A/N: If you've been reading nattylovesjordy's "Love and Twenty-Six Adjectives," you will know that her Chapter 20 was "Ticklish." In an exchange of emails, I suggested that Natty might be working for HH in the way she just leaves us hanging at the end of that chapter by getting Booth and Bones in a water fight with Parker (instead of the direction *I* thought they should be headed ;-). Natty challenged me to write an alternate ending and this is what I came up with. It was "a quickie," but I hope you enjoy it.

You don't have to read "Ticklish" first, but this story will probably make more sense if you do
(you can find it at: s / 7233820 / 20 / - remove spaces, of course)

Disclaimer: I do not own Bones. I do not own Booth. I have no control over how HH scripts the activities of his characters. Darn.

When the splashing and tickling had run its course, Brennan sought refuge in one of the pool floats Booth and Parker had brought with them, an inflatable recliner with a mesh seat. It's comfortable and allows her to sit upright and watch the interaction between the two Booth boys, and still be refreshed by the cool water.

As she watches Booth interact with his son she observes the different persona he takes on when he is around Parker – softer and gentler from the alpha-male special agent she is used to in their work environment. She understands why he has to be that way at work and as she watches his patience in helping Parker on the butterfly kick, she realizes that although this is a side of Booth that he rarely lets others see, it is not unfamiliar to her. This is the Booth that explains jokes and metaphors to her. That walks her through new situations, helps her understand social interactions without making her feel awkward or foolish or stupid.

She watches as he encourages and corrects Parker without losing patience or belittling him. But as much as her mind tries to concentrate on the interaction between father and son, she is very aware to her body's reaction to the nearly naked Booth in his swim trunks. The scar on his right shoulder has faded, but she knows it's there and can see it stand out from his tan. She glances around the pool and realizes that she's not the only woman who is noticing his well-developed chest and abs and how handsome he is with his finger combed wet hair. Although she isn't willing to admit it, this is the Booth that makes her feel like her breath has been taken away, like her heart has skipped a beat.

Booth glances up and catches her watching him. As he smiles he notices that she has a little pink on her nose and cheeks and he suddenly realizes just how long they've been in the pool. "Bones, maybe we should go in? Parker is looking a little pink on the shoulders, and you're looking like you've got a little more sun than you're used to."

Shaking herself out of her daydreaming, she glances over at her shoulders and replies, "I hadn't even noticed! Why don't we go upstairs and take showers, and maybe call for takeout – you two will stay for dinner, won't you?" She realizes that she is not ready for the afternoon to end.

As they climb out of the pool and gather their belongings, Booth says, "Let me make dinner for us, Bones. You let us use your pool all afternoon, let us do dinner. We brought some food with us, so why don't you grab a shower and I'll get some dinner started for us. Is it okay if Parker uses the shower in your guest room? I can take one later or grab a shower at home."

As the water rushes over her body, Bones reflects back over the afternoon. It's cool in her apartment with the air conditioning on, but she feels a warm flush remembering the intimacy of his legs on either side of her as his hands applied the sunscreen on her back. She knows that he heard her gasp when he found that spot on her neck. She feels warm all the way to her core when she wonders if he had been aware of the tension in her body, how she had just wanted to lean back into his chest, and how her body craved the feeling of his arms around her. Stepping out of the shower, she wraps a towel around her hair and dries herself. She applies moisturizer to her face then pads out to her bedroom and pulls a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt from her dresser.

Walking into the living room, she realizes that Booth has put on some music and she can hear him singing along as he putters in her kitchen. It feels so right and comfortable. She notices that the table in the dining room has been set for the three of them. Moving into the kitchen she smells dinner cooking.

Peeking over at the stove she arches a brow towards Booth as Parker rushes in from the other room, "Hey, Bones! Wait'll you see what we brought for dinner! Dad and I stopped at that fancy store on the way here to get something for you and we got pie for dessert - Dad said he thought that even you would like it!"

"Portobello mushrooms with roasted peppers for you, and pigs in a poncho for Parker and me!" Booth explains.

"Pigs in a poncho, Booth?"

"Wait'll you see 'em," Parker replies, "they're Dad's specialty! Hot dogs rolled up in a tortilla. They're so good! With potato salad and coconut cream pie for dessert! And we picked up a couple of movies from the Red Box. Will you watch them with us? We could stay here and watch with you, if you want!"

Brennan glances up at Booth to see if she can get a hint of how she should answer. She knows that she wants them to stay. The afternoon has gone so well with none of the tension they had been feeling earlier this year. Looking at her partner she thinks that she sees a slight nod. "That would be really fun, Parker. I'd really like it if you guys would stay after dinner and watch movies!"

After dinner Booth puts in the first of the DVDs. Parker is animated as he tells her about each of the characters in 'Justice League: The New Frontier.' The three of them claim their places on the couch with Booth in the middle. Parker is sprawled at one end with his head in Booth's lap.

As they settle in for the movie, Booth finds himself thinking back to the afternoon and evening with his son and Dr. Temperance Brennan. He loves how well she gets along with his son, and how comfortable Parker is with her. He marvels at how carefree she had been in the pool. He had heard her giggle and squeal today – both very un-Bones-like sounds! She had caught him off-guard when she pushed him into the pool, but he had to admit that he was grateful for the splashing that disrupted the clarity of the water. Looking at her in that little black bikini, there wasn't much left to his imagination. Thank goodness Parker was there to distract him and needed his input on his butterfly kick. It took his attention from what could have otherwise put him in an embarrassing situation. Although he had spotted some of the guys around the pool with towels over their laps as they checked her out when she was reclining on the pool float.

Sitting on the couch between the two of them, Booth reaches down to ruffle his son's hair and realizes that Parker is asleep. Looking over at Bones, he quietly asks, "Parker's asleep, Bones, do you want me to change the movie?"

She glances up at him with heavy eyelids and smiles a lazy, exhausted smile. "Hmmm? No. This is fine, Booth. I think I'll just close my eyes for a minute or two, if you don't mind." She has tucked her feet up into the corner of the couch and turns her body so that she is leaning against him with her head on his shoulder. Grabbing the throw from the back of the couch he lightly covers her and pulls her a little closer to him as she snuggles in.

Leaning back into the couch with Parker and Bones sleeping on either side of him, Booth clicks the remote to turn off the movie. Turning on the ESPN game of the week to watch his Phillies play the Cardinals, Booth gives a contented sigh. From earlier in the day when he thought this might be a ticklish situation to where he is right now, Booth knows there isn't anywhere else he would rather be.