Chapter 18: A teeny, tiny, epilogue
Booth was mesmerized by the glint of gold on his finger when he picked Christine up and brought her inside to put her down for the night. He kicked the door shut behind him with his foot. With the sounds of the party—his wedding party—suddenly muted, he reveled in the moment. The weight of a tired baby on his arm and chest, the cool of the house, the relative silence, the smell of last night's fire...all welcomed him in.
"Da da da da da da..." Christine chanted his name and slapped fingers wet from her mouth against his cheek. He mouthed her fingers with teeth covered with lips, pretending to chew on them. She squealed happily and then rubbed her eye, bending over and nuzzling into his chest. He felt a wave of love for her, for her mother, for his life, that paralyzed him. He had to stop at the foot of the stairs, swaying slightly as he tightened his arms around her, pressed his nose into her. Christine didn't seem to mind the tight embrace, but wriggled into a prone position against him, laying her head to fit perfectly along his shoulder. Booth smelled her baby smell and listened to her baby mumblings and rubbed her tiny back with a hand big enough to cover it whole. Again, he saw the glint of gold as he stroked her softly.
He heard the door open and shut behind him, his mother come to join him at the bottom of the staircase.
"I never get to do this. I just had to see her go to sleep." She smiled and rubbed Christine's back a little too. Marianne looked up at him and asked solicitously, want clear in her eyes. "Is that okay? Do you...do you...want me to put her down?" She tried so hard to not encroach on him, on their family, and Booth was glad she was back in his life but he had to acknowledge (if only because Bones made him) that he continued to feel a little bit of who do you think you are when Marianne inserted herself into established family routines. He swallowed his irritation. Nothing would ruin today.
"Sure, Mom. Here, baby..." He transferred Christine, who was almost asleep already. "See you outside?" He whispered to his mother. She agreed with an absent nod, her face turned down toward the baby, attention on Christine. Booth could tell that she was going to take her time. He couldn't blame her, watching Christine's sweet head bob gently as Marianne walked up the stairs.
Shaking off his melancholy, Booth turned and headed back outside to find his wife.
Brennan was very interested in hearing the story of how Booth came to have a wedding ring ready and waiting in her size. She was not surprised at how well the ring suited her; Booth had always given her the most appropriate presents, perfect for her. A simple band of gold with little diamonds and other gemstones set in flat so that there was nothing raised to catch on rubber gloves or expensive equipment. It was like a little sparkling band of prism.
But it was his wedding band she found herself perseverating on. His hands were beautiful; there was really no other word for it. Strong, long fingered, a little calloused from engaging in all the physical work and training he did. She had always found his hands extremely attractive. But now...now, she was mesmerized.
His hands reaching for a cereal box, the remote, another piece of pizza. Passing her book to her, pouring beer from a pitcher at the bar, swiping his card to gain access to the forensic platform.
When he shook someone's hand, she would now watch his free hand, see the gleam of the ring, and think "That man is married," and realize that he was married to her.
Booth cupped her face too gently for her to feel the ring against her cheek when he kissed her, but in their most passionate moments, when he lost control and gripped and held her in place where he wanted, needed, her, she was sure she could feel the pressure of the ring against her.
She had known intellectually, and even had begun to acknowledge and understand emotionally, what marriage meant for him. And despite her deep conviction that she knew herself well, Brennan half expected to be surprised by an increase of irrational feelings of passion and attachment. As she had said to Cam once, "in ignorance, I await my own surprise". But she wasn't surprised by herself, at least not by getting "goopy and gooey" as Angela would say.
What surprised her was the shock of pride and pleasure that came every time she saw that ring on his finger. He was publicly, every second of every day, saying that he chose to be with her. Temperance Brennan. Yes, brilliant and accomplished. But also awkward and driven, literal and in her opinion, probably meant to be alone. And yet, he preferred her company, her opinion, over others. Had for a long time. He liked her best. It was a little crazy to think it, but he clearly liked how pathologically direct she was, even when he was irritated by it. And now...they were married. He wasn't just making things work, taking the good with all the not so good that came with this relationship.
This realization made her want to kiss him. Every time. First, she'd see the ring and think "he's married" then "he's married to me" then "oh my god he chose to be married to me" and then "I want to kiss him". Her inner monologue had no care for where they were either...home, work, gym, Christine's daycare, the grocery store—
"Bones?" She moved her gaze from his hand to his face.
"You okay?" He looked a little puzzled, maybe a little worried, his head turned to look at her from where he stood in their kitchen. She moved closer, her eyes slipping down to watch the soap and the grease slipping from his hands down the sink, revealing the gleam of gold. And so Brennan gave in, nudging her way between him and the sink, loving the feel of his hips pressed into hers even as he jumped and held his arms out to the side, laughing.
"Bones! I'm going to get you all wet." His mouth was still smiling when she pressed the first kiss to his lips.
"I don't care, Booth." She reached out as she opened her mouth under his, luring him deeper into a kiss even as she wove her fingers through his slippery ones, squeezing to feel the hard edges of the ring against the base of her finger.