Author's Note: All right, kids this is it. It's finally finished. I'd like to say a final thank you thank you thank you to everyone who alerted, favorited, and especially those of you who took the time to review. I hope the conclusion pleases you.
As for The Change in the Answer, I haven't forgotten about it. I hope to finish it in the next few weeks.
Booth toweled his hair dry and hit the button on the coffeemaker with a smile. Brennan had surprised him in the shower this morning and he just couldn't seem to stop smiling. Rubbing a hand across his bare chest, he began searching through the refrigerator for something for them to eat when he heard a knock at the door.
He frowned. They hadn't discussed how they were going to handle telling everyone about them—or when—so he wasn't sure what to do. Quietly padding to the front door, her peered through the peephole.
He was surprised to see a familiar but unwelcome face. Benjamin.
Knowing she'd probably be pissed, but unable to stop himself, Booth wrapped the towel around his waist and opened the door as casually as he could manage.
Benjamin looked startled at first, but a slow smile spread across his face. "Good afternoon. I was looking for Temperance, but it looks like I came at a bad time. Are you…Agent Booth?"
Booth nodded, unsure what to make of this. "And you're Benjamin?" he asked grimly.
Just then, Brennan emerged from her bedroom wearing a robe and towel on her head like a turban. "Did I hear someone—Benjamin? Oh. I forgot we had lunch plans today."
Booth turned slightly, but was still blocking the doorway. "Lunch plans?"
Benjamin smiled widely at her, and she returned his grin. Booth watched some understanding pass between them.
"I'll just…go. I'm assuming that you don't require an escort tonight?" Benjamin sounded amused.
Brennan shook her head. "I'll talk to you later, Benjamin. I'm sorry you came to DC for nothing, and for neglecting to call you."
"It's fine. It looks like you were otherwise occupied. I'll just check in with Victoria and Robert. See what they're up to today," Benjamin was still grinning for ear to ear. "Goodbye, Temperance. It was nice to meet you, Agent Booth," he said with a nod and then he was gone.
Booth closed the door and leaned against it, watching Brennan. "Okay, what was that all about?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, why were you two grinning at each other like a pair of fools? And you had plans with him today? Lunch and then…oh. The benefit."
Brennan walked into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee.
"Still…" Booth trailed after her. "That was weird."
Booth watched her for a moment, considering. Should he admit that he'd been jealous and suspicious of Benjamin the whole time? That he'd answered the door in a towel to stake his claim?
He shook his head slightly. "He seemed…pleased that I was here."
She nodded and took a sip. "Yes, I believe that's an accurate assessment."
"So he comes all the way to DC from…wherever he lives, to find that you've got another man in your apartment, you've forgotten about the lunch plans you made, and you cancel your evening plans at the last minute and he's thrilled?"
She was smiling at him enigmatically. "Booth, I assured that he and I are just friends." She walked around the table and stood in front of him, placing her hands on his hips. "I was being honest."
She kissed him.
"I still don't understand. That was…strange."
"Why did you answer the door in a towel?"
"Why did you answer the door in a towel?" she repeated.
He blushed guiltily. "Well, I didn't have time to…" She shook her head, cutting him off, still smiling that knowing smile. He should have known she'd see right through him.
"Booth, Benjamin is a homosexual. He was never interested in me sexually or romantically."
He gaped at her. "He's gay?"
"Yes," she said without further explanation.
Booth was torn between annoyance, exasperation, and glee. He shrugged off his annoyance and kissed her fiercely. "And you didn't think I might have been interested in that fact before now?"
She frowned. "I don't understand."
"Oh, God, Bones," he groaned. "Sometimes you are so adorably clueless." He lightly traced his finger over her forehead, smoothing away the frown between her eyes. "I was jealous of him."
"From the second I heard his name come out of your mouth." Their faces were so close they were practically breathing each other in. "If you were any other woman, I might suspect you were doing it on purpose."
Her smile faltered for a split second, and Booth tensed. "What?" he asked. When she didn't respond he followed up with, "Were you doing it on purpose?"
"Not to make you jealous," she whispered, her eyes focused on his chest.
"But you kept it a secret on purpose?" he whispered back.
"I thought…" she trailed off, and he curled a knuckle under her chin, forcing her eyes to his. "I needed a buffer, too."
"Oh." He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. How easily he'd forgotten that a week ago he'd still been with Hannah. When he opened his eyes, she looked so vulnerable that it made him ache. He threaded his fingers through her hair and pulled her in for another kiss. "I'm so sorry, Bones. I swear I didn't—"
"Stop. We both made mistakes. Let's just…enjoy this."
He took a deep breath. "We can't just…there are things that need to be said."
"I know. But…not now. The last few weeks have left me feeling…emotionally drained. Let's just enjoy this for a little while first."
"What about tonight?"
"We're going together, right?" he asked.
"I would like that very much."
"As partners, or…"
"Oh." She cocked her head to the side. "Do you want to tell everyone now?"
"Not really, but…"
"Well, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep my hands off you. Especially if you wear that blue backless number that you wore a couple of years ago…"
She raised an eyebrow.
"Let's just say I've," he cleared his throat, "thought about that dress many times," he answered with a sheepish grin.
"It seems prudent to keep this between us for now. I can't imagine that it would please your superiors to hear about our involvement on the grapevine."
Booth chuckled, but didn't correct her. "You're probably right. All right…I'll try to keep my hands to myself. But I make no promises."
That evening Brennan was straightening Booth's bow tie when she said, "Stop that."
He cupped her hips and pulled her against him. "Stop what?"
She leaned back and met his eyes. "You were engaging in what Angela calls 'eye sex.'"
"Well…I was thinking about peeling that dress off of you later tonight." He rubbed his hand up and down her bare back, nuzzling her neck. "There's no place to hide a bra in that dress and I can't wait to see what kind of panties you're wearing under there."
"Oh. I'm sorry to say you'll be disappointed then," she said with an air of innocence that immediately made him suspicious.
"Because I'm not wearing any."