Disclaimer: I don't own Bones.

In answer to the Bonesology prompt "Booth Pops the Question", set post-Secrets in the Proposal:

Booth proposes to Brennan.

1. Less than 2,000 words
2. No mention of Pelant
3. Christine is not physically in the story (she can be mentioned, but she is not present)
4. A unique ring is involved.

I see new stories related to the premiere from dharmamonkey (Entropy), razztaztic (Chapter 42 in Bits & Pieces: Perfect Timing), Covalent Bond (Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity - two more parts to come), NatesMama (The One Where Everyone Gets What They Deserve), and Wendish (Always a Bridesmaid), and of course, the incomparable, faithinbones (Mind, Body and Soul).

If you let me know that there are others, I'll try to update this A/N. I hope you like the story. It takes place just after he-who-shall-not-be-named-in-this-story is dealt with once and for all. 3sq 9/21/13

I brush my hair one last time and place the brush in its place at my dressing table, adjusting it until it is lined up right. When I look up, Booth is standing behind me where he wasn't before.

I am not startled. A room always feels full with him in it and a room without him always seems incomplete somehow. It has been that way a long long time. Despite everything.

I hold his gaze. I can see the emotion in the dark eyes, the tilt of his head, the small quirk of his lips. His tie is off, dress shirt partially unbuttoned over his undershirt. He looks tired but the haggard look is gone. His eyes are light and warmth and expectation, not just hope and patience and faith.

Tomorrow is Friday and my father is taking Christine. Booth and I are spending a weekend together alone for the first time since Booth finally informed me of the circumstances of our broken engagement. I wonder if Booth will propose this weekend. It would be very like him to do so while we are alone, perhaps with some grand romantic gesture. I feel uncomfortable suddenly. He knows me well but I think that I worry a little that I won't appreciate it the way he would like me to.

I forget my anxiety as he walks forward slowly to stand behind me in the mirror. The masculine strut of his hips, the hint of strong thighs flexing beneath the day's dark suit pants, a glimpse of flat stomach; all so gorgeously and entirely Booth. Sitting half-naked at my table, watching him approach in the mirror, I feel deliciously exposed and safe. He stands behind me as I sit just centimeters from him, feeling his warmth at my back through the cloth of his shirt and dress pants. He reaches forward and gathers up my hair in his hands. I can feel the silky strands catch on his rough palms and I shudder involuntarily. I watch his lips press together in satisfaction, and the way his strong, tanned left fist grips and shifts the substantial heft of my hair, careless and certain in his right to do so. I watch, spellbound, as he reaches with his free right hand to rub and stroke the rough tips of his fingers along the exposed slope of my neck, my shoulder. I try, I try to hold his gaze, but I can't help it, my eyes close and my head drops forward and to the side slightly, to encourage and supplicate.

I love watching him, but now, with my eyes shut, I am so entirely focused on his touch, rough against my shoulder and along my arm that I almost jump when I feel his lips tracing the path his fingers took. At the wet flick of his tongue, I shudder, and at the low rasp of his voice, I melt.


I allow myself a small needy moan in answer.

"How does this feel, Bones?" How does it feel? How could he not know, he must know what he does to me.

The husky sound of my own voice comes as a surprise as does the laugh that escapes, low and...happy. "It feels good, Booth. So good." His lips pause on my skin and I know I have moved him too.

"Watch me, baby." My eyes fly open and hold his again. Two steps away, two steps back and the main light is off, a small table lamp the only illumination left in the room. His eyes on mine, he slips his shirt off, tosses it casually to the side, and then pulls his t-shirt over his head. His eyes glitter.

"Are you watching, Bones?"

"I am watching, Booth." His hands settle at his waist, loosening his belt to hang free, unbuttoning his pants and then pausing.

"Do you see me, Bones?"

"I see you, Booth." I am not sure what he is asking and it is hard to concentrate when I just want his mouth on mine, just want to slip into bed with him.

"Do you see me, Bones? Do you know me now?"

I let my head drop back against his stomach, shift my eyes from the man in the mirror to look up at him looming over me. His hand releases my hair and smooths it away from my face as I nestle against his warmth, the smooth skin of his belly. His fingers trail along the shell of my ear, down my jaw, and stroke along my exposed neck. "I...I don't know what you mean."

"Don't you know that I will always love you? I heard what you said about phase 1 and 2 and dopamine and brain chemistry but I am asking you, now. Do you believe me now? That I love you. That I would die for you. That I will always love you. I will love you until the day that I die." His fingers tickle gently at the hollow of my throat and I feel the burning desire to feel him surround me, his scent and heat. "Do you see me, Bones? Can you see that I love you? Can you feel how much I love you?" The steady murmur of his voice is relentless.

I pull myself away from him suddenly and stand, turn to press against him. My arms come up helplessly and pull his face down to mine. He moans as his takes my mouth and I know he is done talking. But I'm not. Against his mouth, I speak.

"I see you, Booth. I know—" And then we are kissing again and I push at his hands and clothes and shift my own until we are both naked and I'm propelling him backwards to the bed. "I know you love me. I know, I know. I love you too. I cannot imagine not loving you." I don't even care about the double negative. Rolling together, our legs tangled and bodies already a little sweaty, I arch up to catch his mouth again and take control, satisfaction and ownership surging through me until he pushes back. And then it is just the two of us, Booth and I, and we are alone in our room, together in our love, the signs of that love all around us.

B &B

The weekend was obviously not what Booth had planned. He had me pack Friday morning to go out of town, but midmorning, Russ called me at the Jeffersonian. He and Amy needed to go to a funeral and they didn't want to bring Haley and Emma. Would we have them for the weekend? And then it didn't make sense anymore to send Christine with Max because the girls are excellent sitters and truly seem to enjoy playing with their cousin. Rebecca called in the afternoon to see if she could switch next weekend for this one, if Booth and I could have Parker this weekend, and oh, he had a friend staying with him, was that alright?

Honestly, I was sorry for the change in plans, but also amazed and grateful for the full house, so different than anything I had ever imagined for myself. So unexpected, even now. The house is big enough that Haley and Emma could have the guest room to themselves, delighting in their own bathroom and sunken tub. Parker and his friend would occupy the new bunk beds in Parker's room, and we would all have breakfast together in the mornings. Again, I was sorry but not sorry and Angela commented that I was smiling more than usual. I wasn't sure how to explain what I felt so I said nothing. Just smiled at her. Proving her point, I suppose.

Booth seemed to deflate a little more with each phone call, each change in plans. By mid-afternoon, he was very grouchy. When he came home, however, about an hour after Christine and I, he was energetic and upbeat, carrying grocery bags full of "necessary" supplies for our weekend: popcorn and mini powdered donuts, bacon and sloppy joe mix. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. Booth loves having Parker, loves doing family things. Also, he announced that he has Plans, and then refused to tell me about them. I had expected a weekend of hints and mystery, but somehow I didn't think that this was what he had in mind originally.

I woke in the morning to the ringing of bells. Downstairs, and with the bedroom door shut, they weren't too loud, too intrusive, but the tintinnabulation was impossible to sleep through. I made my way downstairs to find the kids all ringing bells to announce breakfast. Parker and his friend each had cowbells, the big girls had handbells, and Christine was shaking her favorite instrument—a stick covered with sleigh bells. Christine and I reached for one another, and Booth waved his fingers at me from where he stood by the table. Delighted with their surprise, the kids happily chivied me toward the loaded breakfast table. We crowded around it for bacon and pancakes, perfectly cooked by Emma and I felt the unexpected sting of melancholy for the memory of the half burnt, half raw pancakes of her younger years.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of activity and while some events seemed impulsive, I had the firm conviction that Booth was masterminding the activities of the day, even the smallest ones, but I couldn't see why.

He had bought tickets to a circus set up in the park and whispered jokes about Buck and Wanda in my ear as Christine clapped with delight at the shiny metal circles spinning in the air above a diminutive juggler. Dogs leapt through flaming rings of fire. Clowns mock fought in a bouncy fighter's ring. The older kids laughed and held onto one another as the clowns bounced and bumped in and over each other, giant boxing gloves adding to the chaos. We left the circus tent in early afternoon and walked the long way around to the car, warm in the late summer sun. Christine was awake and talking in her stroller, but we needed to get her home for a nap.

At home, Christine asleep in her crib, Booth insisted we all watch a movie. Popcorn and Ring Dings, lemonade and candy. We watched movie about elves and hobbits and magic that I would never have endured if not for the presence of kids and Booth's irrepressible good humor. I stayed awake long enough to see the enchanted object pass from uncle to nephew but then allowed myself to doze in the warmth of Booth's big body curled behind mine.

I woke to find myself alone on the couch, a light blanket thrown over me. I could hear voices from outside and padded through the house to join my family. The trill of an old style rotary dial phone stopped me before I reached the glass doors. Looking around, I saw that it was my phone that was ringing. Had Booth changed my ringtone? It was Angela. Calling to say that they would love to come for a cookout and that they were bringing dessert.

It wasn't the romantic getaway that I had expected, but I would not have enjoyed it any more if it had been. The ring of young voices playing hide and seek in the dark yard, Christine drowsy in my lap during a card game, the smell of the candles we lit to keep the bugs away. All combined to bring a peace too long denied. The rest could wait.

Booth and I reached the bed at the same time that night. I felt a simple rush of warmth and love equal to the passion of the night before as we pressed close against one another. His hand slipped under my shirt to rub warm circles against my back. I used my nails to stroke through his hair and along his neck, soothing him as he soothed me and when I woke Sunday morning it was with a smile at the feel of his big body still curled close around mine. I slid my hand over his and yet he didn't stir, the heavy almost snore familiar in the quiet chill of the room. The early morning sunlight streamed through the unshuttered windows we had forgotten to close.

This made it all the easier to see the sparkling diamond wedding band circling the handle of the tiny silver bell on the table by my bed.


A/N (2): So what happens now? Am I disqualified? Christine snuck in. And there were many unusual rings (can you find them all), but not the final one. And I might have accidentally written too many words. Damn. So this was a little silly maybe, but what the hell, hope you liked it. 3sq 9/20/13