Rating: K, this chapter at least!
Summary: Filler scene for 03x12, Baby in the Bough. Just what would B&B's first night with the baby have been like?
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: This story has hit me and won't let up! What were the writer's thinking? Did she stick him in a bone locker all night?! Many thanks to TemperTemper for the fantabulous beta and support, and for the extra patience with me when I'm really 'supposed' to be working on something else!
Temperance Brennan sat in the darkened SUV under the bright glare of the towering parking lot lights. Her left leg bounced incessantly, betraying the seemingly calm look upon her face. Inside her head, myriad thoughts screamed along her neural pathways. The cell phone in her right hand tumbled end-over-end-over-end as she mindlessly flipped it with her slender fingers.
She jumped as the back seat door was suddenly opened and the overhead dome light threw the interior into bright contrast.
"Scare ya, Bones?" Seeley Booth chuckled over her shoulder as he gently placed the plastic Wal-Mart bags in the seat and floor board.
Ignoring his verbal jab, she retorted, "Just how much did you buy, Booth? I thought we just needed diapers and formula?"
Booth looked across the back seat to the slumbering baby in the car seat. He couldn't hold back the smile that crossed his lips. "Little Big Man needs lotsa stuff, Bones – diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, binkies… and baby powder."
He closed the back door and rounded the SUV, climbing into the driver's seat. "We don't know how long we'll have him. Gotta be prepared."
"Well, that's why I sent you in for the supplies. You're the one with a child," she replied logically. "And why do you keep calling him that?"
"What? Little Big Man?"
"Yes. It's contradictory. Nothing can be little and big at the same time. And he's not yet a man."
Booth shrugged, "It's what I used to call Parker when he was a baby."
"It still doesn't make sense."
"It would if you knew the story behind it," Booth smirked as he backed the SUV out of the parking space and began to drive.
Brennan just looked at him and waited for him to continue.
"I don't know if I feel like sharing, Bones," he said seriously, but she caught the glint in his eye.
"Fine then, but you have to stop calling him that."
"Bo-ones," he fake-whined.
"I'm serious. Maybe if I knew the story behind it, it would be less annoying…" she trailed off, looking out her window.
Booth sighed. "Fine."
He propped his elbow on the window ledge and rubbed his temple. Then, barely audible, "Rebecca used to call me Big Man."
Brennan's head snapped back to him and she couldn't stop the laugh that bubbled up out of her… or her eyes from wandering toward his lap, wondering.
"Not all the time or anything," he continued, not noticing her flitting gaze in the dim light. "But often enough that she thought it was cute, I guess, to call Parker her Little Big Man. She started it, not me."
Brennan chuckled, "Well maybe it makes more sense now, but it's not any less contradictory… Big Man."
"No! You do not get to call me that. I knew I shouldn't have told you." But he liked seeing this playful side of her, regardless.
They rode on in silence a bit as Booth navigated the necessary turns to take them on the highway towards Brennan's apartment. As they neared the exit for Capitol Hill, he asked, "So, did you iron things out with Child Protective Services and the Foster Care people?"
"Yes, I explained to them how Little Big Man," (chuckle) "swallowed evidence and we needed to keep him with us for a day or two until we could get it back. The lady didn't express a great level of confidence in my abilities after that, but I reassured her."
"Oh yeah, and how did you do that?"
"I told her that my FBI agent partner is an experienced father."
Booth couldn't contain the grin that spread across his face at his independent, self-reliant Bones admitting she needed his help. "I'm impressed Bones. You actually admitting you need my help for something?"
"I don't need your help Booth. I just knew it was what the woman needed to hear."
Booth didn't know what to react to first; the fact that his "never going to have children" partner suddenly thought she could take care of an infant on her own; the fact that she lied to CPS; or the fact that she didn't want his help with Little Big Man.
He decided on the first two. "Oh, so Miss Never-Gonna-Have-Kids suddenly wants one? And knows all there is to know?"
"Just because I don't want children of my own doesn't mean I don't like them, Booth. Besides I have a decidedly steep learning curve."
"You don't have time to read a book about taking care of infants, Bones. You're gonna need help. My help. And you lied to CPS? Your first foster child… you're really starting out on the right foot here."
"I didn't lie, Booth. You are an experienced father, are you not?"
Just then, Booth made the final turn into the parking lot of her building. "This is not over, Bones."
Brennan was out of the car as soon as Booth shifted it into park. She opened the back door and began to grab up the very crinkly, very loud, plastic bags of bulky, clunky baby 'necessities.'
Two sleepy blue eyes suddenly popped open and, startled awake by the loud noises and bright overhead light, Little Big Man scrunched up his face and began to wail.
Booth opened the back door and immediately began to try to calm the baby. "Hey now buddy, it's okay. Did mean old Auntie Bones wake you up?" He released the car seat out of its base and carried the baby towards the building.
The whole time, Brennan had stood, plastic bags clutched tightly in her fists, eyes wide at the screaming infant, anything but the picture of confidence she had tried to portray moments earlier.
Just what have I gotten myself into this time?
-- -- -- -- -- -- --
"Little Big Man!" Booth chanted over and over while raising the baby over his head in the air. Giggles resounded through the room as a drop of stringy drool landed on the shoulder of his white dress shirt.
"We can't keep calling him that, Booth," Brennan said as she set her keys and bags on the counter and moved the now empty car seat out of the entryway.
"Why not? I mean, we don't know his real name. Yet… but we will. Yes we will!" The last part said to the baby in a sing-songy voice.
"I know we will, but we need to call him something… else."
"Well, what do you suggest? Bob? Larry? Cedric?"
"I don't think I could give him a real name though. It will just make it weird when we do find out his birth name."
"You don't want a nickname, you don't want a real name." Booth turned to the squirming infant in his arms, "First lesson about women, Little Big Man, there's just no pleasing them!"
Ignoring him, Brennan continued, "We can just call him 'the baby.'"
"No way, Bones. That's too much like 'the victim' when it's coming from your lips. It's your way of staying emotionally detached. And this is a baby; a real live, squirming, drooling human being. There's got to be some emotion there. I mean, look at him: wide awake, smiling at you. Aww, he's reaching for you, Bones. You wanna go see your Auntie Bones, don't ya bud?!"
Brennan hesitated a moment, but reached out and took the child into her arms and settled him into an awkward cradle hold. The baby immediately turned his head towards her breast and nuzzled her, crying out softly.
"Whoa buddy, rounding second base there! I'd say that's a good sign he's hungry, Bones."
"Yes, Booth, I know. Anthropologically, infants of all mammalian species are born seeking their mother's milk and there are several types of significant feeding cues that can be observed…"
"Yeah, I hear ya, Bones. I'm just gonna go make him a bottle." Booth walked to the kitchen, tamping down thoughts of how nice it must be to nuzzle Auntie Bones' breasts.
Where the hell did that come from?
Brennan followed him, having situated the baby up on her shoulder, patting his back along the way.
Booth started to empty the plastic bags onto the countertop. "Wow, Bones. You really look like a natural with him."
"This may be my first time caring for an infant, but this is not my first time holding one, Booth. I've had some experience."
Her face seemed to darken as she spoke, giving Booth the sharp inner jab to his gut that there was more to her statement than met the eye. He continued to unload items in contemplative silence. As he sat the can of formula on the counter, it hit him like a ton of bricks.
"Your time in foster care."
Her eyes snapped to meet his, her face portraying the initial shock, and then the acceptance that he just knew her that well.
She sighed and shifted the baby to her other shoulder. "There were two families I stayed with that also had infant children. Mostly, I preferred to keep to myself, but there were a few times when I was asked to help with the younger kids… mainly rocking them to sleep or giving them a bottle." She paused. "It was a long time ago."
"Yeah, but ya don't forget things like that, Bones. You don't forget."
Their eyes locked and lingered for a few moments until Booth cleared his throat, "So I guess that's one thing I won't have to teach you, huh?!"
"Yeah?" Booth answered as he disassembled a bottle and took it to the sink to wash it.
"Why is everything blue?" Brennan looked at all the items laid on her countertop. Bottles with blue sailboats and tri-toned blue pacifiers. Hell, even the can of formula had a blue label.
"Because… he's a boy," Booth said in his best 'Well, duh!' voice.
"Just because he's a boy doesn't mean you have to inundate him with blue things, Booth. The idea that any one color is more masculine or feminine than another is a pure societal construct, and is only exaggerated by…"
"Here we go, one clean bottle… add some water, a little yummy powder and voila! Meal-on-wheels! Right Little Big Man?"
Booth shook the bottle to mix the formula and came around the counter. "You wanna do the honors, Bones? Feed the little guy?"
"Uh… okay. Sure. I can do it." Brennan seemed to be psyching herself up.
She took the bottle from Booth's outstretched hand and walked over to the couch. She sat near the armrest and positioned the baby once again into a cradle hold, laying his head gently in the crook of her left elbow. When she brought the bottle to the infant's mouth, he immediately latched on and sucked greedily.
She looked into his bright blue eyes and saw them briefly roll back in pleasure. Then those eyes cleared and focused on nothing but her, piercing her with his innate curiosity and trust. It took her breath away for a moment.
"You're doing great, Bones. Here…" Booth said as he slid a throw pillow under her arm, allowing her to relax and be more comfortable. He sat across from her on the edge of the coffee table, propping his elbows on his knees.
"Thanks." Brennan watched him as he watched the baby. She knew she needed him in this, needed his help. "I do need you, you know."
Booth raised his eyes to meet hers, saw the sincerity shining there, and knew she meant it. "No place I'd rather be." He swallowed. "He's our responsibility now, y'know? We're partners in this."
She nodded and looked back down at their 'responsibility/evidence/baby' nursing the bottle contentedly. He really was a gorgeous little guy – fuzzy blonde hair, pudgy baby cheeks, beautiful peachy complexion.
"He's beautiful isn't he, Bones?"
The corners of Brennan's mouth upturned, and she wondered, not for the first time, when they became this in-sync. How could he know her this well?
"There have been studies done that show that we are inherently attracted to a specific set of characteristics, including large, symmetrical heads, large eyes, small mouths and small noses."
Booth did his best to stifle a yawn, all the while watching the baby's eyes start to droop.
"In fact, there is an evolutionary theory that states…"
As she continued to speak, her hair fell across her face. Booth couldn't stop his hand from reaching across and trapping the strand in his fingertips, tucking it back behind her ear. She stopped mid-sentence as his fingertips brushed along her cheek.
"Why can't you just agree with me, Bones?" he asked, as he brought his hand back under control and rested his elbow back on his knee.
Gazing at him, still feeling the ghost trail of his touch, Brennan replied, "I just did."
Booth couldn't stop yet another smile and looked down again at the now-sleeping baby. The little guy had stopped drinking, his jaw was slack and a bit of formula was slowly dripping down his cheek. "Look at that, you bored him to sleep, just like you do me!"
Brennan rolled her eyes and removed the bottle from the baby's mouth. "Here, make yourself useful," she said as she shoved the nearly empty container at him.
Booth took it and stood, making his way back to the kitchen.
Brennan watched him go and had a sudden thought.
"Booth, where is he going to sleep?"
Hope you enjoyed! If so, let me know!
I've already started Chapter 2 so hopefully an update isn't too far away...
Thanks for reading!