A very Merry Christmas to my Secret Santa gift recipient (who got stuck with me for a SECOND holiday challenge this year - sorry!) - the inimitable Faith In Bones!

Her wishes:

Booth and Brennan. Any scenario any rating but no death or hate.

So basically a sand box for me to play in! This has been much easier to write and I've really enjoyed it. Got some more to do but the first chapter has been beta'd (thanks to my Jen) and the second one is nearly complete. I am planning 5 chapters in all - this prologue, then 3 chapters of BnB goodness and finally a final short(er) epilogue. It'll get published over the next couple of weeks, but my aim is to be done by Twelfth Night.

I did get into trouble with Jen that it's not M. I just felt that knowing this was a Christmas thing for someone else, and not everyone reads 'M's, it was fairer to make it a robust 'T'. It's pretty much canon, just with some sticking plasters on it, you'll see what I mean...

Prologue (set in... well, see if you can work it out ;))

Temperance Brennan awoke with a start at six am on a June Sunday morning to find a long muscular arm stretch over from behind her and make several attempts to quell the intrusive sound of the alarm now making itself very known to both her, and the owner of said arm. After flapping about for some moments in an action that was like watching someone play whack-a-mole, the arm was finally successful in its quest, and the alarm was silenced.

Having attained its goal, the arm wrapped itself snuggly around Brennan's waist in a very familiar way. The mostly naked body that was attached to the arm pressed up against her, chest to her back, and the mouth on the head attached to that body gently alternated at nibbling and kissing at her bare shoulder, leaving her little interpretation as to her not-so-sleeping companion's intentions. She couldn't help but grin broadly as she felt coarse stubble brush against her pleasingly, and she involuntarily let out something between a sigh and a giggle.

The owner of the arm, encouraged by her response, pressed his lips further upwards into the side of her neck and whispered in her ear seductively:


Brennan turned over until she was facing the source of her now very pleasant wake up call. Two broad smiles met each other - the owner of the one not belonging to her, one Special Agent Seeley Joseph Booth. He was propped up by his pillows, giving him a slightly higher vantage point over her.

"Good morning to you too." She reached her head up to peck him lightly on the lips and he re-tightened his grip around her, their arms and legs tangled together as they snuggled closely.

"Bones…" Booth murmured into Brennan's hair, the smell of her regular Argan oil and coconut shampoo comforting and familiar to his still-sleepy brain. "You need to do something 'bout that alarm on weekends. It's unnatural to be up at this early an hour on a Sunday", his voice gruff. "Sunday's are for BBQs, football, and...," he chuckled, pulling the sheet up for a moment so he could look under it to the contents beneath, "...long naked lie-ins with your partner."

"Partner? Doesn't the FBI have rules?" Brennan looked appalled. He looked down at her horrified, his face dropping, its lazy smile becoming replaced with genuine concern.

"Bones… We've been over this..." he began, then, seeing the cheeky grin she'd cracked, realised that she was actually teasing him. His smile returned. "OK, OK, only beautiful partners that I'm in love with."

"Oh yeah?" Her expression turned into something approaching cocky.

"Yeah. Let me enlighten you." He leant in to kiss her properly, as they began a very satisfactory period of said enlightenment.

They remained entwined together for some time after their exertions, Brennan's head laying on Booth's chest, listening intently to the comforting sounds of his heartbeat as he stroked her hair again gently.


"Uh-hmmmm?" They had been together for something close to seven weeks now, and whilst everything still felt fresh and new, and in some respects, had required some adjustments (although for the most part it had all been surprisingly straightforward) she had begun to get very used to waking up next to her very special agent in the mornings. In rare moments in these glorious recent weeks, Booth had even managed to get Brennan to finally switch off her brain for a short while and just feel, mainly whilst he'd been doing indescribably pleasurable things to her.

Uncharacteristically for her though, Brennan had found, particularly in the last week or so, that she'd been somewhat more tired than usual. Putting it down to their frequent nocturnal activities, but with a nagging feeling she couldn't quite put her finger on, she was more than happy to allow herself to be kept in bed for a few extra minutes in the morning by an eager partner, whether or not it was a work day.

"Sometimes," Booth spoke softly, "I lay next to you and wonder why we didn't do this sooner. All those times I should have kissed you, but I didn't."

"...And maybe all the times that I should have kissed you too," she considered, as she drew tiny patterns on his abdomen with her fingernail, enjoying the texture of the tight planes of his muscles as she touched him.

"It all seems so obvious now, so easy. Sometimes I want to rewrite our history, you know?"

"Well, anthropologically speaking," Brennan paused her finger for a moment in thought, "History is almost always written by the ultimate victors, not the vanquished." Booth chuckled:

"I think this is a win-win." Brennan rolled her eyes and continued to postulate.

"Using the concept of chaos theory, where mathematics is used to compute the effect of complex systems whose behaviour is highly sensitive to slight changes in conditions, so that small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences - whence had we kissed in one of those moments, we wouldn't be together right now."

"You mean the Butterfly Effect? Nah, I believe in fate. I believe that you and I would have happened eventually; in fact, I'm certain of it. Every single one of those kisses would have led to right now."

"You know I don't believe in fate, Booth..."

"...But don't you wonder sometimes?" There was a pause of a second or two as the cogs almost visibly turned in Brennan's head. He loved those moments, when she reached peak squintiness. She stopped her movements and pulled herself up to share her thoughts further in what appeared to be a revelatory fashion, even to herself.

"I did at the time, many times in fact."

"Really?" He pulled back slightly himself to look at her incredulously. He had not expected her to answer in that way.

"You know I've always found you very attractive since we first met, Booth. It was very difficult not to compartmentalise: our work was so important and at the time I was so used to being alone that it was hard to let anyone in. As I reflect now, there were many times, even early in our partnership, when I would have…" she paused for a moment, "sexual, and as I now understand them to be, romantic fantasies about you." She smiled at him with affection and almost a hint of sadness.

"Mmmm, Baby…" Booth pulled her back toward him and kissed her on the nose. Entwined again, they stayed for some time, choosing to slip into sleep again to let the morning ebb away.

As they lay quietly together, and allowed themselves to drift off, both Booth and Brennan had the same thought. What if we could turn back the clock and relive those moments? What might have changed?

Off we go, chapter 1 to follow!