A/N: I'd like to take a moment and say "thank you" to every reader who has read, reviewed, followed, & favorited this story. It started out as a one-shot which turned into a "morning after" … and now, well, you've all encouraged me to continue and I could not have done it without each of you. :) THANK YOU!
And a special "thank you" to TheaJ1 and LadyBards for their lovely input. You ladies are awesome! :)
Disclaimer: Booth and Brennan and the Jeffersonian Gang are not mine. But oh how I enjoy playing around with them! :)
They watched in sadness as the car pulled away, Vincent's remains resting inside. She looped her arm in his as they watched the car turn the corner, leaving the Jeffersonian's alley, heading for the airport. The rest of their friends made their way towards the building, their voices still carrying the discordant tune of their colleague's farewell. Angela paused, watching the partners interact with each other, a smile crossing her face. She watched as Brennan leaned over, whispering something in her lover's ear before they turned, following everyone back into the lab.
The group gathered once again in the lounge, the reality of their loss finally settling over each of them. There was a small charge of celebration in the air, overshadowed by the loss of a friend. After a few moments, Sweets broke the silence.
"Um … If anybody needs to, y'know, talk about anything, I'm available. Strictly as a professional, of course. Grief can manifest itself in many-"
"Thanks, Sweets," Booth interrupted, his eyes focused on the woman across from him rather than on the young psychologist.
"Yes, Dr. Sweets, thank you," Cam replied. "I'll make sure everyone here in the lab has your information. I think I can safely say that we all cared for Mr. Nigel-Murray very much."
Sweets nodded to Cam, laying a stack of business cards on the table in front of her. He left the lounge, knowing the coming days would bring calls and visits from the Jeffersonian personnel.
Slowly, the group dissipated, each finding the willpower to leave. Before leaving, Angela hugged Booth, then Brennan, silently wishing them luck and hope in the newest aspect of their relationship.
Booth stepped closer to Brennan, his arm falling lightly behind her waist as she leaned into his shoulder. He glanced down at her face, watching as the lines of fear, worry, and stress faded away. Her eyes were closed, her face covered with contentment and peace.
"Bones?" His voice soft, not wanting to break the moment or disturb her peaceful moment, he whispered her name again as his hand rested on her hip, nudging her closer to him. "Bones? Are you ready?"
She opened her eyes, looking up into the dark brown eyes staring lovingly back at her. The corners of her mouth turned upward at the care and concern he showed for her.
"I'm ready, Booth." He released her waist, his hand slipping into hers, their fingers twining.
She made her way back to the living room, handing him another beer as he set the empty food carton back on the coffee table. They had decided on take-out for dinner instead of going out and had stopped by Haad Thai on New York Avenue before she had asked if he would take her back to her apartment. He stretched his legs across the wood as she sat down beside him. She sat closer than before, he noticed; having broken through her walls the night before, she felt she could move freely and comfortably around him now.
His stretched his arm along the back of the couch, encouraging her closer. The movie played on the television, an old black and white thriller about a tennis player who arranged to have his wife murdered.
"We don't have to watch this, Bones. I can find something else if you want." He took a long swallow of beer, enjoying the taste of the cool amber liquid.
"No, Booth. It's fine," she responded, settling herself against his side as she pulled a nearby blanket tighter around her. They sat together watching the movie a few minutes before she spoke again.
"Why are you staring at me?" A smile played on her lips at catching him watching her. He chuckled softly at being caught.
"How did you know I was watching you?"
"While I don't put much stock in psychology, there are several studies that have nearly proven that there lies a system within our brains that can sense when a predator is watching," she said. He laughed a little at her scientific explanation, leaning down to kiss the top of her head, his fingers running softly through her hair.
He didn't produce an answer to her question, unsure himself exactly why he was content to sit and watch her watch the movie. It had been less than twenty-four hours since the change in their relationship, but already his heart felt more content, more whole than it ever had before. He smiled as he downed the last of his beer, setting the empty bottle on the end table. His shoulder shifted, causing her head to drop slightly. He leaned back, realizing she was already asleep at his side. He moved to the side, allowing her head to fall more directly against his chest, his heartbeat increasing in speed as how right it felt to have her there, cuddled with him on the couch.
They stayed that way until the movie ended. He pushed a lock of hair from her forehead, leaning down to again kiss her again. I'll never get tired of kissing her, he thought. As her eyes opened slowly, he greeted her with a bright smile.
"Hey," he whispered when he was fully in her sight. She met his grin with a smile of her own.
"Hey." She sat up, a yawn taking her by surprise. He stood, offering her his hand. She threw the blanket back not bothering to fold it and replace it on the back of the sofa, accepting his hand to help her stand. When she stood, she immediately wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. He stood for a moment in surprise, his arms automatically encasing her.
"Booth?" she whispered against his chest. Her normally strong, assertive voice sounded small and tiny in the quiet, darkened living room. He squeezed her tighter against him, a small hmm? his only response.
"Stay." A statement. Not a question or an invitation. More like an order. He closed his eyes, his head resting on hers in the darkness. He inhaled her scent deeply, the reality of the line they had crossed resting comfortably on his shoulders. He took her hand in his, allowing her to lead him into her bedroom. He watched as she slipped between the sheets, noticing how her "side" of the bed complemented his own sleeping preference.
He slipped the jeans from his muscular legs, climbing quickly in beside her. She turned to him instinctively, her body curling into his as he settled against the pillow. A soft rain pelted the window, reminding him of the tears she shared so openly with him the night before. Also of the metaphorical washing away of the boundaries she had held around her heart for so long, the pieces of her bare to him now.
He heard her sigh deeply as her body relaxed completely against his. He laid there, listening to the rain and to the soft exhale of her breath. As he closed his eyes, he sent a silent prayer heavenward, grateful for what his life had suddenly become. It doesn't get any better than this, he thought as he drifted off, the last day finally catching up to him.
*Haad Thai really is an amazing Thai restaurant on New York Ave in Washington DC. I've been a few times when visiting my brother. So good! Please take a moment to relay your thoughts! Any thoughts! They don't even have to be about this story! :)