This is a little birthday ditty for the wonderful some1tookmyname. She's so wonderful that days before her own birthday, she had to give me her own idea for a fic. I hope this lives up to what you had in your mind :) Happy birthday, T. You deserve the biggest break of a day and I hope you get it. Thank you for always being there to bounce ideas off and to cheer us up with stories of Beyonce and her sibling metal chickens. You're a legend! :)

And to the rest of you, go read her stuff...it's amazing!

The biggest thank you to eitoph, who is endlessly helpful! I am seriously the luckiest fic writer in the world to have her (also read her stuff).

Disclaimer: We all know I don't own Bones.

Enjoy.

..:::..

Give a Little Love

..:::..

Love is a curious thing. The delicate balance held between two people can never be replicated by another two; just as each person is unique, so is a couple's love. Some have an easy back and forth banter, some have an intense, deep lust and some don't know why they're together anymore, but know that if they were to lose their other half, they wouldn't survive. Nothing about love is consistent, except how different it is.

..:::..

Booth remembers feeling like she was rubbing it in his face.

It wasn't as though he was jealous, he couldn't be. Sully was a good guy and Bones, well she was his friend, his partner. It was his duty to be protective of her. See, definitely not jealousy. Just two friends. Partners really, they didn't spend that much time together outside of work.

He definitely wasn't jealous.

Except that when she would walk into the lab with Sully and they would hold hands and they would hug and they would kiss and they would look so damn happy with themselves, he couldn't help but feel something.

And so what if that feeling was something akin to jealousy?

But for all the public displays of affection and for all the conversations he had to bear about sex and socks, Booth knew something that Sully couldn't.

It was never going to be love.

Because despite it being so early in their surrogate relationship (hell, Sweets hadn't even been around to alert them to that fact yet), Booth knew there was only one man Bones was capable of loving in that forever kind of way. It wasn't that he was being self absorbed or arrogant or anything else. It was just Booth with his gut feeling and the memory of their first case together. Their relationship was always going somewhere, (he'd felt that so surely when he'd kissed her, the taste of tequila and rain mixed on her tongue) and their destination was together, never apart.

..:::..

She knew she had brought it on herself.

He was as serious as a heart attack with her and she was alone. Not that she'd had any plans to not be alone, of course. Because being alone had always been an inevitability for her, a single life shared was just a dream that couldn't possibly come true.

She remembers Booth telling her how in love he was. All the time. And she remembers wishing that she could tell him that she understands love now, that she understands how much she had hurt him in the past, and that she doesn't understand how he can go on loving someone else when he had promised 30 or 40 or 50 years to her. She can't understand it because he's the one she'd usually ask about it and for all that she doesn't understand, she knows that you don't ask another woman's man about love.

At least not until you can't hold it in any longer.

She knew at the time that she shouldn't say anything, but everything she'd learned from Booth about love told her to fight for it, so she told him about her regrets and he told her about Hannah again. And it struck her that he was always telling her about Hannah, he was always making sure everybody knew the details of their relationship, of their business. And she was sure that was something that Booth just didn't stand for.

Thoughts of 'what's between us should just be ours' began floating through her head, she started to wonder why that applied to she and Booth and not the woman he was in love with.

By the time she figured it all out, Booth was angry and she realised her imperviousness was still somewhat intact. But that didn't matter because Booth had told her that there was only one person you could love the most.

And she was pretty sure she knew who he meant.

..:::..

It's different when they're together (but that's a given, because it is love). They go to work and they come home and it's wonderful because it's just them. Angela knows the day it happens, but that's only because Brennan chooses to tell her. For the rest of their friends, it takes until the announcement of the pregnancy to figure it out.

It's Hodgins who draws their attention to it first. They're at the Founding Fathers and they're all still reeling from the news of the pregnancy, Hodgins raises a glass to the group and smiles in disbelief and pure happiness for his friends, "To the couple we have been betting on from the beginning. They hid it so well that if it weren't for the baby, we'd have continued pooling the money that is now funding Cam's Christmas vacation."

Cam grins, "Here here."

And they chink their glasses together and drink to their happiness. Booth keeps his hand on that spot on Brennan's back and Hodgins whisks his wife around to a melody that no one else can hear while Cam smiles at Paul, something unspoken travelling between them as they all laugh lightly with the soft ease that has befallen their little family. In the wonderful newness of the night, no one notices that Brennan has withdrawn from the conversation a little, her genius mind running on overload wondering about the implications of their friend's toast.

..:::..

Brennan slips out of her dress and turns to the wardrobe to find her pyjamas, Booth admires her slightly more curvaceous form as she turns, "Pregnancy suits you, Bones."

She smiles despite herself, "Pregnancy is not a state of dress, Booth." She pulls a light nightgown over herself, then her expression turns to that unsure curiosity she gets when she wants to ask a question but she's not sure if it's going to hurt feelings, "Do you think everyone thought we were hiding our relationship from them?"

He frowns, she's obviously been thinking about it all night, "We weren't hiding our relationship."

"But nobody knew."

"Because neither one of us has felt the need to flaunt it," He tugs her to the bed, "Listen, Bones, I love you and you know that, right?"

She nods, "And I love you, too."

He runs a finger down her jaw and tilts her head to look at him, "And did that change at all in the last few hours?"

She shakes her head, "No." He senses the 'but' before she says it, "But I don't want our friends to think our relationship is any less valid than anyone else's." She doesn't name names, but he can sense that bitter hint in her voice and he feels a fresh wave of guilt wash over him for the lies that he had told her, because truth be told, Hannah was a consolation prize. She was never the standard, how could she be? But the problem with lying is it makes the truth feel cheap and so he can't backtrack on what he has already said in the past; forward is the only option.

He moves his hand to cradle her cheek, resting his forehead against hers, willing her to believe every word he is about to say. It's a subtle nod, but he feels it; her silent way of letting him know that she is ready to listen, "The three greatest things to have ever happened to me are Parker, that beautiful baby you are carrying and you, Bones. You are the most valid thing in my life and so is this relationship. Those other people, they were just for show, okay? We're for real."

She takes in a deep breath, "We're for real." And she says it like she understands it.

"Yeah, Bones, we're for real. No theatrics, no justification, just us. And if you would feel more comfortable, we can shout it from the rooftops to let everyone know."

She nods again, "That would be awfully dangerous, Booth."

He moves his head back before seeing the smile forming on her face, "Good one, Bones." He chuckles. And they find themselves silent as they finally make eye contact. Changing the direction of his hand, he runs it across her jaw to the back of her neck, pulling her to him, lips welcoming her. He kisses her with a soft intimacy that's solid in a way, telling her this is real, what they have together is all he has ever wanted and when he pulls away she has no doubt as to any aspect of their relationship, "And see, we get to do this behind closed doors and keep the rest of them wondering."

She smiles at him and he smiles at her and they fall to the bed together, safe and happy in the privacy of their own little universe.

..:::..

You see, love really does manifest in different ways. But for Booth and Brennan, it never truly found its way into the open until it was behind closed doors. They'll each look back at those past relationships (it's only human nature to do so) and recognise the lies they were living. She'll wonder about that man long ago who offered to take her sailing around the world and he'll wonder about that woman who caught him when he was spiralling out of control. They will both discover that those people were the ones they wanted at the time, they were the ones they had to show off to the world to prove their love. They were never the ones they needed though, never the ones they really loved.

They found the strength in their love much later. It was always inevitable for them; it just took a little longer.

Because the good kind is always hidden away.

..:::..