This is for natesmama and part of the Secret Cupid story exchange. Her prompt: Nothing angsty, something that might involve Brennan and Cam in a not-smutty way. Here we go, I hope you like it, Jen! Happy Valentine's Day!
Also, thanks to some1tookmyname for "Americanizing" it ;-)
CAM: I'm glad. It's been a long time since he's dated anyone.
BRENNAN: I know. It's important for Booth to share his life. I prefer being alone.
CAM: But you're seeing Hacker.
BRENNAN: Yes, and I like him, but not like Booth. I mean not like Booth wants to like someone.
CAM: All organisms evolve and develop along patterns only recognized in retrospect. Your life doesn't exist outside the laws of nature.
BRENNAN: Then, in ignorance, I await my own surprise. Although the odds of it involving a commitment to another person are remote.
CAM: I never thought I'd be dating now; yet I am.
BRENNAN: You met someone.
CAM: I think so. We're going to have lunch.
BRENNAN: It's been quite a while for you.
CAM: And thanks for pointing that out.
5x19 "The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle"
THE BEST KIND OF WRONG
Temperance Brennan awoke to a kick, but, unlike so often these days, the kick didn't come from within her pregnant belly but from under the cocoon of her blankets. Somewhere around the region of her shins. She groaned in half-sleep, gravitating towards the source of warmth right next to her, and, in instinctive response to her restlessness, strong arms wrapped her into a familiar embrace.
"Hmm... did the baby awake you?"
She placed a drowsy kiss to the firm chest in front of her.
"No, you kicked me."
"Nah, wouldn't do that. Go back to sleep..."
One warm palm slipped under the hem of her shirt, caressing her bare back, but soon the movement stilled and the even sound of his breaths indicated that he had gone back to sleep, leaving her more awake than not. Turning her head, she cast a glance at the illuminated digits next to her side of the bed. 6 am. Not long and the noise of the alarm would cut into the peace of their early morning.
Brennan shifted in Booth's arms until he was spooning her from behind, one big palm splayed out on the firm roundness of her belly. Now that she was awake, she could feel the baby's gentle movements inside of her, and, behind her, his breath was tickling the soft hair on her nape.
It was a moment so innocent and intimate, the cover of sleep lowering every guard, the day not fully there yet, and while waking up like this would be quite ordinary for a lot of people in the world – the brave ones, the loving ones – it still wasn't for her. Brennan had never done this before, going to bed with someone and waking up in his presence day after day. Booth liked to sleep with the windows closed and he preferred to wear boxers and a tee. By now, she was able to distinguish his underwear and socks by their patterns. Brennan had never known someone so intimately... like she knew Booth and the million little details that summed up to be this man.
The baby inside of her rolled, hitting some intestines, and she sucked in a breath. The hand above her belly went rigid and started to move on purpose then.
"That's not sleep," he murmured, his words caressing her ear.
"Your daughter is awake."
"She shouldn't be, it's too early."
"Thanks for informing me, Booth. I will tell her, and I'm positive that she'll be cooperative."
"It's too early for sarcasm as well."
He pulled her tighter into his warm embrace, nuzzling her neck with his nose.
"You smell good."
"I smell like always, Booth."
"So the syllogism would be..."
"You always smell good."
"That's just your body reacting to my pheromones."
He snuggled up to her from behind, his fingers playing with the hem of her shorts.
"Hmm, your pheromones are just so damn good."
A smile played around her lips, and then they formed a silent "oh", as his fingers slipped into her shorts and panties, brushing her sensitive skin.
"We have to get up soon."
"I haven't heard the alarm clock so far, have you?"
She squirmed in his hold, but it was a pleasant kind of squirming, and his fingertips circled her once, twice before dipping into her snug heat.
"You were saying?"
Booth's voice was husky, still raw from sleep, and everything inside of her responded to his words and his caress. With a content sigh, she spread her thighs a few inches, allowing him better access.
"Nothing. Just touch me."
He chuckled softly, kissing her earlobe a moment later.
"Good morning Booth."
The finger inside of her twisted and caressed her even deeper, and she moaned ever so softly.
"Just pheromones, Baby," he murmured behind her, and, gathering her strength, she turned around in his arms until she was facing him.
Using his free hand, he brushed a silky curl out of her flushed face, and her sparkling blue eyes met his dazzling brown.
"Okay, more than... just pheromones," she breathed while her eyelids fluttered, struggling to maintain eye contact.
Hooking one leg over his hip, she allowed him to deepen the caress, and her head fell back onto the pillow while her body responded to his touch with post-sleep defenselessness. One arm snaked around her waist, pulling her even closer to him, and his open-mouthed kiss found the tender skin of her throat, sucking gently.
Two voices groaned in unison, and she hit the button to silence it.
"Now I've heard the alarm..."
"Yeah... what about quick and uninhibited?"
Closing the distance to his mouth, she covered it with her own, whispering, "I'm always in the mood for quick and uninhibited."
His smirk met her own. Oh, he knew that she was. He had spent precious months gathering that knowledge first-hand, and it wasn't long until she was gloriously naked beside him and he spooned her from behind, joining their bodies with one smooth stroke.
And it was morning.
Morning turned into forenoon, and, about four hours later, Brennan frequented the ladies' for what felt like the tenth time in one hour. Four weeks away from her due date, the baby was applying rather unpleasant pressure to her viscera. She was just rearranging her clothes, when the restroom door opened and closed with a loud thud, followed by a female sniffle.
Unwilling to stay hidden in the narrow stall, she opened the door cautiously, standing face to face with a rather upset Cam, and something between helplessness and panic arose in Brennan. Taking a deep breath, she washed her hands before turning to her boss.
"You seem upset."
Begin with the obvious. That would be safe ground, Brennan assumed.
"I am upset."
"Do you... do you wanna talk about it?"
Whenever Booth was bothered by something, it helped him if she listened to him.
"I don't know. Do you really wanna hear it?" Cam asked dryly, and Brennan shrugged.
"Preferably not, but since you and I are bound in a social context, your emotional wellbeing is important to me, and I'm willing to share the burden by listening to your problems."
"Okay, that's good enough for me. It's about Paul."
"Oh... did he terminate your relationship?"
"No! No... on the contrary. He wants me to move in with him."
"You do?" Cam ogled her coworker incredulously.
"You are afraid of losing your safety net," Brennan nodded, and Cam started to pace the room anxiously.
"Exactly! I mean, I'm not young anymore – not that I'm old – and Michelle will leave for college soon. I really really like Paul, and it's nice to be with him, but..." Cam's voice trailed off.
"Do you love Paul?"
One moment full of heavy silence, then:
"Yes. More than I thought I would."
"And does he love you?"
A smile broke out on Cam's face.
"Dr. Saroyan, you don't really have a problem, then. Adjusting can be hard, even adjusting to happiness, and love itself always contains the risk to lose. It is normal that this prospect troubles you."
"So you're saying..."
"Commitment comes with a price. But," one hand moved over her swollen belly, "from where I'm standing, I have to say that it is worth it."
Cam opened her mouth and closed it again.
"Dr. Brennan, you are giving relationship advice."
"I believe I am."
"Okay, this is a little bit weird."
"I have to admit that I've been rather reluctant about this topic in the past, but my perception has changed radically since then."
"You said you preferred being alone. You wanted to be ignorant and uncommitted."
Brennan smiled, remembering that conversation so long ago. It had been before Maluku and Afghanistan. Before Hannah, before the dead doctor and the blizzard. Long before that bullet which had taken away one of their own and the night where they'd made a baby.
"Well, I guess I've received my surprise."
"What if it doesn't work? What if I let him so far into my life and it still doesn't work?"
In an uncharacteristic gesture, Brennan reached out to take Cam's hand.
"That would be devastating. But I'd like to point out another approach: What if it does work?"
"To hinge your happiness on something you cannot control is almost unbearable. You just have to trust this other person that he will handle your heart with care. I guess it's called faith."
Brennan looked up with a shrug, finding Cam's warm gaze on her.
"Thank you, Dr. Brennan. And I have to say... wow."
"Don't get me wrong, but I'm kind of proud right now."
"You believe in love."
Something warm and beautiful lit up Brennan's whole face.
"I just believe in Booth."
"And I... I believe in Paul. Thank you again, you were surprisingly helpful. I have to call Paul."
"What will you tell him?"
"That I love him."
"I've come to learn that a declaration of love is always an excellent point."
"I feel the need to hug you," Cam stated, and Brennan nodded.
"That would be appropriate."
The two women embraced rather clumsily around Brennan's enormous belly, and then both of them laughed out in sudden embarrassment. One quick glance to check her make-up later, Cam was out of the room, and Brennan regarded her own reflection in the mirror with profound satisfaction. She had made it through girl talk without screwing up, in fact, it hadn't been that bad at all. She felt the sudden wish to share her accomplishment with Booth, but something told her that girl talk was meant to stay private.
The baby chose that moment to kick, evoking that familiar urge in her bladder. Rolling her eyes, Brennan turned towards the toilet stall anew. Four more weeks.
Morning turned into afternoon without further incidents, and about a hundred restroom breaks later, Brennan left the lab and headed to her car. There was something and someone she needed to see...
The scent of paint hung heavily in the otherwise fresh winter air. The sounds of wood being sawed and nails being hammered were accompanied by radio music and the voices of men. It was the sound of building, of creating. A door, a rooftop, a house, a life.
Brennan made her way through her future home, carefully avoiding the holes in the ground. Despite its devastating shape, the house had always been fundamentally beautiful to her, and she could see the progress since her last visit. The building was like a battered skeleton, but the bones had started to heal and were there was no chance that they ever could, grafts had been used to make it whole again. It would be solid and stronger than ever.
"You must be the housewife."
Brennan turned around and found a stout man in blue overalls approaching her.
"Mr. Booth's woman."
"The answer would be no and yes."
The man outstretched his callous hand.
"I'm Bob the builder, yeah, it's true, you are allowed to laugh."
A look of honest puzzlement washed over Brennan's face upon shaking the offered hand.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Bob. Why should I laugh?"
"Are you kidding me?"
"I wouldn't know how."
There he was, clad in work clothes, some yellowish streaks on his brow – maybe paint – and a hammer in his hand. As always, everything inside of her gravitated towards him in a mighty wave. Coming back to Booth at the end of the day was one of her favorite parts.
"Hi Booth," she smiled, and he discarded the tool while closing the distance to her in two long strides.
She offered him her cheek, and he brushed it with his lips before bending down and dropping another kiss on top of her belly.
"My favorite girls."
Brennan rolled her eyes but decided not to comment.
"Come on, I want to show you something."
Taking her hand, he dragged her along, and his boyish excitement was somehow contagious – but then again, it had always been.
So many years ago, he had invaded her neatly organized life with his vibrant vitality. Part of her had responded right from the start, and because of the person she had been, she had labeled it as "attraction". Attraction was safe, it could lead to more, but it wouldn't hit too deeply. She had been wrong, though, because he had touched her. Had begun to reach out to her physically, little gestures of possessiveness and comfort, guy hugs, but then, and that had been the hardest part, he had begun to touch her emotionally.
Brennan had studied Booth, his way to embrace life, his unwavering belief in fate and love and people... and she had felt something. An unpleasant sting of soreness. Melancholy? Jealousy? Fear? She had wanted it as well, his kind of trust, but the tracks that have shaped a life are deep, so deep. Too deep, she had thought for a very long time.
The warmth of his hand was streaming into her own, and, as she followed Booth through the construction site that would be their home, she had to think about her conversation with Cam again.
Commitment. Ignorance. Surprise.
A smile tugged at her lips, and she stumbled slightly, but within a heartbeat he had spun around, steadying her with his firm hands around her waist.
"Whoa, Bones, careful. Are you okay?"
She nodded, and he stilled, surprised by the amusement on her face.
"Why are you grinning like that?"
"You are commitment, I've been ignorance, and she's surprise. We are very figurative family."
His eyebrows arched up in that funny way which always indicated that he had no clue what she was talking about; she had learned to read that by now.
"It's just," she shrugged, "girl talk. Never mind."
"Girl talk? Bones, I love you, but sometimes I don't understand you."
"That's fine, a woman should always maintain an aura of mystery."
"Girl talk again?"
"No, I've read that one in a book."
"A book? What kind of book?"
"Well..." Brennan almost blushed. "10 secrets to make a relationship work."
"10 secrets..." He chuckled but tried to hide it by pulling her into her arms. "Bones, if they were truly 'secrets', no relationship would ever work."
"If you must know, I didn't find it very useful myself."
"But," the vibrating chuckles around her subsided, and he swayed her gently in his hug, "I'm touched that you bought it in the first place. It's a very you way to say that it means something."
"Booth... it has always meant something, you know that, right? Even before her."
"Get a room."
The deep voice next to them tore them out of their private bubble, and Booth growled.
"He is Bob the builder," Brennan stated with a frown between her eyes, but Booth started to giggle in a very unmanly way.
"I know, that's why I hired him. Isn't that cool? Come on, Babe."
He tugged at her hand anew, and she followed him hesitantly, wondering why everybody seemed to think that this was so very funny, making a mental note to google it tonight.
Booth led her into the baby's room, and a few moments later, she could understand his excitement.
Her voice was a whisper of awe, and she took in the smooth wooden floor and the light yellow wall painting. In the corner next to the window she spotted a mobile with little blue dolphins dancing in the golden evening light, and as her eyes met his expectant gaze, Brennan was surprised by a sudden tightness in her throat.
"You like it? I know, I should have discussed the color with you, but you hate gendered clichés, so I didn't choose pink. I wanted to surprise you, and I thought you'd like the dolphins. We can put her crib underneath. What do you call it? Ah, visual stimulation." His rambling subsided, and his gaze was almost pleading. "Say something, please."
Raising herself onto her tiptoes, she kissed him hard and urgently.
Relief and joy washed over his handsome face.
She nodded eagerly.
"Absolutely. I love it. She will love it."
Booth pulled her into his arms with a happy laugh.
She had been living with him long enough to get the sports metaphor, and her arms snaked around his waist, as her head found its usual place on his shoulder.
Once, she had preferred being alone. If she had ever thought in pictures and metaphors, Temperance Brennan might have seen herself as a lonely planet, conquering the universe without touching others. Without any risk to collide.
Then he had thrown her out of her orbit, and it had happened; the crashing, the falling, the struggling. However, out of the chaos which should have destroyed her, something utterly beautiful had been born.
It had been the best kind of wrong ever.
She would never be alone again. And neither would he.
A shout-out to love :)