyes fill with tears and it is almost confusing to you. Booth is crying. All-American, paladin, ex-military Special Agent Booth, your partner Booth, is crying over you. Crying because he thought that you could be the one to love him for thirty or forty or fifty years, but you don't know how to do that either.

And he is so much better than you are. Because as you are overcome suddenly with the possibility of losing him not because he leaves but because you chase him away, as you gather yourself to tentatively ensure Can we still be partners?, he puts himself aside. Again, for your fear and your doubt and your denial, he puts you first. He does not push even after he laid his feelings down for you, and you hope that you have not irrevocably broken the heart of your steadfast, believing man.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

If you were making a graph, the nights Booth sleeps over seem to have a directly positive effect on the way you sleep.

At first you pretend that it's because he tires you out the way a run on the treadmill can't.

But then a two weeks and four days into whatever is going on between you two, you get home and Booth has already let himself in and has vegetarian chili waiting and he got you a pastry from your favorite bakery because you've been in court all day and the prosecutor hates you because you turned him down for a date once (or as Booth says, because of the way you turned him down). You eat leaning exhaustedly on his shoulder as he watches the tv that has somehow found its way into your apartment, and you go to sleep without having sex because you have been feeling unusually tired all day. You're almost asleep when Booth goes to brush his teeth, but you don't slide off until you feel him arrange the covers on his side of the bed.

And when you wake up breathing in the smell of his shampoo as you hear the shower turn on, you think:

a. this is beginning to bear a disturbing resemblance to a relationship

b. my sense of smell is not usually this acute

c. my menstrual cycle should have begun on Tuesday.

You've never kept strict track, but you always have an easily calculable date in mind as a reference point. You've never had to use it before, but as you remind yourself, there must be a first time for everything, or it would not be a thing because it did not exist.

Oddly, this piece of logic fails to comfort you. What you really want at this moment is to speak with your mother.

But she was not there to hold your hand, so instead you get up and kiss Booth lightly as he steps out of the bathroom and go take your own shower. Around 11:45, you buy a pregnancy test.

You almost don't take it at work, remembering how paranoid Cam became after the first time something like this happened. But then you remember that Booth will be there when you get home, so you take it at lunch and then put it neatly into a small baggy that you brought for the occasion.

You mull over the results as you type up some reports. Through all the decisions you have made in your life, you have never been a muller. It is an unfamiliar practice to you, but you accept that this situation is more important than any you have been in the past, so you make allowances for a change in behavior.

Clearly the test could be wrong, although in conjunction with the other symptoms that you have exhibited, it is unlikely. Acting under the assumption that it is correct, that you are really pregnant, what is your course of action? You reject an abortion almost immediately. After all, two years ago, you were willing to pay a generous amount of money to achieve this exact result. It would not be sensible to eliminate this fortuitous, albeit surprising, progress.

But now that you are keeping the baby, how will you tell Booth? You assume that you must, as your pregnancy will eventually become quite obvious and difficult to overlook. You end up shelving that question, because for once you don't know the answer. It isn't something that you can pull from your stores of knowledge or even research in a book. The only solution, as you see it, is observation.

You watch Booth throughout the bowling case. Every action and reaction is carefully catalogued for analysis as evidence, although of what, you aren't sure.

Another agent laughs when the two of you mention what you're working on.

"A bowling alley? You always get the weird ones, Booth," he says, and it makes you realize all over again how focused Booth is, how attentive he is to even the cases that come off as ridiculous when you say it aloud.

Being Buck and Wanda is a release, because you can touch Booth and talk to Booth in ways that you never could as yourself. It is alright to accept a kiss in public, alright to refer to him in the possessive. You find that you like doing these things, and you realize that it's possible that you won't want Booth as just a father- involved or not- for your child. But that's a good first step.

You know that Booth is a good father, that isn't a question. You've known that since you saw the way he and Parker smiled at each other through the glass of the quarantined Jeffersonian. You know that he will be a good father to the small being in your uterus. But you still don't tell him. You can't explain why because it is inexplicable. There is no rational reason not to tell him that he is going to be a father, and you have no room in your life for an irrational reason.

You watch Booth when Hodgins comes out with baby Michael. He has a knowing smile on his face, appropriate because he is the only one who actually knows what it's like to have a baby. You try to picture his face ten years ago when it was his own baby. You try to picture his face in a few months when it will be his baby again. It is when you can see his smile so clearly, when you realize how happy you want to make him, how you can make up for your indecision and your doubts, that you decide to tell him.

It is clear to you that Booth truly believes that having a baby is the best thing that can happen in someone's life. Having him sounds so sure when you have so many doubts pushes you into your final decision. You shove down your nervousness and you do what you have always before done without thinking: you tell the truth. You open your mouth and lay your heart open in a way that it might never close seamlessly again. You let the words lay the path for you, the path to letting Booth in.

And you have to smile because of how happy he looks. How happy you have made him with the thought that you are not just partners. How happy he is to be the father of your baby.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Booth wants to get married. It's nothing he says. He doesn't make significant stops by ring shops or churches. But from knowing him, you know that it is something that he would want. Booth is all about doing what is Right according to his code of values, and in this case, marrying the mother of his as-of-yet unborn child is the Right Thing.

For now, you do not believe that the Pope would be too pleased with the two of you. You have bought a small house in Georgetown, which according to the internet is one of the better neighborhoods around D.C. in which to raise a child. It wasn't that the two of you really talked about it. Like everything between you lately, it just slips from one thing to the next without the two of you agreeing to anything verbally. One night you had sex and then you were sleeping in the same bed, you were together all the time, you had a baby on the way, you were sitting in the realtor's office signing papers when the only ring on your finger was your mother's.

"That's the last one," Booth groans, setting down a carton. He refused to let you carry any of the heavier items, which you would be offended by, except that he is right to realize that miscarriage is most likely in the first trimester and lifting heavy weights can increase that chance even more. And even though it would make things easier with work and touring, you do not want to lose the baby.

Everyone was over earlier to help you with most of the bigger things. They are all taking it surprisingly well, according to Booth. Apparently this is evidenced by a lack of smug reaction on the part of your friends. You, however, have the feeling that most of them guessed before your announcement.

Angela spent most of the time nursing and holding Michael. You did not begrudge her this because you are very aware now that in a few months' time you will probably be in a similar position. She was, however, very helpful in arranging their furniture in a way that was both agreeable and appealing to all parties.

Now, though, as Booth sets down the last box from his car and stretches, the two of you are alone. You are busy rummaging through one of the boxes to find takeout menus. You have been working all day and it isn't good for you to skip meals anymore.

"I could make something," he says halfheartedly. He's been trying to get you on a healthier eating schedule.

"One night of takeout is not going to make a difference," you say, and call for Greek.

You have had a taste for sour lately, so you dig into spanakorizo. Booth pours the two of you glasses of milk. He has given up beer and coffee around you, although you say that it isn't necessary. The world does not stop or change just because you have fallen into a group of statistical outliers for whom condoms are not completely effective. As you chat about going to see Hank and getting paint samples for Parker's room, he sends long stares at your glass.

"I'm not thirsty right now," you finally snap. It comes out harsh, instead of firm like you meant it.

Conversation stops. He pokes around his single portion of moussaka. You take a breath and almost wish for a sip of your milk.

"I'm sorry," you say quietly. He looks up and smiles faintly.

"I am too. Look, I know that I'm hovering. It's just that I never got to do this with Rebecca. I was with the service or she was angry at me. I missed so much the first time- the doctor's appointments, the cravings, getting married."

It is there, suddenly. You did not expect it to show up in the middle of your new kitchen before you even unpacked the boxes. You feel cold and unprepared. "You still want to get married?"

"Yes." He does not look surprised that you did not consider this, nor repentant that he has sprung this on you. Even though you had felt that this was an almost certain conversation, you realize that you had held the image of his devastated face, his cutting words from a few months ago at the Founding Fathers'. You had kept them ingrained in your mind as an insurance that surely, surely, no matter what was Right, Booth would not feel comfortable proposing so soon. It isn't that you still do not believe in marriage as a viable option for some. It is merely that you do not see it as the correct course for you and Booth, especially if it is based on such shaky ground.

"Marriage is not a foregone conclusion merely because I am pregnant."

You push away from the table. He puts down his fork to stand and follow you. "Bones, I've always wanted to get married. You know that. I want to be a family."

You think of yourself, when Russ left, when you were learning about your parents' past, when you confronted your father for the first time. You felt betrayal then. You feel it now, sharply, because you have come to trust Booth. You believed him when he said that there was more than one type of family. You ran away from each other last year when faced with this kind of pressure and you do not want to lose him again.

"I don't need a ring on my finger to be a family." You turn away, standing amidst the boxes that hold your jumbled-together lives.

"Temperance," he says, and you lose your breath. Because he uses your first name so sparingly that what follows is sure to be significant. Because you are afraid of what that significance could be. "Societies throughout history have had a ceremony where two people stand up and declare their commitment to each other." His eyes are right on you, knowingly and willingly erasing lines forever. "I am committed to you. And not because of the baby. I am committed to you as my partner, as my friend and as the woman who I will always love the most."

You choke a little on a sob. You think you are afraid. "I can't- I..." You turn and start to walk out.

"Bones," he says, and you don't want to look at him, don't want to see that you are another person who has hurt his lion heart. But you turn anyway and all you see is patience and a thick folder. He steps close to you and places the file in your hand. He kisses your forehead.

"Do what you need to do. I'll be waiting."

You spend the night at Hodgins and Angela's. Michael is a sound sleeper, so all there is to accompany you as you read Booth's folder is the occasional hum of the refrigerator and the baby stirring every so often inside of you. You page through Booth's research. It spans from the ancient Judaic laws of marriage as outlined in the Talmud to the claddagh marriages of earlier Ireland to modern day civil marriages.

He has left a note after the last page. "Historically, marriage makes sense. As an anthropologist you should probably experiment further."

You know all of the facts that he presented to you from your years of study. But those years of breaking people down into cultures and mores has allowed you to deal with them, with yourself and with your fears in a theoretical way. As always, Booth has made you see things in a different light.

You go home before sunrise, leaving Angela a note so she won't worry. The door is locked and you don't have your key with you, but Booth hasn't gotten any better at hiding things and you let yourself in. You walk back to your bedroom and undress quietly. You observe Booth. Somehow he looks tired while sleeping and he wakes up and rolls towards you as soon as you slip in beside him.

"Are you alright?" he asks, his voice even, not paranoid or even particularly worried, which you appreciate.

You nod and then look at him. "Do you love me?" It's so backward: him using logic and you wanting to see into his heart. But as with all disparate societies that come into contact, it is impossible that you could have encountered him- much less been his partner for six years- without being influenced.

He holds you tightly and answers you simply. "Yeah. I love you. Do you want me to prove it to you?"

You look down at him - a Philadelphia boy, a brother, a soldier, an agent, a partner, a father, a friend- waiting, as he does, for you to catch up to reality.

You look down at Booth, the man you are going to marry, the man you will always love the most, and you speak quietly from your scientist brain and your anthropologist's memory. "You already have."