Max stood just inside the doorway to Booth's hospital room as he watched his daughter and her husband embrace. Though he'd stayed away for a few months at Temperance's request, there was nothing that would pull him from her side now. Booth pulled away from Temperance with a grimace and took in her appearance, frowning as he did so.
"Bones, what's going on, what happened?"
"When I heard what happened to you I fainted. There was a problem though and they had to perform an emergency cesarean section. Abigail and Xavier are in NICU right now." Booth closed his eyes and took in a breath. Temperance ran a hand through his hair and kissed his forehead. "We'll all be fine Seeley, all four of us."
"Honey, we need to get back to your room. The doctor is probably wondering where you are." Max stepped up next to the pair and helped his daughter to her feet. Booth looked up at his father in law before closing his eyes as the medication relaxed him even more. He could feel himself slipping into sleep.
"Take care of her Max."
"Of course I will Booth." Max helped Brennan stand, noticing her grimace as she placed a hand over her incision. "Come on honey, you need your rest so you can see your little ones." Without saying a word, Brennan allowed Max to guide her out of the room, clutching tightly to his arm as she fought off the wave of dull heat emanating from her abdomen. She paused in the doorway and turned back to Booth.
"I love you Seeley." She saw a smile spread across his lips as he slipped into sleep once more. Max held onto his daughter tightly as they reached the hallway and Sully. The FBI agent had a wheelchair waiting for Temperance which he maneuvered to her side with a flourish.
"Your chariot awaits, Tempe."
"Thank you Sully. I know you didn't have to do this, and I just want you to know that I appreciate the help."
"I hope that means I'm forgiven for my earlier behavior. I admit to being a bit jealous of your husband." Max looked back and forth at the pair wondering what happened between them. He had kept an eye on his daughter, but generally stayed out of her business.
"I think it was inevitable that Booth and I would end up together. He managed to force his way into my life more than anyone ever has."
"You're good together, and I know that it's my own fault that I'm not the one in your life."
"Yes, it is, and since you've apologized for what you did to Booth and I, then I suggest you drop the subject. It's in the past, and I don't want to discuss it anymore. What's done is done." Sully pushed the wheelchair into an elevator and punched in the number for her floor. The three of them were silent on the journey down, each occupied in their own thoughts. When the doors opened, Sully wheeled Brennan back to her room and nodded to her as Max and Angela helped her stand up.
"Well, I've got to get going. Take care Tempe, okay?"
"You too Sully." Brennan smiled at him and gave him a quick hug. "Thank you for taking me to Booth."
"Anytime. I'll see you around, okay?" The agent pulled away from her and left the room as Angela and Max helped her back to her bed. She laid down and closed her eyes as a wave of pain washed over her.
"Sweetie, maybe you should have the doctor look you over. You don't look so good right now."
"I'm fine, just a little sore." Max swept the hair off of Temperance's forehead and looked over at Angela.
"Why don't you go home and get some rest. I'm sure you need it as much as my baby here." Angela grabbed a pad of paper from Brennan's bedside and jotted down a phone number.
"You call me if anything happens. I'll be back in a few hours so you can get some sleep too. Is Russ on his way?"
"He'll be here in the morning. He had to make arrangements for work and get clearance from his parole officer first."
"All right. I'll see you in a little bit, okay?"
"See you then Miss Montenegro." Angela left the room with one quick glance back. She'd never been more worried for her friend, even when she'd been held by the rogue FBI agent, Jamie Kenton. Brennan's whole world seemed to be coming apart at the seams with nothing in place to stop it.
"Well Temperance, are you feeling well enough to go see your little ones?" A nurse stood by Brennan's bedside as she took her blood pressure. While the anthropologist was still sore, she felt much better after getting some sleep. She glanced over at her father, who was asleep in a chair at the foot of the bed. Though only sixty, Max seemed to have aged quite a bit in the last year. He looked worn out even as he slept. Temperance looked back up at the nurse and nodded.
"Yes, just let me tell my father where I'm going."
"Of course. I'll just go get you a wheelchair and we'll head over to see your little ones." The doctor left the room as Temperance swung her legs over the edge of the bed. She shook her father's arm until he opened his eyes to look at her.
"What is it honey," he asked as he yawned and rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
"I'm going to see Abigail and Xavier. I'll be back in a little while. Can you go look in on Seeley and his parents?"
"Of course I can. I'll see you later, huh?" He kissed his daughter's forehead and stood up while she was wheeled from the room. Come hell or high water, he was going to be around from now on to help her out.
Brennan clutched at the locket around her neck as she and the nurse wheeled her into the NICU and up to an incubator. Inside was possibly the smallest baby she'd ever seen alive. There had been times during her travels and even her work with the FBI that she'd seen the skeletons of fetuses, but never had she been so close to such a tiny baby.
"Meet Abigail," the nurse said with a smile. Brennan leaned in closer to take a look at the little girl. Tubes and monitors were attached all over the tiny baby as a heart monitor beeped the steady progress of the fast heartbeat. "She's just a little over two pounds, big for her age." Brennan touched the outside of the incubator, running her finger down the glass.
"She's beautiful." Temperance ached to touch the little girl, to hold her. She looked up at the nurse, her eyes asking the question that she couldn't ask herself. The nurse smiled and indicated two holes in the side of the incubator.
"We just need to get some gloves on you, but if you put your hands through there, you can touch her." Brennan smiled and snapped on the latex gloves handed to her. She reached carefully through the holes and stroked her little girl's arm.
"Hello Abigail, I'm your mother." She gently glided her fingers over Abigail, learning her size and sensitive spots.
"When you're done here, you can see Xavier as well. He's just over here," the nurse said as she pointed to another incubator. "Once both of them are able to maintain their vitals on their own, you'll be able to hold them. Recent studies have shown that skin to skin contact is vital to their development, and they can end up leaving the hospital earlier than babies not offered touch."
"Of course it would be important. They learn through touch, whether from exploring their environment or from interaction with others." Temperance stroked her hand across her daughter's miniature one, marveling at the tiny fingers and fingernails there."
"Obviously they still have some developing to do, but they're both strong little fighters so we're optimistic that they'll be here on the shorter end of the scale." Brennan looked up at the nurse for a moment as the tiny fingers clutched around her own much larger one.
"What kind of a timeline should we expect before they're out of the hospital?"
"Well, assuming that they gain weight at a normal rate, they should be here for at least ten more weeks. You would expect them to reach what would be full term before they're ready to be released from the hospital. I know the doctor spoke to you about pumping, so if that's something you're interested in doing for them, then I can have the lactation consultant see you in your room later."
"If that's what's best for them, then absolutely." Temperance pulled her hands out of the incubator and made her way over to Xavier's. She looked down at him, and though he'd yet to gain the fat that would fill out his little form, she could already see the makings of another Booth male. Seeley would be thrilled to hear the news about his son and daughter, and so would Max, Stella and Joe.
After switching gloves, she slipped her hands in to greet her son, his tiny form overwhelmed with wires just like his sister. Brennan's eyes welled up and before she could stop, she started to cry.
"Are you okay," the nurse asked, not at all distressed at the sudden swing in mood from the anthropologist.
"I just feel like I'm being punished somehow. I didn't want children, and was so upset when I found out I was pregnant. I couldn't even carry them to term. How is that going to make me a good mother?"
"My own son was premature, so I totally understand how you feel. These things happen, and there's no rhyme or reason behind it. Having them early will not make you a bad mother. If anything it will make you stronger. You have to be strong for them, help them fight to live." Temperance nodded as she sniffled, trying to stem the flow of the tears. The nurse was right of course. She needed to be there for her children, but more than that, she also had to be there for Seeley. It was the thought that she was in this alone that worried her more than anything. She had three people counting on her to be the strong one, but she didn't know if she could do it without putting her heart back in the box.
"I just think that it's not right that we haven't heard from Temperance, that's all," Stella said as she, Joe, Rebecca and Parker sat in the cafeteria. They'd left Booth alone to sleep after his earlier panic attack, deciding that some recovery time was in order for him. Rebecca frowned at Stella's comment and picked at the sandwich on her plate.
"There must be something going on because there's no way that Temperance would just ignore your calls. Have you tried contacting the Jeffersonian to see what's going on with her? If anyone would know, it would be Angela."
"We've been so worried about Seeley, it just slipped my mind. I guess I just expected her to be here when we arrived." Rebecca looked up from the table and saw Max Keenan come into the cafeteria. She'd met him only once, at Temperance and Seeley's wedding in Las Vegas where he'd been the accidental minister for the ceremony. Once Parker spotted the older man, his face split into a grin. Over the past eight weeks he'd had the chance to spend time with Max and the two bonded almost immediately.
"Grandpa Max!" The little boy jumped up from the table and threw himself into Max's open embrace. Everyone at the table turned to look at him when he walked over with Parker.
"Mr. and Mrs. Booth it's nice to see you again," he said as he held out his hand. Joe shook it as Max sat down with the enthusiastic child. He then turned to Rebecca and nodded his greeting. "Rebecca, how are you doing?"
"I'm well thanks. What are you doing here by yourself? Is Temperance up with Seeley?"
"She's here at the hospital, but not with him. No, she's in the NICU visiting the twins."
"What twins? Is there someone else she knows that was expecting?" Stella looked confused as Max shook his head.
"There were some complications, and she had to have an emergency surgery."
"Why weren't we told?"
"Everything occurred so quickly, and I don't have her address book. I'm sorry but I've been just a little concerned about my daughter's welfare to think about calling anyone else. She's already been up to see Booth, and asked me to come find you now that the situation's under control."
"Bones had the babies," Parker asked as he sat comfortably next to Max. The ex-con ruffled the little boy's hair and smiled.
"She did, so that makes you a big brother."
"When can I see them?" Parker practically bounced with excitement.
"Once they come out of the NICU then you can see them. I'm sure once Temperance is feeling better then she'll tell you all about them," Rebecca said to her son. "For now we need to let her rest, just like your father, okay?"
"I guess so."
"Good, then why don't we go to the gift shop and you can pick out a card for them." Rebecca stood and took her son by the hand. As she left the table, she looked at Max. "You give Temperance our best and let her know that when she's up to it, we'll come visit."
"Absolutely, and thank you Rebecca. I know she'll need the support."