Happy Holidays Boneheads!
So my Secret Santa was: Tess! (Hello Tess).
There were several wishes, this is the one I went with, I really hope it's OK, I tried to incorporate a little of another wish into as well.
Booth and Bones - yep
Goofy family holiday with Christine/children - could be AU: canon (what little mention there is of it) up to 10x07, Slightly AU beyond that. Set in the near future. I'm not sure if this makes the "goofy" quota, but I hope it's at least a little on the goofy spectrum.
Any rating - probably a medium T (I don't think I could write anything racier with Christine as a featuring character!)
Thanks to Jen for beta-ing, as always.
I look ridiculous.
Temperance Brennan adjusted her reindeer antler headband in the mirror and smoothed down the hideous Christmas sweater she was wearing, both chosen for her by her enthusiastic daughter, who had been very pleased with her choices at the mall earlier that week. She glanced at the small plain box with a simple ribbon, still sitting on the dressing table, that had yet to have a home with the rest of the presents this particular Christmas morning.
"Mommy, are you ready yet?" Christine Angela Booth was not in the mood for waiting.
They'd agreed as a family that everyone needed to be washed and dressed before presents were opened to ensure that minimal time would be lost for the subsequent Booth family snowball fight to follow before their traditional Christmas day lunch of turkey and nut roast. Then Booth suggested, well, perhaps more decided... unilaterally, as far as Brennan was concerned, that it be so much more fun if everyone wore Christmas sweaters, hats and decorative accessories this particular year. Christine agreed immediately, throwing her small arms around her father and squealing that this was the "Best idea ever", whilst Brennan was decidedly unimpressed with having had no input into this whatsoever. After large doe-eyes at both parents (Booth recognised that same look that his wife had discovered was hidden in her arsenal in recent years), there then followed a shopping trip of epic proportions, where Booth and Brennan were both dragged around a considerable number of stores by their rambunctious child, who was not satisfied until they had purchased three equally garish sweaters bearing various traditional indicators of Officially Endorsed by Santa Christmas Cheer(TM), with no sense of irony whatsoever. The appropriate decorative accessories to these were also chosen and Mr. and (the sometimes) Mrs. Booth watched resignedly as their offspring skipped merrily in front of them with the joy of someone who had left mommy and daddy wilting behind them after three hours of back to back Christmas tunes and over-cheery shop assistants dressed in elf costumes. One more jolly rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Booth might be forced to shoot the nearest loud-speaker again. He was suddenly thinking this had been less of a good idea now he had been roped into the actual preparation.
It wasn't that Brennan was averse to having fun, of course. She loved to dance, especially with Booth, although at home alone with him, usually the dancing led to other, more adult activities, (not that she was complaining, after the seven years it took them to finally act on their intense but barely sublimated feelings for one another, Brennan knew that it would take an entire lifetime of love-making before they even made a notable dent in their unresolved sexual tension).
She loved board games too, to her they were a terribly civilised form of entertainment. It didn't hurt that Brennan was house champion of "Happy Hideaway" (much to Christine's disgust); house champion at Checkers... Connect Four... Monopoly... and the list went on. Although, maybe unsurprisingly, it turned out that her husband was rather good at Clue. She pondered on this for a moment and wondered whether it was his gut instinct, or ability to read body language of the other players that mostly ended with him winning. Booth could definitely read hers, that was for sure. The couple had had a lot of fun under the mistletoe the previous night after Christine's bed time, not least of which because the slow dance to the Johnny Mathis Christmas album that he'd pulled her out of her seat for had somehow led them right under the sprig in the kitchen-diner.
"How did that happen?" he grinned at her as they both glanced up at the same time. Brennan rolled her eyes at his brazen action and laughed... and after they'd kissed each other senseless - Brennan estimated something along the lines of the entire Pacific fleet had passed them by the time they were done; he'd insisted that they take the mistletoe with them to bed so he could, in his words, "get his money's worth out of it". From the passionate and quite creative lovemaking that ensued, Brennan was certain he'd succeeded for both of them. The memory made her chuckle out loud.
Subsequently distracted by other thoughts, most of which were related to that small box still on her dressing table, she continued to stare at her reflection for several moments before a squeaky voice from just outside yelled surprisingly loudly in her general direction:
"Mommy! Hurry up!"
"Coming, Sweetheart." She took one last look in the mirror, thoughtfully fingered the small box that was yet to be presented to its recipient, and adjusted her antlers one last time before she took a deep breath and remembered that this Christmas sweater experience was supposed to be fun...
Booth was sitting in the living room in his equally hideous Christmas sweater, only in his case, as the originator and co-conspirator in the Great Christmas Sweater Caper, he embraced the opportunity to look as ridiculous as possible. Now recovered from the hellish shopping experience of some days before, not only was he also wearing his beer hat, but it was covered in little coloured lights and its own cardboard antlers, fashioned by Christine and stuck on with a ton of sticky tape. This time, however, it wasn't beer in the hat, but eggnog, even this early in the day because, well it was Christmas and, hell, he did not have to drive anywhere. Besides, he was sure that it wouldn't take Bones much persuading to try the eggnog in the beer hat herself, having convinced her in the not too distant past that drinking beer from the beer hat was not such a bad idea after all her years complaining about it, including once when they were even undercover (he could never quite believe that Roxie - open-minded, voluptuous, cash-in-her-bra Roxie - would even consider that an issue). The only problem was that now she kept stealing his hat in their regular evening sessions in the tub and that had taken some of his fun away. However, he now had a more than adequate resolution sitting amongst the large pile of presents gathered under the tree. The new equation, which solved itself perfectly, was now two Booths plus two beer hats equalled more beer, and therefore more fun in the tub. Algebra had never been Booth's favourite subject at school but for this he was sure he would score high marks. He sat distracted as he pondered on this thought and how he could write it down.
Undetected by Booth, Brennan placed the simple box on the side table away from the other gifts, and settled down, nudging her husband to bring him back to reality to watch Christine demolish her pile of presents. One by one the pile of unopened gifts diminished as boxes were shaken, paper was torn and the sounds of a delighted child filled the new house with long-needed happiness. The adults too had their fun, Booth tearing open the paper on his presents like a child himself, whilst willing Brennan on to do the same and not over-carefully pull the sellotape and then fold up the wrapping in an almost reverential fashion.
Still the small box sat waiting quietly out of the way. For now, this was the way Brennan wanted it. There was plenty of time and for this gift to Booth, she needed a little privacy. For now, it could wait.
As planned, lunch was set in the oven and the family put on their overcoats, spending the next hour in their yard, building a very respectable snowman; lying on the ground making snow angels; and culminating in a lively snowball fight where mother and daughter ganged up on the token male of the house, with Parker at his mother's for Christmas Day, under Brennan's reckoning that as a trained sniper he had unfair advantage and didn't need any more help. Promptly bombarding him with some well-prepared ammunition, Booth was left a sulking mass of shivering cold, and not a little damp.
They went back into the house, and dried out, Brennan chucking a towel playfully at her wet husband's head in the laundry room as he changed his clothes. Christmas lunch was dished up and they tucked in to their roast lunch.
Hours later, the family returned to their original spot on the living room floor.
"So is that all the presents?" Christine looked forlornly at the empty space under the tree where presents had turned into empty boxes, the contents of which were now sprawled out across the floor.
"Yes Honey, that's it for now, until tomorrow when we see everyone else. I know Grandpa Max has something for you, and I'm sure we'll be swapping some gifts with the Hodginses, and Daisy and the baby too."
At the mention of Daisy, Booth's mind wandered to a short conversation he'd had with Sweets soon after he had been released from prison and Daisy's bump had surprised him at Sweets' apartment:
"So, you're gonna be a dad, huh, Sweets?"
"Yep." He nodded with a smile.
"You OK with that?"
"Yeah, Actually I'm pretty excited. I mean, Daisy and I...we never meant to... know you, but when it happened, actually, it's a wonderful thing."
"You know Sweets, it really is a wonderful thing. And you're gonna be great at it."
"It's the one regret I never had, you know? Even when things with Rebecca went horribly, horribly wrong, Parker was the single thing that kept me going off the rails. He was so perfect. And every day, you learn something new about them, and about yourself."
Booth felt sad for just a moment as he realised that Sweets was never going to experience this joy, before his daughter cheered and bought him back to reality.
"Yay! Michael's coming." Distraction came easily when there were new toys readily available. "Can I go play?" Booth ruffled her hair.
"Sure you can, Pumpkin."
Grabbing up handfuls of open presents as best as her small hands could grasp, Christine disappeared off to her bedroom to play with as many of them in one go as was feasibly possible.
With Christine far too busy to take any further interest in her parents for the time being, Brennan and Booth found themselves alone. Booth once again navigated them both back under the mistletoe. He went to kiss her, but she placed her hand firmly on his chest before his lips could close the final few inches to hers. She gave him the small rectangular box that had been left discretely on the coffee table.
"What's this, Bones?" He smiled, a little taken aback. "I thought we were done." Surprisingly, Brennan looked a little nervous.
"Just a thing, Booth."
"A thing? You OK, Bones?" She was being a touch evasive and he would have been lying if he hadn't felt a little concerned. She had the same look on her face that she'd had in those last moments before their friend and celebrant Aldo had confirmed their marriage was official.
"Why don't you just open it?" He cocked his head at her inquisitively and with some consideration, undid the bow, unwrapped it quite slowly and slid the top off.
She glanced at his face anxiously as he took a moment to process what he was looking at, and she was relieved to see a huge smile appear, right before she was knocked off her feet as he picked her up, kissed her passionately and twirled her around the room in his arms.
Left on the floor, the box now discarded next to it, was a small white stick with two small but significant blue lines at one end...
I hope that was OK... This is my first SS fic! Ended up being a little more topical than I thought based on a certain announcement on Dec 6th...LOL, hadn't planned on that!
Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah! Please let me know what you thought!