Note: OK, here's the deal. One-shots, some cannon, some AU. My hope is that this will result in me finishing some of the half-finished stories moldering on my hard drive, but if that doesn't happen, that's fine. Here's the first one.

What if? Brennan let Booth read one of her books before it was published.

AU? No

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He could hear her rattling around in their bedroom as he cooked. He'd lived alone for years – with the exception of the nights when he was lucky enough to have Parker – and he fully appreciated the wonders of having someone to share his life with.

He also appreciated the joys of having the house to himself on occasion, and he was looking forward to spending the day alone while Bones and Christine were at the zoo with Angela and Michael.

The toaster binged and he tossed the toast onto the plate, yelling, "Breakfast's on!" Almost immediately, he heard the thundering footsteps of his daughter running down the stairs, accompanied by Brennan yelling, "Walk, Christine!"

Christine slid into her chair and smiled at him, thrilled at the smiley face he'd made out of bacon and eggs. "Thanks, Daddy." She glanced at the stairs and, satisfied her mother was still upstairs, whispered, "Mommy doesn't think it tastes better when it's a smiley face, but I do."

He yelled up the stairs, "Bones? Breakfast's getting cold", then sat down at his place so that he and Christine could say grace. As they ate, he listened as Christine told him all about the animals she expected to see on their trip.

He was almost done before Brennan came downstairs. She set a stack of papers face down on the table and picked up her cutlery.

Booth waited somewhat impatiently for her to look up, then nodded to the papers. "Please tell me you're not bringing work with you to the zoo."

Brennan shook her head. "That's for you." She took another bite of her eggs, smiling slightly at the confusion on his face.

He picked up the stack of papers and turned it over. When he saw the title, his eyes shot back to her.

"Your new book."

She shrugged. "You always say you want to read them before they're published." She turned her attention back to her food, suddenly self-conscious.

He pushed his chair back and walked around the table, leaning down to kiss her. "Thank you, Bones."


Booth plopped down on the couch before Brennan's Prius was off the driveway. He set a glass of water on the coffee table, lay back, and started to read.

He'd read her other books – usually as soon as they came out – but he was honored that she trusted him to read the book before it was published. (It was about time. She'd let that cult guy read her books after they'd been together a couple of months. He'd been her partner for years.)

The book started – as they all did – with the discovery of a body, this one hacked to pieces and spread between three separate garbage dumps. It was a fascinating case, and before long he was lost in the story.


Brennan and Christine got home later than expected, exhausted from a long day outdoors. They rushed through dinner and the bed time routine, and soon Christine was bundled off to bed. She fell asleep quickly, and her parents retreated to the couch. Brennan relaxed back into the comfortable cushions, closing her eyes and lifting her aching feet into Booth's lap. Booth absentmindedly rubbed her feet as he pondered how to bring up the subject on his mind.

They sat in silence for a few moments, until Booth broke the silence. "I read your book."

Her eyes snapped open and her panicked gaze met his calm eyes. "Oh."

He nodded. "I didn't expect that ending."

She pulled away and sat up. "It seemed appropriate for the characters." He waited, and she continued, "They've been together for a while. They trust each other, and they love each other. It was time for them to … take the next step."

"Marriage." His voice was quiet.

She swallowed, her throat suddenly feeling too small. "Yes", she finally managed to choke out.

"Kathy and Andy are getting married", Booth confirmed. He turned his attention back to her feet.

She slowly relaxed back onto the cushions. A few minutes later, he pulled his hands from her feet and turned to her. "I have to wonder, Bones."

Her breath caught, and she forced herself to breathe evenly as he continued, "Andy and Kathy … you always say they aren't us."

"They aren't", she confirmed, and he winced, then nodded as if she'd confirmed something he already knew. "But there are similarities."

At her words, his head whipped around so that he could meet his eyes. "I need you to spell it out for me, Bones."

"You know I don't view marriage the same way you do", she replied. "I probably never will."

"I know", he answered.

"But ..."

"But?", he asked.

"But we are fully committed to each other."

"Yes", he affirmed.

"I don't anticipate that that will change."

"Me either", he replied quietly.

"And we share a child."

"We do", he agreed.

"There are financial and legal benefits to marriage", she explained, realizing as she did that she was babbling.


"I think we should get married", she finally blurted out.

His hands dropped to his sides and he focused all of his attention on reading the expression on her face. "You think we should, or you want to?"

She took a deep breath and answered, "I want to."

His face broke into a joyful smile. "Me too, Bones." He pulled her into his lap and captured her lips in a passionate kiss. "Let's do it."

She smiled back, surprised at how happy she was at the thought of having something she'd never wanted. "Let's get married", she agreed.

He rested his forehead on hers. "I thought you'd never ask."

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I'm definitely open to suggestions – let me know what you'd like to read.