So season 7 is finally here. Everybody OK, we all made it, right? :) This is my first offering of the season...I have to say, it feels good to be back.

Based around the idea of Booth feeling like Brennan will be the one who asks him to marry her.

I'd like to thank my ever wonderful beta, eitoph for her feedback and some1tookmyname for her reassurances. You ladies are endlessly kind!

Disclaimer: I own nothing of any of the seven seasons that have brought us all together in this fantastic little fandom.

Enjoy.

..:::..

Show Me All of Your Doubts

..:::..

We push and pull,
And I fall down sometimes,
But I'm not letting go,
You hold the other line.

There is a light in your eyes.

-Matt Kearney

..:::..

He can't say that he was expecting it. The way she just saunters into his office, all wide blue eyes and a curious quirk to her lips, there are no two ways about it; something has shifted, something monumental. She tips her head towards the door and he is hers, following her for no other reason than because he is completely in awe of her. There is something...different about her today. She has been glowing in the last few months, the birth of their daughter and motherhood agreeing with her on a level neither of them had really been prepared for. But today, today is something else. Today is lustful and intimate. The little kick of her hips in her step is teasing him, taunting him.

She walks from his office to the elevator with a breeze and confidence that he just will never stop loving, holding the door open for him as he slips inside. He wants to ask where they are going, he wants to ask her just how she had convinced him to leave work in the middle of a case, he wants to ask her why she isn't at work herself, but God, more than anything, he just wants this spell to never break, he wants the silence to bubble between them forever until it is just all too much and they can't help but rip each other's clothes off in a passionate frenzy.

The elevator doors part, opening to the ground floor, interrupting his perfect, tense silence with their dinging and groaning.

Those eyes, those soulful eyes, turn to him. And she blinks.

Just once.

Delicate eyelashes folding over her blue irises.

He swallows and is lost.

Because in that one blink he sees the doubts lingering below.

..:::..

Charlotte Brennan-Booth certainly takes after her father; she is definitely not a morning person, her mom and dad rousing her from slumber at six each morning to ensure she is kept in routine. Booth will kiss her forehead and breathe her in each day before he starts to get ready for work. Some mornings he picks her up in his arms and takes her to the shower with him, cherishing every second he can. Brennan, on the other hand, has the entire day to bask in awe of how much she loves her daughter and by the time Charlotte is just weeks old, there is a morning tradition in her life. Brennan will run her hands delicately across Charlotte's forehead, watching as her brown eyes look up in wonder, dancing around in the morning sunshine, her irises catching the light, showcasing those few little flecks of green. Brennan watches her daughter carefully, memorising every detail, every minute feature and then slowly she begins to pull her hand away. And like clockwork, a tiny hand will reach out and grasp her finger. The simplest form of communication; that touch means the world to Brennan.

A warmth like no other spreads through her on those mornings, those small fingers curled around hers fill her with a sense of joy and belonging that can't be paralleled.

It's when the grasp stops coming that Brennan begins to feel that old doubt settling in. It's not that she's a lonely teenager again, or even the same woman she was before she met Booth, she knows in the back of her mind that she'll never be alone again, but the doubt lingers in some kind of twisted familiarity that she can't seem to escape, no matter the reassurances that have been laid before her in the form of a loving family.

She keeps it to herself, and she is sure that Booth suspects nothing has changed, but each and every morning, even when she starts back at work again, Brennan sneaks into Charlotte and runs her hand across her forehead, waiting for that tiny fist to reach up and take her finger. Each and every morning, Charlotte looks up at her with that wide eyed wonder and keeps her hand firmly down, cuddled into her torso. And Brennan breaks a little more each time.

The weather starts to get warmer, Charlotte grows a little every day and Brennan finds herself thinking a lot about the past and the future and how it's all linked. She remembers a conversation she had with Booth months before Charlotte was even born, she remembers him being sure that it would be her that asked him to marry her. And she thinks that maybe that is the key to forever after all. Booth is the heart person, she is not. She tries to be, but in the end she always defaults to her partner. Their relationship is about give and take, it is about balance and if he listens to her all the time about the importance of routine for Charlotte and making sure he eats more than take out seven nights a week, then maybe she can bend towards him a little on the idea of marriage.

Just a little.

But she would certainly not be asking him.

..:::..

"Bones, what's going on?"

She smiles at him and he sees it again, that doubt.

"I have something to give you."

He just looks at her, trying to figure it out, "Are you okay?"

"Yes, Booth, I'm fine."

They've been walking a little while and they come to a stop outside the diner, it's like an unspoken agreement between them; they won't go in just yet, "Bones, where's Charlotte?" he silently scolds himself for taking this long to realise that his daughter is not with them, he them silently blames his partner and her distracting eyes.

"I left her with Angela."

"In the lab?"

"Yes."

"And Cam let you?"

Brennan smiles, and takes his hand, "Charlotte is perfectly fine, I trust no one more than Angela. Can we talk?"

Booth relaxes at her touch, and can't help but smile a little too, "Yeah," he breathes out.

"As I said, I wish to give you something." She looks him in the eye, "I have found myself thinking about everything that we are, both as a couple and as parents. I have come to the conclusion that whilst marriage is an archaic ritual which has lost its meaning over the many years it has been in practice, it is something that would bind us together as a family and..."

Booth cuts in, "Wait a second? Are you?" He frowns, "Bones, just because I said you would be the one asking me to marry you, it doesn't mean I really thought it. You don't have to..."

"Don't be ridiculous, Booth. I am merely giving you the opportunity to ask me. And if you do, I want you to know that my answer will be yes."

At first, her confession floors him and then for a minute Booth imagines everything as it would be with Brennan as his wife. He imagines the big wedding, the white picket fence and their pet dog. He imagines a life for his family, Charlotte would have the backyard to grow up in and Parker would visit on the weekends to play with his little sister. And there, standing on that sidewalk, he looks into his partner's eyes and sees all that he needs to see to be sure.

He sees her smile falter, her eyes cast downwards and realises that it's not what he wants if it's going to hurt them, "Bones, I...why now? What's changed?"

She looks up at him, vulnerability clear, "I just don't want to be alone and I know that you want this."

And it's a moment of realisation for the both of them, because in that second Booth sees his fantasy life for what it is.

A fantasy.

"I think that I've been chasing a dream, Bones. I've had my sights set on it for that long now that I may have lost sight of the important things."

Their relationship has always been give and take, a balance. And as he faces the reality of a life without marriage, he has to admit, it feels pretty damn balanced.

"So now you're saying you don't want to get married?" She asks in confusion, that cold doubt leeching in once again.

"I am saying that I want to be with you for the rest of my life."

And somehow, the combination of his words with the wide smile and look of overwhelming clarity that runs across his features gives her the hope she has been waiting for.

The doubt runs away from her.

..:::..

He buys her a ring, a simple golden thing, with nothing on it but an engraving of love run around the inside. He never asks her the question and she never questions his choice. Instead, one night as they lay naked under the sheets, basking in the afterglow, in that blissful sated feeling that he brings to her time after time, he takes her hand and kisses her softly, breaking away only to watch her eyes, those endless depths of wonder, light up as he slides the gold band onto her finger. It's still warm from his touch and it feels like Charlotte clinging to her once more. This ring signifies their family; solid, warm and always with her. Because it doesn't matter that she gave him permission, no, it doesn't matter one bit. He is amazed everyday by the realisations she has brought to him, the feelings of contentment and happiness without the thing he thought he had wanted most and she is so sure of him, so positive that her life will never be lonely again.

He will always be captivated by those eyes and the secrets that they show to him, he will never let go.

And really, isn't that promise worth more than a piece of paper?