I don't know if you're following my other story, but I've been doing the "Past in the Present" thing for a while now. So, this is the Christmas edition. I'm stretching (make that violating) the show's timeline with this story, I know, but let's just pretend it has happened like this. After all, it's Christmas.
All you have to know about "The Past in the Present":
"Booth, this might sound crazy, but I'd like to suggest something. What do you think about reenacting the first times we could have had?"
He wrinkled his nose.
"Like role play, Bones?"
She pondered his question for a moment.
"Yes and no, since we wouldn't play roles but our former selves."
THE PAST IN THE PRESENT: CHRISTMAS EDITION
I. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
Temperance Brennan could name the exact year Christmas had lost its magic for her. She had been fifteen years old, waking up one December morning in the fragments of her former life. The abandonment of her parents had been too grave to be true, and, when they hadn't in some magical way returned to her on Christmas morning, Christmas itself had taken part in the betrayal as well.
She had refused to believe in anything magical from then on.
Seeley Booth loved Christmas. Cherished it. Santa and elves and the power of wishes. He had held tight to it during his battered childhood and the years after because... the world wasn't that bad if something like Christmas could exist in it as well, was it?
What happens, if two people like them crash into the holiday season with the speed of light? It could be good, right? Add a child to the mix, and it could be perfect.
One year ago, she had worn a blond wig, hiding in a crappy motel room somewhere in rural Iowa. One year ago, he had spent Christmas alone, trying very desperately to stay sane. One year ago, there hadn't been magic for their baby girl.
Where do you go from there? Well, it had to be somewhere because... Christmas was just around the corner.
Ho-ho-ho. Ho. Ho...
With every house in their street that put on decorations, she got quieter; with every December day that went by, his smile felt more frozen, until, one evening, the topic had gotten even bigger than the metaphorical elephant in the room.
Until neither of them could avoid the inevitable anymore.
"Bones, we have to talk about Christmas."
Dropping the dish towel, she turned around with wide eyes, her voice nothing but a whisper.
He shrugged while grabbing two wine glasses.
"I mean, it's not just us, we have to think about Christine as well. And even if it were just us..."
"You'd want magic."
Pouring wine into two glasses, he watched the reflections in the deep red for a while.
"I was hoping for a miracle last year, you know? Sitting there on Christmas morning, watching the door. Wishing against all odds..."
His voice trailed off, as her stomach clenched. After Pelant, after she had come home, she had been happy enough to slip back into their old life without too many thoughts. It had been too easy, she had known it all along. It was ironic, somehow, that she had done to him what her parents had done to her, and she remembered another Christmas morning, when she had been the one watching the door.
Taking one cautious step towards him, she brushed his arm.
He shook his head, avoiding her gaze.
"It's okay, I know."
"No, it's not. Christmas is... mean. It's so intrusive with its joy, wants you to be happy, but when you're not..."
"You're even lonelier."
"But... we aren't alone."
She took one more step towards him, and, tilting her head, she rubbed her cheek against his sleeve in an uncharacteristic gesture of neediness. He stretched his arm, wrapping it around her shoulder, tucking her under his chin. And everything was better somehow, if only a little. After a while, he chuckled.
"Christmas is mean, huh?"
She blushed, even though he couldn't see it.
"Yes, it's just too... Christmas-y."
His second arm joined in, pulling her into a full embrace.
"Bones... Last year was... it was..." He swallowed hard. "But... I still believe in Christmas, you know?"
"Last year was so sad," she murmured into his chest, and he lost a kiss in her hair.
"Let's get Christmas back, Baby. Just... let's give this a shot. Christine deserves a real, full-fledged Christmas. And we do, too."
Raising her head, she sought his gaze.
"What if I don't like it?"
Finally, a grin broke out on his face.
"A Seeley Booth Christmas? You'll love it."
And his grin triggered her own.
The next day, a wooden reindeer made it into their dooryard. A sleigh followed shortly after. Two days later, the mighty hut was sparkling with a hundred Christmas lights. Christine watched the development with bright eyes, not quite understanding what was going on, but sensing a strange kind of excitement.
In the house, it smelled like gingerbread and wood fire, and, one evening, timid snowflakes began their dance in the air. Wearing a red snowsuit, the girl was running around in the garden, catching frosty flakes with her hands, watching utterly amazed how the strange cold thingies melted in her palms.
"It's just water, Christine, the altered aggregate state makes it so pretty."
Catching his girl from behind, Booth threw her into the air.
"Don't listen to Mommy, it's snow and it's magic!"
Christine screamed with glee, and Booth put her down again, turning to her mother.
Her brow furrowed, and she braced her hands on her hips.
"There's hardly anything magical about weather."
Approaching Brennan with a big grin, he lifted her, whirling her around until her protest died in laughter. Snowflakes were gathering in her auburn hair, glistening in the dim evening light, and her cheeks were rosy from the cold. Letting her down again, slowly, Booth held her close to his body for a while, swaying her in a rhythm that matched the falling snow, the child hopping around them in a circle.
"Magic is in the eye of the beholder," he murmured, pushing a few loose curls out of her face, and, when he kissed her, her lips were warm despite the cold, and she tasted like oranges and cinnamon.
She hummed against his lips, her fingers drawing lazy patterns on his back.
"Can't we settle on 'beautiful' for a start?" she finally asked softly, and he captured her lips one more time. Equally softly.
"Yeah, we can. Look at the snow, Christine! Isn't it beautiful?"
The girl was looking up at her parents with big eyes, and, with a deep breath that smelled like winter, a long-forgotten sensation began to stir in Brennan. It was just a hunch, but it was there.
Something that felt like Christmas.
Later that night, after they had put a very excited girl to bed, after he had told the story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer for about three times, a bottle of wine found them on their couch.
"Booth... I was thinking..."
"Hey, that's something new."
Rolling her eyes, she let her head fall onto his shoulder.
He chuckled, taking a sip of his wine.
"You were thinking?"
"Yes. Now that's Christmas... for real... I was thinking about our other Christmases."
"Locked up in the lab and stuff like that?"
"Stuff like that, exactly."
Her hand found his easily, fingers caressing each other.
"And what exactly were you thinking?"
"I wanna go back, Booth."
"Like the ghosts of Christmas?"
"No... more like this other thing we're doing."
Wiggling her eyebrows, she looked up at him, and he had to laugh.
"You really think we should've had sex while waiting for the poisonous lung fungus to kick in?"
Now it was her turn to smile.
"No, but we missed out. On a lot of things. Let's just, I don't know, make the most of it."
Tilting her head, he brushed her silky hair with his lips, and she nestled up to him.
"Whatever you want, Babe."
"What do you know about spiking eggnog?"
To be continued...
Here we go. This idea should have come a few weeks ago, but I still hope to finish this story before Christmas. Typos are all mine. If anybody has too much free time at hand and wants to beta, give me a note.