Title: Every Day After Today
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Note / Summary: One-shot within TBoPE series (no need to read anything else to get this). This is the result of Unleash the Bat's request: "Could you write something short about Joanna's wedding?" I hope you like it!
Leonard pushed open the door to the main sanctuary of the church, his eyes sweeping the interior. He paused when he found who he was looking for, sitting in the front, in the pew closest to the altar.
Pushing the door open further, he stepped into the space and let the door swing shut behind him, closing with a clang! that seemed very loud in this unnaturally hushed place. He didn't know what it was about churches, but every single one he'd ever been in over the course of his life – a small count, for sure – had all seemed quiet. Whether full of people, or nearly empty, like now, he perceived a quiet stillness that he didn't experience anywhere else. It made everything he did, every noise he made, seem loud.
And though he knew there was no way Jim hadn't heard him, he hadn't turned to see who was intruding on his solitude. Leonard made his way up the aisle, and then slid into the pew beside Jim. He sat quietly, observing Jim's profile for a moment before turning to look at the altar. It was decorated with sweet-smelling red and white flowers of a couple of different types – ready for the wedding that was going to be taking place in about an hour. It was pretty, surprisingly traditional, and completely Joanna.
Their baby girl was getting married today.
After another couple of moments of silence, Jim sighed and reached for Leonard's hand, giving it a squeeze. He looked over at him and smiled.
"Hey," he said. "How's she doing?"
Leonard shrugged. "She's fine. A little nervous…more concerned about not tripping and having to speak in front of a group of people than the actual getting married part. Aurelan and the girls are with her. How're you?"
"I'm fine," Jim said. He leaned against Bones, pulling their joined hands into his lap.
"So…you just decided to have a sit down with the Almighty…to what? Check in?"
Jim chuckled and shrugged. "Yeah, as a matter of fact. I like to check in every now and then. And…I was just thinking. It all happened so fast. I can't believe she's getting married." He paused, then turned to look at his partner of over 20 years, his eyes traveling over the face he knew so well. The lines had become a little more prominent, there was a bit of salt in the dark hair now, but those changes made him even more handsome to Jim's eye, because they were reminders of all the time they'd had together, everything they'd experienced, how they'd grown and changed – all of it.
Leonard searched Jim's eyes, waiting to see if he was going to continue with whatever thoughts were swirling behind that vibrant blue.
"We should get going," Jim said, pulling away and moving to stand. "People are going to start arriving soon, and we should be out there to greet them."
"Wait, wait," Leonard said, pulling on Jim's hand and urging him to sit back down. "Tell me."
Keeping his eyes on their joined hands, Jim shrugged. "It's stupid. And I know it's stupid."
"Never stopped you before," Leonard said, and Jim quirked a smile at that. "C'mon…tell me."
Jim looked up at him to meet his eyes. "I am so happy for Jo…Matt's a great guy, he makes her so happy, and they're obviously good for each other."
"But?" Leonard asked, prompting Jim to tell him what was on his mind.
"It's just…we've never been ius/i without her. Our life together has always been centered on Joanna. She hasn't lived at home for years, but she still has a bedroom in the house, Bones. And this…this is…"
"It's a change," Leonard filled in. "It's a huge change…for all of us. And there's going to be more, for sure. But I'm looking forward to them."
"Yeah?" Jim asked.
"Definitely. Like you said, we've never been us without Jo…and now we are. And we can do anything we want, Jim. Anything. We can stay here. We can move to Texas. We can wait until there's grandkids and then move to Texas."
"Oh…stop, stop. I can't think of myself as a grandparent yet," Jim said.
Leonard just smiled and squeezed Jim's hand. "All that matters to me, Jim – all that's ever mattered to me – is that my daughter grow up happy and healthy, and that you and I are together."
Jim smiled, and stood, urging Leonard to stand with him. He hugged him tightly, leaning against his warm, solid frame, then pulled away and smoothed his hands across Leonard's jacket, down his arms.
"You look awesome in a suit," Jim said.
"You too, Darlin'," Leonard replied.
"You know Bones…you're completely right."
Jim gave him a look as he followed him out of the pew. "Well, I don't know about that. But, let's go get Jo married so we can get on with things."
Together they exited the sanctuary and headed to the lobby where people were starting to arrive and were already being greeted by Matt's parents. Jim caught sight of Kimmie and her husband, and he and Leonard split up to greet the guests, and before long it was time for everyone to take their places.
Standing behind the double doors, members of the wedding party slowly making their way down the aisle and splitting up on the bride's and groom's side.
"Don't trip, don't trip, don't trip," Joanna whispered to herself. She gripped her bouquet and fiddled with the edge of the veil, her hand shaking slightly. Standing beside her, waiting for their turn to go down the aisle, Leonard noticed and took her hand, holding it gently.
"Jo, you look so beautiful," he said sincerely. "And you're not going to trip. Take a breath, Baby, and relax."
"And have fun," Jim added from her other side. "Enjoy yourself here, every minute of it."
Joanna looked from her father to her oide and did what they said, taking a deep breath, and making a conscious effort to let her features relax into a smile.
"I'm so lucky to have you both," she said, her voice shaky with a roil of emotion she was trying to get a handle on.
"We're the lucky ones, Baby," Leonard said. His voice cracked and he looked away from her, blinking quickly.
"Daddy, if you make me cry and ruin my make-up…" she said.
"Okay, and it's your turn Joanna…and…"
All of the guests in the sanctuary stood, and Jim heard Joanna take another deep breath before taking their first steps down the aisle. Leonard and Jim glanced at each other over her head, smiles on their faces. Matt had eyes only for Joanna, and she was keeping her eyes on him.
"And who gives the bride away?" the pastor asked.
"We do," Leonard answered. Joanna turned to him, and kiss his cheek.
"Love you Daddy," she whispered. Leonard smiled at her, and moved away while Joanna turned to Jim. "Love you Oide."
Leonard and Jim sat down as Joanna handed the bouquet to Janie. Matt took his place facing her, and the ceremony started. Leonard took Jim's hand as he listened to his little girl make her promises and Matt to make his.
He looked at Jim, and with the possibilities that stretched out in front of their lives now, made those same promises to him all over again.