A Cry In The Night
Disclaimer: "BONES" and other related entities are owned, (TM) and © by 20th CENTURY FOX TELEVISION.
By the time Temperance arrived at the Jeffersonian, she was feeling decidedly less than amused. Traffic, as usual, had been disastrous and was compounded by an accident between a taxi and a motorcyclist that had closed down a fairly significant portion of Massachusetts Avenue, forcing her to detour down Wisconsin Avenue and take an additional forty five minutes to reach her destination.
Thankfully she had had no problems reaching the Social Services building and had handed in the relevant paperwork to gain temporary custody, approved by an impeccable and frosty looking Ms. King. Now all she had to do was carry on her day as normal, which shouldn't be too hard.
As if the very thought had doomed her, Michael chose that moment to awaken in the backseat and begin howling his little lungs out. Temperance palmed her face and twisted to look at Michael, trying unsuccessfully to determine the cause of his distress.
"You need to learn to verbalise your needs as soon as possible," she told him in exasperation. Michael ignored her and continued to wail. Sighing, Temperance released her seat belt and got out of the car, opening the rear door and leaning closer. "Hey, Little Guy," she murmured, "what's the matter?" she asked, carefully hooking a finger in the top of his diaper and taking a small sniff. "Not a dirty diaper, thankfully," she said with a grin, then realised that although she could not smell any deposits, that did not mean he had not soiled himself.
Extracting him from his car seat, Temperance moved around to the other side of the car and placed him on the empty back seat to check if he had wet himself, gaining herself a moment of silence as Michael blinked at her curiously. Engrossed as she was, she completely missed the approaching footsteps.
"Bren? What are you doing?" Angela asked. Startled, Temperance attempted to stand and cracked the back of her head against the door frame. "Oh, god! I'm so sorry!" Angela exclaimed. Gritting her teeth, Temperance waived her friends apologies off, gingerly feeling the wounded area as she did so.
"No, it's okay," she said. "I've had worse." Angela sighed in relief before her forehead creased.
"So, what were you doing?" she asked. Temperance paused, unsure how to handle revealing her newfound foster-parent status. Her moment of indecision found the revelation taken out of her hands as Michael chose that moment to start crying again. "Oh my god! What? I mean, Bren, when did you?" Angela said, her brown eyes wide and astonished at the sight of Michael in full baby tantrum.
Temperance flashed her best friend a wry grin and diverted her attention to Michael.
"Everything happened last night," she explained as she checked the diaper more thoroughly.
"I'll say! Though I don't think that you can get pregnant and give birth that fast, Sweetie," Angela quipped. Smirking, Temperance bounced Michael on her hip as she retrieved the baby supply bag from the foot well behind the passenger seat and then set about fishing out a pre-prepared bottle of formula.
"He's not my biological child, Angela," Temperance said, looking amused. "My neighbour…" she paused and looked sad for a moment. "He was my neighbour, Anita's son. It appears as if she committed suicide," she said. Angela placed a gentle hand on her arm.
"I'm so sorry, Sweetie. What happened?" she asked. Placing the plastic cap back in the bag, Temperance teased Michael's lips with the bottle for a moment until he latched on and began eagerly suckling.
"I heard him crying last night. At first I ignored it, babies cry after all as they have no other means of getting across their needs. After three hours though, I got annoyed, so I went next door to ask Anita to keep him quiet. She didn't answer the door at all, and I've never known her to leave him alone, so I called Booth," Temperance said. Angela blew out an astonished breath and felt her eyebrows climb toward her hairline.
"Just as well that you did, Sweetie," she consoled. Temperance nodded in agreement, her eyes gazing warmly at the small form in her arms.
"Yes. After that, we found her inside with a large bottle of pills and called the authorities. I think that Booth will let me know what the coroner's report says when it comes in. Social Services arrived afterward and tried to take Michael into their custody but-"
"You threw a hissy fit and held onto him, huh?" Angela interrupted, looking highly amused. Temperance frowned at her friend for a moment.
"I did not throw a 'hissy fit,'" she disagreed. "I merely stated that I would not allow him to go into the system. Booth also helped to convince the case worker to agree to allowing us temporary custody until his family is found. Or not, as the case may be." Angela blinked.
"Wait, back up here. Did you say 'we?'" she asked. Temperance glanced up from her study of Michael's facial features.
"Yes, Booth and I," she clarified. "Ms. King, the Social Worker, agreed to temporary custody provided that Booth assists me." She made a dissatisfied face. "I don't see why he has to help me, but I admit that having his expertise in these matters will likely be more beneficial than attempting to divine solutions by myself," Temperance said. Angela's face split in a wide smile.
"So, Booth is helping you with little Mikey here?" she said. Temperance rolled her eyes.
"His name is Michael," she said, "and yes, Booth is going to be assisting me."
"Oh my god, that is so cute!" Angela squealed. Temperance sighed and disengaged the empty bottle from Michael's grasp, swiftly placing it back in the bag and retrieving a small towel which she placed over her shoulder, lifting Michael into a similar position and gently beginning to pat him on the back. "And oh. My. God, that is so much cuter. When did you get all 'mommy?'" Angela asked, her face beginning to hurt from all the grinning she was doing.
"Booth was fairly helpful last night," she confided. "He told me what to do." Angela fairly quivered at the revelation. "Don't get too excited, Angela," she warned. "I don't want a child of my own, but taking care of one that is already born? It shouldn't be hard," she said. "I can read a great deal of literature on the subject."
"Ah, Sweetie, I hate to burst your bubble here, but raising a baby? Not as easy as you think," Angela said, wrinkling her nose slightly as Michael burped up a little milk on the towel. Temperance huffed as she cleared up his mouth and settled him back into his car seat.
"How hard can it be? I'm a very intelligent, highly capable adult," she said. Angela's smile faded a little.
"Sweetie, there's more to raising a baby than just knowing the mechanics," she said. Temperance frowned at her friend.
"I know that, Angela, I'm perfectly aware of the emotional and developmental needs of a child. And I will be reading a great deal of literature, remember?" she said. Angela sighed.
"Don't say I didn't warn you," she said. "At least promise me that you will talk to Booth about this stuff," she begged. Temperance nodded as she shouldered the supply bag and her purse and hefted Michael's car seat by the handle.
"Of course. It shouldn't be a problem anyway, what with him infringing on my hospitality," she groused. Angela felt her grin stretch to epic proportions.
"He's staying with you?" she asked. Tossing her hair in annoyance, Temperance nodded.
"Yes, he managed to insert himself into my apartment quite neatly during the conversation with the social worker," she said. "If it weren't so annoying, I would be impressed." The two began walking toward the lab.
"Annoying?" Angela pried. Temperance made an irritated noise.
"Yes, I value my privacy. Having Booth around my apartment all the time is highly unlikely to be conductive to my relaxation," she said. Angela choked back a laugh.
"Oh, Sweetie," she said, "having a baby around isn't going to help that either, you know. And besides, you and Booth get on like a house on fire!" Temperance gave her friend a quizzical look.
"We combust nearby flammable materials?" she asked. Angela giggled.
"No, Sweetie. You get on really well, even when you're fighting."
"Then why didn't you just say that? I don't understand why people don't just say what they mean. And we don't fight," Temperance added, "we conduct healthy debates!" Angela looked unconvinced, though thoroughly amused as they passed through security, garnering several classical double takes from the security guards as they did so.
"If you say so, Sweetie. And if you think I'm going anywhere," she interrupted before Temperance could say another word, "you're sadly mistaken. I have got to see Cam's face when she sees this!"
"When I see what, Angela?" Cam asked as she approached. Then she caught sight of Michael, peacefully asleep in his car seat at Temperance's side and boggled. "Oh, that answers that," she said faintly.
"Cam, meet Michael," Angela introduced, grinning conspiratorially.
"Hi, Michael," Cam replied by rote, then blinked and shot the artist a wry look. "So, what's going on?" she asked, tilting her head at Temperance curiously. Giving her friend a slightly frosty look, Temperance regarded Cam for a moment.
"My neighbour committed suicide last night," she explained. "I have been given temporary custody until it can be determined if he has any relatives." Cam blinked.
"And, if he doesn't?" she asked. Temperance glanced down at the sleeping baby speculatively.
"Then I will take care of him," she said.
"You mean adopt him," Cam translated. Temperance nodded.
"Yes," she said simply.
"And, you're not concerned about this or how it will affect your work?" Cam asked, a note of incredulity entering her voice. She glanced at Angela, who shrugged and also looked extremely interested in her friend's response. Temperance looked thoughtful for several moments, absently shifting the two bags on her shoulder.
"No," she said, "I can see no way that this would adversely affect me for an extended amount of time. Obviously until plans can be made for Michael's care there would be certain restrictions on what I could and could not do, but for the most part I foresee that there should be no complications," Temperance explained reasonably. Cam stared, incredulous.
"Sweetie, do you really think that Booth will let you take Michael into the field? Granted you did so with Andy, but that was because of the chain of evidence!" Angela pointed out. Temperance made a thoughtful noise and began drifting towards her office, forcing the two women to follow or be left behind.
"for the most part fieldwork is not dangerous," she reasoned aloud. "It's like going out normally. I certainly can understand that Michael would not be allowed along when apprehending a suspect, but otherwise there is no reason that he could not come." Angela and Cam exchanged glances.
"Are you hearing this too?" Cam asked. Angela smiled weakly.
"Yeah, pretty much," she said.
"It's no different than taking him out to go to the supermarket," Temperance said, completely missing the by-play between her colleagues.
"I'm not sure she's fully grasped the consequences," Cam remarked, recognising that the anthropologist would not hear a word they said by her expression. Angela ran a hand through her hair, bangles clacking together gently as she did so.
"Tell me about it," she agreed. "What makes it worse is that she sort of has a point, logically speaking," she added hastily upon seeing Cam's shocked look. "What's different from stepping out to the store and Booth driving them both around during an investigation?"
"The fact that they would be trying to find a criminal and said criminal could get a hold of the baby and use it against them?" Cam pointed out.
"Oh yeah, good point," Angela agreed. Both turned their eyes to Temperance from where they stood at the entrance to her office. "You think she's going to understand that?" Angela asked. Cam gave her a wry look.
"Can pigs fly?" she asked rhetorically. Angela sighed.
"Yeah, me too," she said.
"Hey Ange, Dr. Saroyan," jack's voice interjected from behind. "What's so interesting?" he asked, peering through the gap that appeared between the two women as they turned. His blue eyes widened and he pointed, flabbergasted. "Is, is that a baby?" he asked.
"Dr. Hodgins, meet Michael," Cam remarked, looking amused. Temperance paused in her verbal conjecture, realising that she had mostly ignored the other two women for several minutes and turned.
"Dr. Hodgins," she greeted, spotting him behind her friend.
"Hey, Dr. B," he returned, squeezing in front of his fiancée and approaching the slumbering infant. "Hey Mikey," he greeted in a whisper. Temperance scowled.
"His name is Michael," she reiterated sharply, causing said infant to shift slightly and jack to glance at her in surprise. "Sorry," Temperance offered stiffly, "I just fail to see the point in using a diminutive of a perfectly good name."
"It's called being affectionate, honey," Angela offered, approaching to peek over jack's shoulder. "There's nothing wrong with it, you know. Like Booth when he calls you Bones," she offered. Temperance's scowl returned.
"I hate that name," she muttered under her breath. Angela shared an amused look with jack and Cam.
"No, you don't, Sweetie. At least, not when it comes out of Booth's mouth," she said. Temperance rolled her eyes and turned her attention to fishing around in the supply bag, eventually emerging with a pair of baby monitors. Taking her silence as a tacit agreement, Angela smiled victoriously before turning her attention to the slumbering Michael. "He's so cute," she murmured in jack's ear.
"Still want a million?" he quipped back. Angela grinned and nibbled at his ear.
"Okay, that's it, I'm out of here before you two start humping each other on the rug," Cam stated dryly. "I'd suggest you do the same, Dr. Brennan," she added.
"Oh, if you're going to do that, can you do it somewhere else?" Temperance asked from where she was setting up the baby monitor. "I don't want you to disturb Michael," she explained at the mildly astonished looks.
"I'm gonna go now," Cam stated and suited actions to words, her heels clicking on the hard flooring outside the office. Chagrined, Angela and jack rose from their squatting positions and meandered toward the door.
"Us too," Angela said. "I'll be in my office, okay?"
"Yeah, uh, okay," Temperance murmured, only half listening. Jack decided that saying anything would likely only draw attention to himself and so silently ushered his fiancée out of the door with a grin. "There, all done," Temperance announced, turning back to the empty room. "Where'd they all go?" she asked herself.
Seeley scrubbed wearily at his face, desperately trying to maintain his concentration on deputy director Cullen as he gave the monthly briefing and progress reports to all the senior agents.
"Am I boring you, Agent Booth?" Cullen's voice intruded sharply. Seeley jerked upright, looking contrite.
"No sir! Sorry sir!" he said.
"I'm glad to hear it. Can I get back to the briefing now?" Cullen asked, quirking an eyebrow. Seeley winced and nodded. "Thanks," Cullen said, dryly before continuing.
"Nice one, Seeley," Marc Robinson whispered snidely from his side. Seeley glowered in response, his already fair dislike for the narcotics agent rising.
"Agent Robinson, would you like to share with the class?" Cullen interrupted again. "Or would you like to continue whispering sweet nothings in Agent Booth's unwilling ear?" Muted chuckles echoed around the room, and Robinson flushed in embarrassment. Seeley suppressed a smile and nodded a subtle thanks to his superior, who flicked his eyes over to him and then back around the room without pause.
"Sorry, sir," Robinson muttered. Cullen nodded sharply and then continued with the briefing once more. The remaining hour passed in a blur of words and distributed cases before Cullen announced an end.
"You all have your briefings and assignments. Get to it, ladies and gentlemen!" Everyone rose to their feet and broke off, clustering together into their respective units and making their way back to their assigned areas. "Agent Booth, a word if you please?" Cullen asked. Seeley concealed a grimace and nodded, following Cullen back to his office and taking a seat when indicated.
"How can I help, sir?" he asked. Cullen reclined in his seat, steepling his fingers in front of his mouth.
"I had an interesting call, this morning," he began. Seeley felt his heart sink. "From the Washington Social Services office, asking if we were indeed asking for a grant of temporary custody for a one," he paused and glanced at a piece of paper on his desk, "Michael Hansen. Care to shed any light on this, Agent Booth? As your name was mentioned, after all."
I hate Vanessa King, Seeley growled silently before clearing his throat.
"Ah, yes sir. Last night Dr. Brennan noticed that an infant in the neighbouring apartment was crying for several hours without interruption. She investigated, but received no response from the apartment's occupant. She then called me, concerned for the child's welfare," he said
"And why did she not call the police, Agent Booth?" Cullen interrupted.
"I cannot say, sir. After receiving her call, I entered the apartment and found Miss Hansen, the child's mother, dead on the floor of her bathroom, from what looked like a drug overdose. As soon as I did so, I called the local PD myself. They attended and the coroner collected the body. Dr Brennan then requested temporary custody of the infant, due to her foster parent status, until any other family could be found. Due to our successful caring for young Andy Taylor previously, we were granted temporary custody," Seeley finished.
"'We,' Agent Booth?" Cullen asked. Seeley flushed slightly.
"Uh, well, I ah, may have assisted with the custody grant by alluding to my parenthood, sir," he stammered.
"That still doesn't explain 'we,' Agent Booth," Cullen pointed out. Seeley smiled weakly.
"Yes sir. Custody was granted to myself and Dr. Brennan, sir," he explained. Cullen smothered an amused look.
"So, are you telling me that you used your position as an FBI agent to persuade a Social Services case worker to assign temporary custody to your partner and yourself, rather than allow this child to be taken into the system?" he asked, watching as Seeley paled and swallowed thickly.
"I, uh…yes, sir," Seeley admitted.
"And how do you think that I should feel about that, Agent Booth?" Cullen asked. Seeley wet his lips and tried to bring his racing thoughts under control.
"Sir, at no time, did I state that I was making a formal request, via the Bureau, for custody of the child. I merely advised Ms. King of our combined expertise and previous success and requested that she check this with her superiors. I may have intimated that her superiors would look favourably on co-operation with the request, but again, at no time did I say that I was making a formal request," he said. Cullen regarded him silently for several moments before leaning forward.
"I'll remind you, Agent Booth, that we are here to catch criminals and do our civic duty. We are not here to pressure, even subtly, other members of the system into doing us favours. However," he said, holding up his hand as Seeley opened his mouth, "I recognise that you were merely attempting to prove that the pair of you were suitable candidates to look after the child, and applaud the efforts you have gone to in order to rescue a child from being with people who might not care so much for his welfare." Cullen felt his lips twitch into a smile at the look of relief on his subordinate's face. "It also helps that I spoke to the miserable so and so at the social services building herself. Quite the character isn't she?" he asked. Seeley blinked.
"Ms. King, sir?" he said. Seeing Cullen nod, he smirked. "Yeah, she's definitely a character, sir." Cullen chuckled.
"So, can I assume that this was the cause of your…wandering attention span today?" he asked. Seeley coloured with embarrassment.
"I apologise, sir. It may have been a contributing factor," he admitted. Cullen nodded.
"Well, in that case I can understand, to a degree. Since I was so…uniquely dragged into this mess I also took the liberty of asking for an update on the situation. Would you like to know what I've been told?" he asked. Seeley nodded.
"Yes, sir," he said.
"I'm afraid young Mr. Hansen is alone in this world. Maternal grandparents, both deceased, no known father. No cousins, remote or otherwise. May I ask what you intend to do with this information?" Cullen asked. Seeley blinked and scrubbed at his face, his thoughts, previously racing, now sluggish and leaden.
"I, I don't know, sir. Tell Bones, I guess. Dr Brennan, I mean," he amended. Cullen sat back and waived it off.
"I'm well aware of your moniker for Dr. Brennan," he said. "According to what I'm told, temporary custody was granted to both of you, Agent Booth. If Dr. Brennan requests an adoption on her own, questions might be asked why you are no longer part of that application. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what that means," he pointed out.
"It could endanger the adoption due to an unstable home life," Seeley muttered.
"Just so," Cullen said. "I'm going to ask you a question, Agent Booth, and I will expect an honest answer. Is there more than partnership between yourself and Dr. Brennan?" he asked. Seeley clamped down on his instinctive response and gazed into the eyes of his superior, a man who had been in his place before and had gotten where he was by being damn good at his job.
"I don't know, sir," he answered at length. Cullen nodded and tapped his index fingers together thoughtfully.
"You know my policies on fraternisation, Agent Booth?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. Zero tolerance, sir," Seeley replied.
"And you have been working with Dr. Sweets on your 'partnership issues' since he was assigned to you?" Cullen said.
"Yes, sir," Seeley agreed.
"You would be interested to know some of the things that he reports about you two, I think," Cullen said, noting the rapid narrowing of Booth's eyes carefully. He reached out and picked up a bound report beneath the information he had obtained on the Hansen boy and flipped to the back. "He states that, 'Without doubt there is a bond greater than that of a professional working relationship at play. Despite opposite, and at times conflicting personalities and beliefs, Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan form a symbiotic partnership that also acts as a surrogate relationship for both.
'Although their opposing views often conflict, their deep respect of one another's abilities and opinions allow them to work at an exceptional and highly motivated pace, and should a relationship inevitably develop, their professional demeanour and ability to compartmentalise would no doubt allow them to continue working together in a professional capacity.
'It is my professional opinion that Agent Booth and Dr. Brennan be allowed to continue their partnership, lest we be bereft of an incredibly talented team that consistently gets results.'" Cullen eyed the stunned look on Booth's face and smiled slightly. "What I take from that, Agent Booth, is that should such a relationship develop, there would be no detrimental effects to your partnership. Would you agree?" he asked. Seeley stared back, his mouth slightly open as he tried to process his thoughts. "Agent?" Cullen prompted.
"I, uh, yes, yes, sir," Seeley finally managed, feeling as if he had stepped blindly into a trap of epic proportions.
"Good, I'm glad we agree. Since this is such a delicate issue, I believe that you should inform Dr. Brennan personally and discuss it," Cullen said. Recognising the dismissal, Seeley rose from his position and stepped toward the door only to stop and turn back.
"Sir?" he called.
"Yes, Agent Booth?" Cullen replied, glancing up from the report he still held. Seeley hesitated, then gave a short smile.
"Thank you, sir," he said. Cullen returned the smile and nodded.
"You're welcome. Now go and talk to Dr. Brennan," he said.
"Yes, sir," Seeley replied, closing the door behind him as he left. Cullen stared after him for several minutes, before glancing at the small photograph on his desk and picking it up, gently tracing his finger over the image of his wife and daughter with a small, sad smile.
Author's note: Well! Since I got such an overwhelming response to my last chapter, I haven't got much choice but to write a little more! I hope you like this little addition! Feedback is always appreciated, as is criticism.