Disclaimer: Right. I own Bones. And if you believe that, I have some magical pocket lint that I'd like to sell you…

A/N: The chunk of italicized text in this chapter is a flashback that Booth is relating to the group; let me know if the formatting works for you or whether it's just really confusing. Also, the pickup lines used in this fic are adapted from the following website (without the extra spaces): http:/ / 50-nerdy-pick-up-lines. Many thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed! Seriously, you guys are the reason why this former one-shot isn't wasting away in Hard Drive Land.

Chapter Five: Decision

"You see," Booth said, a grin creeping across his face, "Bones did something that I never would have predicted. She proposed."

"I did not propose!" Brennan sniffed indignantly. "You were the one who said that we should get married."

"Only 'cause you said we'd get married someday."

"Parker was the one to bring up the subject; I merely answered his question," Brennan protested.

"Wait, wait, wait," Sweets said. "Parker was there?"

Booth nodded. "Yeah, we were eating lunch at Bones' apartment. Her world famous mac & cheese, in fact…"

"Are you and my dad going to get married now that you're boyfriend and girlfriend?" Parker asked curiously.

"That depends on your father," Brennan replied promptly. "But I assume that we will someday, yes. Booth is very traditional and I have come to understand that certain compromises are necessary in a romantic relationship."

Booth sputtered on his bite of macaroni. When he'd finally swallowed it, he said, "I thought you didn't believe in marriage, Bones."

"I don't," Brennan said simply. "A signed piece of paper will not essentially change the nature of any relationship. But you believe in marriage and I… I believe in you. You are important to me, Booth. Besides, there are multiple practical benefits to being legally connected with one another. If we get married, society will recognize the seriousness of our relationship; this will be reflected in the rights and protections we will be afforded under the law."

"Bones," Booth said slowly, "are you proposing to me?"

"I am merely pointing out the pragmatism of such an arrangement," Brennan said calmly, wiping her mouth with a napkin.

A grin blossomed across Booth's face. "You are! You, Temperance Brennan, are proposing."

Brennan shifted uncomfortably. "You are misinterpreting my comments."

"No, I'm pretty sure I understood you, Bones. You want to marry me. I have to say, I wasn't exactly expecting this, but sure, let's get married."

Parker, who had been watching the verbal tennis match with keen interest, said, "Cool. Does this mean I get to use your swimming pool more often, Bones?"

"I suppose that depends on where Booth and I choose to live," Brennan said, shrugging. Picking up her cell phone, she scrolled through something on it and added, "Why don't we go down to the courthouse today, then, and get the paperwork out of the way?"

"You want to get married today?" Booth asked, his voice rising half an octave in surprise.

"I don't see why not," Brennan said matter-of-factly. "It's just a piece of paper, Booth, and we have the time right now. Besides, we wouldn't actually be getting married today, we'd just be starting the process. It takes at least three business days for a marriage license to be issued in D.C."

"Oh no, we're getting married today, baby."

"If it is that important to you, I suspect that Caroline knows several string-pullers at the courthouse," Brennan said slowly.

"You're brilliant, Bones," Booth said, giving her a quick peck and picking up his phone.

Angela's voice was indignant as she said, "You told Caroline before you told me?"

"Hey, I didn't want Bones to get cold feet and change her mind," Booth said.

"I wouldn't have changed my mind, Booth," Brennan said quietly. "I had been thinking about this change in our relationship for a while."

"Well, I didn't want to take any chances," Booth said firmly.

"Caroline was indeed able to procure a license for us without the waiting period," Brennan informed the group. "Furthermore, Booth remembered that in his days as Noddy Comet, Dr. Wyatt had been ordained as a 'minister.' We called him, and it transpired that he was still legally qualified to officiate weddings."

"The wedding party consisted of five people: Caroline, Gordon Gordon, Parker, Bones, and me. We filled out the necessary paperwork, Gordon Gordon said a couple of ceremonial words and bam! – we were husband and wife," Booth said smiling. After a brief pause, he added, "So, Bones, do you believe in fate now?"

"Of course not," Brennan sniffed. "I love you, Booth, but the notion of fate is positively ludicrous."

Booth's smile drooped, and Brennan rushed to clarify.

"I do not believe in fate or mystical powers or all-powerful beings," she explained. "Rather, I believe in science and verifiable fact, in human nature and patterns and probabilities. I believe in individual responsibility. Saying that you and I were fated to be together – that cheapens it. I believe that we make our own choices, and that those choices have led us to where we are today, not some ephemeral force. I believe that you and I purposefully choosing one another is far more meaningful than any predetermined destiny."

"Bones, I don't think I've ever heard you say anything so romantic," Booth said, eyes boring warmly into hers.

Earnestly, Brennan responded, "It's not romantic, Booth, it's rational."

"To-may-toe, to-mah-toe," Booth said, leaning in to kiss her.

Hodgins glanced at his wife, whose eyes were sparkling with tears.

"Hey, babe, you OK?" he asked her quietly as Booth and Brennan continued their osculation.

"I'm just so… so happy for them," Angela half-sobbed. Furiously wiping a tear away from her cheek, she added, "And I hate pregnancy hormones."

Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, Hodgins drew her in closer and gave her a firm hug.

"Wait, so you told your former therapist that you were getting married, but you couldn't be bothered to tell your current one?" Sweets all-but-whined. "Not cool, guys. Not cool."

Breaking apart from their kiss, Dr. Brennan pointed out, "Only because he could act as our marriage officiant, Dr. Sweets."

"Why didn't you give us a call when you decided to get married?" Angela asked from her position in Hodgins' arms.

"I… I'm not sure," Booth said slowly. "We got so caught up in the whole wedding thing that it didn't even occur to us. Besides, you're one to talk. You and Hodgins eloped too."

Angela shrugged in rueful acknowledgment.

"Are the two of you planning on holding a belated wedding reception?" Cam asked interestedly.

"Well –" Booth began.

"– there will be a reception," Angela informed the pair firmly in a tone that Hodgins recognized as one of an Official Decree. "Since we didn't get to see you two get married, you will give us the satisfaction of congratulating you in a formal setting. It's simple anthropology, Bren. Your friends and family need an outlet."

"I suppose we could arrange a reception," Brennan said hesitantly.

"Leave it to me, sweetie," Angela said.

Hodgins suppressed a wince. He could already tell that reception-planning was going to dominate Angela's attention (and thus their shared lives) for the next couple of weeks.

"So how did the rest of your families take the news?" Dr. Sweets asked curiously.

"Pops was disappointed that he hadn't been present, but he was thrilled for us," Booth responded.

"He said that he couldn't believe we had taken so long getting around to it," Brennan said, smirking. "As for my father…"

"He wanted to kill me, Bones!" Booth said.

"He was just playing with you," Brennan said dismissively. "He was happy for us."

Booth retorted, "I believe his exact words were, 'Don't mess this up. You're a good guy, Booth, but if you hurt her, you'll only wish for your death to be as merciful as Garrett Delaney's and Deputy Director Kirby's. Oh, and by the way, I'm happy for the two of you.'"

"That sounds like Max," Hodgins said in a commiserating tone. "Just be glad he didn't give you a physical souvenir à la Angela's dad."

"If Bones hadn't been there, he might have," Booth insisted.

"My father knows that I can look after myself," Brennan informed the group. "And he knows that if he hurt you, I would be very displeased."

"Gee, thanks, Bones, that's really comforting," Booth muttered.

Remembering their plane conversation from the previous week, Hodgins reflected with amusement that some things never changed.

"Speaking of Parker, I believe this is our weekend to have him, correct?" Brennan asked her partner.

"Yep. In fact, we should get going so we'll be there when Rebecca drops him off," Booth agreed, getting to his feet.

As the partners pulled on their coats, Hodgins told them, "Congratulations again, guys."

"Congratulations," Cam echoed.

Angela rose to her feet and gave first Brennan, then Booth, tight hugs. "We'll talk about the reception later this weekend," she informed them.

After several rounds of goodbyes, Booth and Dr. Brennan left the bar.

"Huh," Cam said, sinking back into the booth. "Who'd have thought they'd actually get married?"

"I don't know how I missed it," Sweets muttered, shaking his head. "All the clues were there in front of me."

"Hey, don't beat yourself up," Hodgins said, feeling a bit sorry for the therapist. "None of us noticed. We'd all given up on them."

"Eh-hem," Angela coughed pointedly.

"Except Angela," Hodgins conceded quickly. "But she's brilliant about those sorts of things."

"Yeah I am," Angela said, waggling her eyebrows. She then leaned over and whispered into his ear, "You know what they say, Jack… subduction leads to orogeny. How about we go back home and make our bedrock?"

Hodgins' draw dropped open.

Angela had been hornier than usual recently, but he'd never heard her use a line like that one before. Angela talking nerdy? H-O-T, baby.

"Hell yeah," he stuttered. Turning to the remaining members of the team, he said, "We're gonna head out now too. Have a good night!"

Ignoring their friends' knowing smiles, he helped Angela into her coat.

Marrying Angela was undoubtedly one of the best things that had ever happened to him; it was arguably the smartest decision he'd ever made. He could only hope that the same would be true for Booth and Dr. Brennan.