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Arastoo is an hour later than he thought he’d be as he lets himself into his fiancée’s apartment. He finds her lounging uncharacteristically on the couch, half buried in the throw pillows, her left arm raised in the air. She’s admiring her ring, he realizes grinning widely.

“Hello love”, Arastoo greets as he leans over the back of the couch to peck her lips.

“Hey you”, Cam smiles. “The lecture ran long?”

He nods. “Sorry I couldn’t text you.”

“It’s okay”, she answers, sounding somewhat absentminded. Following her line of sight, he notices she’s back at twisting her engagement ring with her thumb, which is maybe a little unusual. After the initial giddiness, Cam grew accustomed to the particular piece of jewelry rather quickly and hasn’t generally paid it undue attention. Wondering what has spurred her fascination with the ring that night, Arastoo hides his smile into her hair, spotting traces of a familiar perfume and -

“Cam”, he says, fighting laughter, “Why do you have sawdust in your hair?”

He’s not sure what he expected her response to be but a long groan was not on top of his list.

“Hodgins”, she says by way of explanation while bringing a hand to rub the bridge of her nose. “And doctor Fuentes.”

Arastoo ahs. He should’ve figured. “Miss your favorite intern already?”

“A bold assumption.” 

He gives her a cheeky smile as she sits up fully to be able to properly turn to him. “But it depends”, she continues, “Do you like chainsaws?”

“Every guy likes chainsaws”, Arastoo deadpans, confident he’s gotten the gist of what kind of a day she has had at the lab from their text messages earlier and the conversation they’re just having. He’s not surprised she’s worn-out.

He doesn’t have time to duck when Cam whacks him with one of the throw pillows. “In that case, I think I’ll keep doctor Fuentes.”

“Really?” Arastoo rounds the couch and sits down, pulling her to his lap. “I have no redeeming qualities he doesn’t?”

Cam pretends to think. “None I can think of.”

Groaning, he kisses her then, the way her body instantly reacts to him stroking his ego even when he knows she’s only joking. Pushing her hair out of her face and gently pulling on the dark strands, he tugs her on her back to give himself more leverage. He’s rough, letting her feel his hunger for her while keeping his moves slow, teasing. He’s smirking internally as Cam is the one to break them apart, panting audibly.

She takes a minute to cool herself down, knowing she’s not going to win their mock argument if she lets him continue down that path. “He still flirts with me, you know.”

“But he’s seen your ring?” Arastoo asks, guessing a comment from the Cuban intern could’ve caused her sudden fixation on the diamond.

“Yes. And for what it’s worth, he said your taste in jewelry is as good as your taste in women.”

Arastoo chuckles. “Then feel free to indulge him as long as you feel comfortable.”

Cam finds his eyes, hint of disbelief glimmering in her own. “You’re okay with it?” 

Sensing he shouldn’t brush her question off with a simple ‘yes’, Arastoo shifts the woman in his arms so he can lie on top of her without squashing her. He rests his forehead against hers for a few seconds, gathering his thoughts. “Cam, I trust you. I didn’t give you a ring to ward off competition, I gave it because I love you and want to boast to the world that you chose me of all people.”

She gasps faintly, the softest of smiles spreading on her face, and he can’t imagine it’s even possible for anyone to look more beautiful as she does in that moment, her cheeks quickly turning the same shade of red as her lips. She gives him a peck before pushing him off of her and sitting up, smoothing invisible wrinkles on her shirt.

“Besides, I would’ve flirted with you on my first day had I thought it welcome”, Arastoo reveals with a wink. 

Cam arches an eyebrow, suppressing a grin. “Really?”

“Yes. But I thought I should give you some time to reciprocate my attraction before trying anything.”

She frowns, confused. “You’re saying…”

"I knew. Right from the beginning."

Cam lets out a laugh, shaking her head. "No, you couldn't possibly-" 

"But I did", Arastoo insists. He reaches to take her hands into his, and she swallows hard, realizing he’s serious. “Cam, the second I saw you, I knew you'd be different. I'd heard of you, of course, and I respected your reputation even before I met you in person but when I walked out of your office for the first time, I knew I'd met someone more. Someone who’d be more than just a prospective employer or a colleague. I still don't know how it was possible but at that moment I was positive that some day I would love you."

His gaze feels intolerably heavy on her face. She looks down on her lap, having to force air in and out of her lungs. “Fine, I believe you”, she murmurs.

Arastoo doesn’t press her even though the silence between them stretches. When she feels comfortable to meet his eyes again, Cam continues with more of a teasing tone. “When did you realize you’d been right?”

He doesn’t miss the tears in her eyes or the way the words get slightly stuck in her throat but he lets her try to make the conversation less serious and grins.

“Probably around the time I let my accent slip at the lab and instead of helping, you reveled in my agony.”

“I didn’t, and that was so not the moment!” Cam says in the midst of her laughter.

He considers her statement for a minute. He answered jokingly at first, complying with the lightened atmosphere she tried to establish but he wants to tell her even if she wishes not to hear. “No, it wasn’t.”

Giving her hand a squeeze, Arastoo thinks back to the first times they worked together, when he was bending over backwards to impress both his idol Dr. Brennan and the unfairly stunning head of the lab. Not that much has changed in that regard since then. 

“Remember the case we had when I was supposed to get my first article published?”

“But it got pushed back because of some celebrity gossip?” Cam asks. “I remember.”

He nods. “After we solved the case I was on the balcony with a notebook, hoping to come up with an idea for another paper. I was failing, by the way, and that’s when you walked up to me.”

Recalling their conversation makes him automatically smile. She told him to go home, to try again the next day. Arastoo was surprised by the genuine care his boss’s boss seemed to have for him when he was still basically no one. She insisted he’d been instrumental to the team, effectively lifting his spirits by sharing her personal insight on Brennan and assuring the woman trusted his competence. He felt even better when he managed to make Cam laugh shortly after.

“I had an idea but when I tried to write it down, all I could think about was the way you had smiled at me earlier and what your hand had felt like on my arm. The words that floated in my head had no business in any forensic journal”, he shakes his head with quiet laughter. “That’s when I wrote my first poem about you. And that’s when I admitted to myself I had fallen for you.”

His confession having rendered her speechless, Cam stares at him in disbelief. 

“I love you”, she whispers at last, cupping his cheek.

Arastoo beams. He knows she does, couldn’t ever doubt it, but it never fails to thrill him to hear her say those words. She prevents him from returning the sentiment by pressing her lips to his.

She kisses him tenderly, serenely, unhurriedly, melting against him; soon granting his tongue access and inviting him to deepen the kiss. He obeys readily, delighting in every small whimper he manages to draw from her.

He trails his fingers down her back, settling his hand on the curve of her hip and pulling her closer, the mere idea of letting go of her suddenly unbearable. In that moment, she’s the sun keeping him on his orbit. She’s stroking his cheek with her thumb, effectively holding him hostage under her touch.

Only when she’s no longer enough to quell the burn in his lungs does he retreat, resting his forehead against hers as he gasps for air. Arastoo brushes his lips against the tip of her nose before letting out a content sigh. He still doesn’t know what he’s done right to deserve her. Cam truly is everything he could’ve wanted. Keeping his hold of her hand, he traces mindless circles on the inside of her wrist.

“Don’t get me wrong”, he rasps, “I thoroughly enjoyed watching you in those tight dresses – I still do.” He smirks and has to restrain himself from kissing her again when she looks at him coyly under her lashes in response. “But only someone completely undeserving of you would view you merely as beautiful when there’s so much more to you.”

Deflecting the smooth-talking with humor like he’s come to expect her to, Cam tosses his smirk right back at him. “So you’re not worried I’m going to run off to Cuba?”

“Isn’t doctor Fuentes a defector? He can’t go back.”

Cam shoves him down, hovering mere inches above his face so that he can feel the puffs of air as she chuckles. “Right, mister I-technically-don’t-have-a-record-in-Iran”, she whispers, mischief gracing her features as she joins their lips once more.