AN: Here we go everyone, the second installment of the Butterfly Effect Series. Though not entirely crucial, you might want to go back and read 'Girl in the Ocean' if you haven't already. This story takes place six months after the above mentioned story with Booth and Brennan now in an established relationship. I know this chapter is a bit long, but I promise, it reads fast. I'll try to post at least once a week because I still have my scripts to work on, but I had some inspiration for this story and had to start on it. I hope you enjoy it, and as always, please let me know what you think.
Russell Cave National Monument, Alabama
Don Preston walked through Russel Cave, his flashlight shining a small circle of light off of the floor and walls. Twisting tunnels wound off the main trail, and Don's dog sniffed at the ground just ahead of the park ranger. The blue tick coon hound lifted its head and began to bay just before taking off down a side tunnel.
"Nutsy, you get back here you damn fool dog." Don ran after the dog, the light from his torch bouncing from one surface to the next creating grotesque shadows on the walls. When he got caught up with his dog, Nutsy howled and dug at the soft earth of the cave floor. The park ranger pulled the dog back and shone his flashlight onto the spot that had the dog so worked up. He gasped and stumbled back when he saw a partially decomposed arm in the circle of light on the floor. Shaking, he grabbed his radio and called headquarters.
"Ranger 4328 to base. We've got a problem here."
"Well Temperance, everything appears to be healing normally. There is some scar tissue developing, but that's to be expected given the degree of damage done to your uterus." Dr. Tarlow finished her examination and looked at her patient, Dr. Temperance Brennan. "Do you have any questions before I go?"
"The doctor who examined me in California said it might not be possible for me to bear children."
"At the moment, I'd agree with that. You've had a lot of damage done, and it's going to take time to heal completely. There isn't really a safe place for an embryo to attach, and even if you did manage to conceive I don't see you carrying to term, the muscle is just too weak for that. Given time the prognosis could change though."
"It could change how?" Brennan sat up and rearranged her hospital gown. Dr. Tarlow leaned back against a countertop and crossed her arms.
"Well, we might be able to go in and remove some of the developing scar tissue, and you always have the option to adopt or use a surrogate should you decide to have children."
"I don't know that I would consider those options. It's strange though. I've never planned on having children, but now I feel like the option of choice has been removed from the equation."
"Like I said, there are options, and the way I see it, if it's meant to happen it will. Should you become pregnant, we'd need to monitor you closely just to make sure that the baby would be okay."
"Well, thank you for your candor on the subject. My partner is such a family oriented man that I wanted to know what the chances were."
"Anytime Temperance. I expect to see you in here in six months for a follow up." Dr. Tarlow smiled and left the examination room so Brennan could dress. Temperance sat for a moment before pulling on her clothes. Her mind had not changed about having children. She still didn't want them, but to be told she couldn't have them if she wanted to… no, that wasn't entirely accurate. She could adopt or use a surrogate. Brennan shook her head to get the thoughts out. It wouldn't do to think about it. For now, she just needed to get back to work, finish up some paperwork and head out for a vacation with Russ, his family and her father.
As she left the sterile environment of the doctor's office and stepped out into the warm sunshine of DC, her cell phone rang. She answered it while pulling her car keys out from her purse.
"Hey gorgeous, I need you to get back to the Jeffersonian. We have a case."
"Booth, you're going to have to work on it with Zack. I'm leaving for vacation this afternoon."
"Oh that's right, you're going somewhere with Russ."
"He, Amy and dad are going on a trip with the girls and invited me along. He said something about a surprise being involved."
"Are you sure you can't join them midway? You know I don't work well with the kid."
"I'm sure. Besides, you're a big boy. I'm sure you can handle Zack for a couple of days. Once I get back, I'll assist, but I'm not taking time away from my family to work."
"Fine. I'll see you when you get back then." Brennan frowned as she got into the car.
"Aren't the remains at the Jeffersonian?"
"No, they're out of state. I have to leave for the airport in a few hours. Zack's not going to hold me up is he?"
"He shouldn't. I was hoping to see you before I leave."
"Aww, you'll miss me that much?" Brennan laughed at the playful tone in his voice.
"Don't flatter yourself, and yes I'll miss you."
"Okay, you know, just so long as you'll miss me."
"I'll see you when I get back Booth."
"You too gorgeous." Brennan shook her head as she shut off her phone. The man was incorrigible but she couldn't help how she felt about him. She didn't know if she'd classify it as love, but in the six months since their relationship began in California they'd grown closer than she thought possible. Only Angela was aware of their relationship because Deputy Director Cullen's ultimatum remained hanging over their heads. His insistence on their remaining professional was based purely on conflict caused by Noor Haddad, a Lebanese Ambassador that Booth had been assigned to protect. The woman made a play for the FBI agent, and when he rebuffed her, she took a confidential file in an attempt to win his affections.
Brennan started her car and drove off for the Jeffersonian to finish up a few reports before leaving. There weren't many constants in her life anymore, but her brother and his family was now firmly entrenched in her life. They'd grown closer since his reappearance after fifteen years, and now she was vacationing with him in an attempt to bond with his girlfriend and her daughters. As Russ had said before, those two little girls were going to be her nieces one day. They were such wonderful little girls too. Seeing them so happy at Christmas was a joy, and Brennan could only think that Amy was truly a great mother. She didn't have much in the way of resources, but she and Russ did the best they could by those little girls.
Booth was a good parent too. He was caring and protective of his son Parker, worrying when he didn't hear from him, and joyful during the time they spent together. He was a man that deserved to have a large family. Brennan's throat constricted a little bit at the thought. He deserved a large family to share in the love he had to offer, and she couldn't provide that for him. Not that she wanted to, she reminded herself. Now it was just an impossibility.
And her own father… what to think about him. Max Keenan was acquitted for a murder he'd committed to save the lives of his two children. He was a free man and a mystery to her at the same time. Max lived near Russ, his influence creating a settling effect on the younger man, and she hadn't seen him since the acquittal. This was offering her the opportunity to see him again and to get reacquainted with a man she thought she knew.
She blinked in surprise finding that she was in her parking space at the Jeffersonian. Her thoughts carried her through the entire drive from the doctor's office. Brennan got out of the car and hurried to her office, passing by the platform on her way. Not noticing that her blinds were drawn, she stepped inside and immediately found herself in Booth's arms with his lips on hers.
"I decided I had to see you before I left," Booth said when he pulled away from her. Brennan settled into his arms and smiled up at him.
"I'm glad you decided to wait."
"Well, it was that and the kid insisting that he absolutely had to finish examining a leg bone or something. I wasn't exactly paying attention."
"Of course not. You don't think bones are good for anything."
"That's not true. There are plenty of things I can think of that my Bones is good for."
"You have a one track mind, don't you?"
"Only when it comes to you gorgeous." He kissed her again, this time sweeping his tongue along hers and eliciting a moan. Brennan wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, not wanting to break the contact. When he pulled away this time, he looked down at her, deep in thought. "I was thinking maybe when this case is over you and I could go away for a weekend, get in a little one on one time."
"I think we could do that. Do you have anywhere in mind?"
"We'll figure that out later. For now, I've got to go. Tell Russ hello for me."
"Okay, see you when I get back." Brennan leaned up and kissed him before letting him go. Their secret relationship was beginning to take its toll, and it was getting harder to hide. She personally didn't care who knew about it. Her team wouldn't make a big deal out of it, but the FBI would. Booth was still on a probationary period from the incident in San Diego, and until that was over, it just was not smart to reveal their relationship.
"Sweetie?" Angela stuck her head into the office, waving slightly at Booth as he walked past her and from the building.
"I finished the facial reconstruction on those remains from Indonesia."
"Great, thanks. Just send me the report and I'll look at it when I get back." The artist nodded and shut the door behind her.
"How'd your appointment go today?"
"Oh, it was fine. I'm fine."
"Uh huh. Like I'm going to believe that. Did the doctor say whether or not you can have kids?"
"Yes, Dr. Tarlow gave me an answer, but that doesn't matter, because I don't want children of my own, you know that."
"Bren, I just don't think you're giving the whole family thing a chance."
"I have my father, my brother and his girls, Booth and Parker in my life. I think I have the family thing covered."
"If you say so sweetie."
"I do. Now, if you'll excuse me Ange, I really need to get to work. I have to finish my reports before I go."
"Okay fine. I'll see you when you get back, and have fun with those little girls, alright?"
"Alright." Angela left the office and Brennan breathed a sigh of relief. Ever since she was shot, her best friend became a sort of mother hen trying to take care of her little chick. Angela was worried she knew, but sometimes the artist took it to the extreme end of caring. Taking in a breath to focus, Brennan moved to her desk and sat down to start on her paperwork.
Seeley Booth was miserable. He stood outside Russell Cave waiting for a guide to show him to the body while Zack Addy stood next to him looking like a lost puppy. Rain poured down around them, soaking them to their skin.
"Are you sure this is where the park ranger is supposed to meet us," Zack asked for the third time since they arrived. Booth looked heavenward for a moment and got a face full of rain for his trouble.
"Just like I told you the last two times, yes. This is where we're supposed to meet him."
"And you're sure we aren't lost?"
"Yes Zack. I don't get lost, okay?" Booth wrapped his arms tighter around his body trying in vain to warm up.
"Maybe we should just come back in the morning."
"No. We're here to look at the remains and we aren't leaving until we get to do so. I want to get back home as soon as possible." Booth and Zack turned when they heard barking in the distance. The FBI agent squinted, trying in vain to see through the heavy rainfall.
"That sounded like a dog." Zack looked at Booth for confirmation of the statement.
"Great, I'm here with Captain Obvious." The barking got closer and in the next moment, Booth found himself on the ground being licked to death by a hound dog.
"Nutsy, get off of him." Don Preston pulled the coon hound off of Booth and offered a hand to the FBI agent. Grumbling, Booth looked down at his clothes. It was official; his night couldn't get any worse as he found his favorite jeans and jacket covered in mud. "Sorry 'bout that. Some of the roads down below are flooding out or I woulda got here sooner."
"No, it's fine, really," Booth said, attempting to brush the mud off of his clothes.
"We'll have to wait 'til morning to get to the body what with the rain and all. Some of the tunnels can flood and it's a right big mess when they do."
"What do you mean we can't get to the remains tonight?"
"The local sheriffs can't get up here with their crime scene people until the roads clear up. You can get to Bridgeport okay, but I wouldn't venture much farther than that."
"Damn it. Okay, thanks."
"Right then, I'll meet you here in the morning, say nine o'clock?"
"Yeah, fine." Booth ran a muddy hand through his wet hair making it stick up in every direction. "Come on Zack, let's go." Booth motioned for the young anthropologist to follow him as they headed for the rental car.
"Where are we going now Agent Booth?" Zack got into the car with a squish, the water on his clothes splattering all over the beige seats of the car.
"We're going to Bridgeport and see if we can't get a room there for the night."
"Well, here we are," Max announced as he pulled the rented SUV into a parking spot outside their bed and breakfast. The place was quaint and old fashioned having once been a plantation with columns lining the front porch and willow trees lining the drive.
"This is a nice place," Russ said as he pulled on his coat. They were going to need to dash inside to stay as dry as possible. Amy handed jackets to her daughters as Max hopped out of the vehicle and ran for the front. The rest of the group followed, dashing to the front entrance of the bed and breakfast. They reached the doors along with two others who looked the worse for wear with mud covering their clothing. Max held open the door for everyone, pausing as the two bedraggled men followed them inside.
"Agent Booth," Max said as recognition dawned. Temperance turned around to look at the two men. A smile lit up her face when she realized exactly who it was that had followed them inside.
"Booth? What are you doing here?"
"I'm down here for my case, what are you doing here?" Water sluiced off of the agent and onto the floor taking some of the mud with it.
"We're here on vacation. My father has the whole thing planned."
"Well you're probably the first good thing to happen to me this evening." He looked so pathetic with the water pouring off of him that Temperance couldn't resist. She leaned forward and kissed him on the lips.
"Maybe that can make it a little bit better," she said before turning to see the surprised faces of her family and Zack.
"Um Tempe, when exactly did you and Agent Booth get together," Russ asked, first looking from one and then the other.
"Six months ago when we were in California." Booth wrapped his arm around her, just glad to have her near him.
"Are y'all gonna check in, or just muddy up our foyer?" The group turned to look at the cheery African-American woman behind the reception desk. Max and Russ moved forward to get their rooms, but Booth hung back for a minute. He looked at Temperance and ran his hand up and down her arm.
"Will you stay with me tonight?"
"Of course." Brennan offered the tired agent a smile and moved up to the reception desk to get their room. With Russ and Max's rooms taken care of, the front desk clerk turned to Booth and Brennan.
"One room for y'all?" She looked from one to the other.
"Yes. You should have a reservation already under the name Seeley Booth." Booth reached to an interior pocket and pulled out his identification as the clerk typed in some information into her computer.
"Of course, here we are. I have you down for the night is that correct?"
"There's a possibility we'll need to stay longer."
"That's fine. I shouldn't get anyone else in the next few days anyhow. Are y'all married?" Brennan and Booth looked at each other before turning back to the desk clerk.
"I really don't see how that's any of your business," Brennan said.
"I don't mean to get your knickers in a twist ma'am; just trying to be friendly is all."
"No, we're not," Booth responded as he swept his hand up and down Brennan's back. She shivered at the sensations the movement created. If there was one thing she would never get used to, it was the way her body responded to Booth. He only had to touch her and it sent little electrical impulses all through her. The clerk handed over a clipboard with some papers on it to Booth.
"If y'all could just fill these out I can get your keys. Your room will be on the second floor next to the others." The clerk looked at them and smiled, waiting for them to fill out the paperwork. Neither paid much attention to it, filling in the requested information and handing them back. The clerk looked over the papers and nodded her head before handing over a pair of keys to Booth. "Here you go, and I hope y'all enjoy your stay here in Bridgeport."
"Oh, I'm sure we will." Booth and Brennan left the counter to join Temperance's family as Zack checked into his room. Max looked over the pair once more before turning his gaze on Russ and Amy.
"Why don't we all get cleaned up a bit and meet for dinner around eight. The dining room stays open until ten, so we won't have to go out anywhere in this weather."
"Sounds good to me dad," Russ said as the others nodded their assent. "I don't know about anyone else, but I could definitely use a shower." After confirming that Zack was invited as well, everyone headed up the main stairs to their rooms. When the door shut behind Booth and Brennan, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply. Yes, he thought. A shower sounds good. A shower and some private time with Bones. I can't think of a better way to spend the evening.