Disclaimer: I own nothing…
Summary: Brennan initiates a discussion on children and Booth tries to comprehend her reasons for not wanting kids. Written for the Cullen's Bullpen Challenge.
Author's Notes: Hope this turned out okay. It was originally supposed to be a bit longer, and honestly I haven't had time to revise it. I wrote it over a week ago, but classes are keeping me pretty busy and I haven't had time to even think about doing anything more with it… Figured I'd post it anyway, though, because I doubt I'll have a chance to go back to it anytime soon, so here it is… Hope you like it.
"Do you want more kids?"
The question shocked him, and he could do no more than stare at her for a moment, until he finally found his voice and managed to speak. "Where'd that come from?"
His confusion was evident, and she could do no more than shrug her shoulders in reply and let her eyes wander to the table in front of her as she pretended to pick at her food. "Just curious…"
She was so quiet he could barely hear her, and he immediately regretted his reaction. It certainly wasn't a negative thing that Temperance Brennan was taking such an interest in his personal life. As he had told her once before, partners shared things. To build trust.
"I don't know." He finally told her, after considering her question for a few moments.
Her eyes rose to his, her shock obvious. She had always just assumed that he would want more children. He was a good father. He loved his son more than anything. He was constantly questioning her decision to remain childless, and yet here he was, telling her that he wasn't even sure he wanted more children himself.
"Yeah." He shrugged a bit, his eyes meeting hers. "I don't know. I've never really thought about it before."
"How is it possible that you haven't thought about it? You have Parker, and—"
"And that's exactly it, Bones." He told her evenly, his eyes never leaving her. "I have Parker. I love my son, and I would do it all over again because Parker is the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I can't say with absolute certainty that I would want to bring another child into this world. Especially having had to deal with the whole situation with Rebecca… Maybe, someday, if I managed to find the right woman and we were in a serious, committed relationship, we might make the decision, together, that we want more children. I can't say right now that I do. And I would certainly never want to push something like that on the woman I love."
"So, if that's the case, then why are you trying to push it on me?"
He could hear the touch of anger behind her words and he let out a deep sigh. "I'm not trying to force anything on you, Temperance. I'm just asking you to think about your decision."
She gave him another look, crossing her arms over her chest defensively and sitting back in her chair. "You don't think I've thought this through, Booth? You don't think that, with everything I have to take in our society, I've considered every possible aspect of the subject? I don't want kids."
"But why?" His question caught her off guard and she simply stared at him for a moment, much like he had done in reaction to her own query, as she considered his question. When she offered no answer in return, he continued, "Look, Temperance, I know you've considered everything about your decision. It's what you do. I know that… I just think that, maybe, you've thought about it too much. You're so logical and rational all the time, Temperance… You never consider what's in your heart and I see you, and I watch you with Parker and I know you'd make a good mom. I see how much you care about my son. You barely know him, but I know you'd do anything to protect him, just like I would… And he adores you. Sometimes I just wonder why you won't even consider being a mom… Because I think you'd love it."
"It's not about being a mom, Booth, though I can't say I'm nearly as confident in my maternal instincts as you seem to be… It's the thought of bringing a child into this world that terrifies me. You can't actually sit here and tell me that you think, with everything that we see, that it could be a good thing to raise a child in this world. I see you when our cases deal with children, Booth, and I know how upset you get because it terrifies you knowing that there are monsters out there who can do these horrible things to children… I feel the same way. You may not see it, but I do, and I can't bring an innocent child into a world like the one we live in."
"But you don't have an issue with being a mom?" He paused for a moment, his eyes revealing his confusion. "How exactly does that work?"
When she offered him a little smile, he returned the gesture and she watched him for a moment, unsure if she was ready to let him in… But it only took a moment before she continued with a sigh, "I think about it sometimes, you know. I really do…" She confessed quietly, her eyes dropping away from his as she spoke. "And every time, the cons outweigh the pros. I can't change my mind on this because of what I've seen… what I've been through. Parts of me are broken, Booth, and there's nothing that can ever change that… There's too much that we don't know. Too much that could happen… I can't risk putting a child through that… Not with everything I've seen."
He nodded slowly, trying his best to wrap his mind around her words. "So—Hypothetical question, then—If you and I were ever to… end up in a serious relationship? You wouldn't consider Parker an obstacle?"
"Never." She paused for a moment, a bit perplexed at her own lack of shock at the question. It was funny how something that had once seemed such an impossibility was suddenly beginning to seem the next most logical step in their relationship. Her eyes locked with his before she reached across the table to rest a hand over his, offering him a little smile. "Booth, the world is a better place for having Parker in it… But Parker is not better for being in this world."
She stood then, her hand brushing over his shoulder as she moved to leave. And in that moment, he understood. Completely.
"Temperance?" She turned back to him, her eyes soft and questioning as she waited for him to continue. "I think I get it now."
She offered him one last soft, thankful smile, before disappearing through the door as Booth turned back to his coffee, a smile of his own playing on his lips.