Chapter 19: The Ring in the Fountain
From the transcript of Harbingers in the Fountain.
AVALON: The cards say only your top layer is rational. Underneath you're as crazy as I am. And that's a complement.
BRENNAN: Doesn't sound like one.
BOOTH: This is usually when we go and drink.
AVALON: You two are going to keep doing things as usual.
BOOTH: Sometimes you gotta settle for second best.
(AVALON gives the two of them a look. BRENNAN looks a bit confused.)
AVALON: By the way, my cards tell me this all works out eventually.
BOOTH: Oh. (in disbelief) Really?
BRENNAN: What all works out eventually?
(BOOTH just stares at her.)
(BOOTH walks into his office.)
BRENNAN: (following him) What all works out eventually?
Booth had an 11:00 meeting and he didn't know how long it was going to take so he told Bones he couldn't meet her for lunch that day. He was surprised then, to look up and find her at his office door, sometime mid-morning...he checked his watch, 10:17 am. He felt the lift in his mood the second he saw her, knew that it showed on his face. He had long since stopped hiding it, but he had always fucking felt it. Always. Even way back when she mostly irritated him. Even then, he felt good when she was around. Curious or even ready for a good fight. Now he mostly wanted to kiss her, but still, she roused his fighting instincts when she got all snotty.
He knew now that she was always drawn to him too. Oh, she covered it under the guise of trying to figure out a scientific explanation for his unlikely success or ability to unearth motive or perceive lying, but she was drawn to him from the beginning. He didn't have to hide it anymore, didn't even try. She, however, out of habit or sheer cussedness—Booth favored the latter—still did.
He pushed his chair back from his desk to swivel and face her fully, smiling. "Bones! What's up?"
"Oh, you know, Booth, I was here and thought I should say hello." Yeah, right. Bones didn't just show up for no reason. And her body language was pure Bones. Pure has-something-to-ask-or-say-but-doesn't-know-how Bones. She looked behind her quickly, moved into his office farther. She paused near the desk and looked up at him, thinking, and then moved into him where he sat and, flicking another glance behind her, leaned over to kiss him. She was ready for him to try to pull her into his lap so instead he bracketed her face with his hands and held her in place, prolonging the kiss that she would have kept short. Surprised, she tried to pull back but, he thought smugly, she never could resist a soft kiss.
When he finally ended the kiss and pulled back gently until he could see her, her eyes were closed and her lips turned up softly. She blinked slowly and to his surprise, instead of pulling away, kissed him again. He let her take the lead this time, and found that he was gripping her hips when she finally released him. This time, she smiled, and now she was a little smug.
"Did you come here just to kiss me? Not that I'm complaining…" He said, almost whispering, enjoying being close to her, the sound of her breath, her scent.
"No." This time, she didn't look behind her but she wanted to, he could tell.
"What gives, Bones? You want to ask me something?" She straightened and stood at the side of his desk, shifting some papers a little farther from the edge.
"Well, as a matter of fact, I was wondering something."
He really was curious now. They'd only been married a few weeks, and their lives hadn't changed really, but he still hadn't gotten used to the burst of pure joy he felt when he thought about it (often), or when she referred to it (rarely), or when he was conscious of the ring on his finger (every second of every damn day).
"Sure, Bones. What do you want to know?"
"I wondered…" She glanced up at him from where her face tilted downward and then forced herself to look at him boldly, a little aggressive, the way she got when she was insecure. "...I wondered when...precisely...you bought me this ring." They both glanced down at her hand.
Booth reached out and took her hand in his, running his thumb over her fingers and ring. It was his turn to smile and he let it be gentle, didn't respond to the aggression. "This ring?" he teased.
She nodded, once.
Instead of teasing her more, he answered.
"After you were stabbed with the scalpel." And her eyes widened as he spoke; her fingers tightened on his.
"Remember? Dr. Leacock. Harbingers of the New something or other?" He cleared his throat, suddenly dry. "Avalon?" She nodded a little, but was obviously shocked by his answer.
"Avalon said to us that 'Everything worked out eventually,' and she meant us, us being together. Before that...she was the one who told me that you were in danger. That's why I went to Leacock's office, remember? She told me, Bones. And she was right. So when she said that everything worked out, I...I just knew that it meant we would be together someday. I didn't actually buy you a wedding ring." She looked confused now. "I mean, I knew then that I loved you—at least when I wasn't listening to Sweets—and I didn't know if you would ever marry me, but I thought that maybe I could buy you something." He let the silence lengthen. "I was in Alexandria to drop Parker off with Rebecca's parents and instead of driving home, I stopped in town to get lunch, walked around, found myself in a jewelry store. Handmade, one of a kind, the kind of stuff you like, and I don't know…I just saw the ring and thought that it was pretty. Sparkly and colorful and a little bit too much for most women. But I thought you'd like it, and you have always been a little bit more than everyone else." Now, he smiled a little ruefully, a little shyly himself, surprised at himself for having this conversation now, at work, when usually he would put her off until later. But then again, she didn't usually ask. And he always answered her, always knew she deserved an answer. Even if it wasn't the strict truth.
Bones extracted her hand and held it out, the fluorescent lighting perfect for making it sparkle. "I do like it very much, Booth. I can't...can't believe that you bought it so long ago." When she looked up, he made sure she saw his change in expression. "Wait. What? Booth! Are you telling me the truth?"
Damn, he loved how she couldn't tell if he was lying. He stood and as always, she held her ground. Because of this, they were close, really close and he pulled her even closer. Her body went stiff and she leaned back to meet his eyes, demanding. "Booth. Tell me the truth. Was that a true story about how you bought this ring?"
"What do you think, Bones?"
"I don't know, Booth! How would I know? Why would you lie to me about this?"
"Aw, Bones. I'm not really lying. I'm just…" He leaned over and kissed along her cheek and jaw, nuzzled behind her ear. "...just telling you about one time that I definitely thought about buying you a ring. Maybe it was this time, maybe it was a different time, but…" She had stopped squirming and had tilted her head to the side, giving him better access, inviting him to continue kissing her. He paused and whispered into her ear, "I believed then that this would happen. Even if I doubted later, I believed then." And he pressed his lips to hers again.
A male throat-clearing sounded at the door. Booth pulled away reluctantly and looked up. "Sweets."
The man had the grace to look abashed. "We've...uh…" Sweets glanced at his watch meaningfully, "...got to get going if we are going to get across town." Booth didn't let this rush him and turned back to Bones, reached out to cup her cheek. He held her eyes but raised his voice so Sweets could hear him. "I'll meet you in the lobby, Sweets. Five minutes." He didn't look to see if the other man obeyed.
"Booth—" He stopped her with his mouth, just because he could, because suddenly he realized that he was kissing his wife in the middle of a day when he hadn't known he was going to see her and now he had to go and he was going to kiss her for at least a few more seconds. Her mouth was sweet and while it was far from an x-rated kiss, the softness of her lips, the way they molded to his, the way her curvy body leaned into him, melted against him until he was taking most of her weight...it was all so perfect for him. She was perfect for him.
The starch returned to her spine and she took a step back, pulled away. "Booth, was that story the truth?" She wasn't indignant anymore but she did look confused.
He answered honestly. "This is the truth, Bones: I thought about buying you a ring many times. Even after I had the ring, I thought about what it would have been like if I had bought a ring on those days. How about this? I'll tell you the stories, and then you can decide which one you think was the time I actually bought the ring. Deal?" Recovering from the events of last month, of the months of living under Pelant's malevolent presence, hadn't been easy. The stories had helped, helped lighten both of their loads.
She nodded, understanding, and even smiled a little, bragging. "I will guess the correct occasion, Booth." He smiled back but didn't say anything. "See you at home later?" She walked the rest of the way to the door as she said this and then paused, turning her head back to meet his eyes.
"Yeah. Yeah, Bones. See you at home. I should be home by six."
"Okay, Booth." She turned away but just as quickly turned back. "Avalon…"
He grabbed the three file folders he needed, a pad, a pen and slid them into his briefcase. When she didn't continue, he looked up, raising his eyebrows in question.
"Avalon said something to me too, something when we were alone, when she was looking at her cards. She said," Bones met his eyes boldly now, as always when she was telling the truth, even one with which she was uncomfortable. "She said 'The answer to the question that you're afraid to say out loud is: he knows the truth of you, yet he is dazzled by that truth.'"
And then she was gone, and he was the one left with his mouth hanging open.