Disclaimer: As always, this story was written for entertainment purposes only and no copyright infringement was intended.
Spoilers: "The Critic in the Cabernet"
A/N: This was written for my lovely friend Alanna (Alanna1231), who requested a B&B belly fic. Took me a while to get the Muse to cooperate, but here you go, sweetie! Thanks Liz (lizook) for lending me your mad betaing skills.
A Little Bit of Him and Her
At first, he can pretend it's not real. She'd never asked him to father her child. He'd never donated his… stuff. She'd never been inseminated and become pregnant. And she—most definitely— had not told him that she was going to do it all alone. Nope, everything is perfectly normal, the way it always has been.
Except that it isn't.
They investigate crime scenes. Chase down suspects. Gather evidence and catch bad guys. And he can almost forget he's going to be a father again.
And then one day, when she trades her lab coat for a jacket, he catches a glimpse of her stomach. Where she was once well-toned and flat, a tiny bump is forming. His baby. Their baby.
He can no longer deny it's happening. The truth is, he doesn't want to deny it. He wants nothing more than to be a part of it all. Doctors appointments and morning sickness. Hormones and midnight cravings. Building a crib and feeling the baby kick. But sitting on the sidelines while she does those things by herself…? No, this certainly isn't how he wanted it to happen. He made a promise though and he's a man of his word. This baby, that's a little bit of him and a little bit of her, is not his to love.
He manages to stifle his feelings –hell, he's been doing that for 4 years—and keeps himself in check. And as her belly grows, so does the distance between them. If she notices, she doesn't let on. Perhaps she's too distracted by her changing body. He sure as hell is.
He can't decide which is worse: Trying to protect himself from the inevitable rejection or being without his Bones. Tired of the daily struggle, he decides it's time to set aside his insecurities and get his partner back. Whatever happens after she has the baby, he can't imagine his life without her.
Armed with her favorite vegan food and a hopeful smile, he knocks nervously on her door. It takes her an eternity to answer, and when she does, she seems more confused than happy to see him. He stifles a grimace, forcing a cheerfulness into his voice that he doesn't actually feel. "Hey Bones!"
"Hi," she responds quietly, stepping aside to let him in. He hopes it's a good sign that he's still so welcome in her home.
As he follows her wordlessly toward the kitchen, his eyes rove across her body. He's not sure if it's the tank top stretched across her burgeoning abdomen or her pregnant waddle or the knowledge that she's carrying his child, but he thinks she looks downright adorable. He wants nothing more than to pull her into his arms and show her how he feels about her. But again, he holds himself back.
"I'll get some plates," she says softly and he finds it odd that she's being so quiet. Maybe he shouldn't have come over uninvited. Maybe he's overstepped her boundaries. Maybe she's working up the nerve to tell him to back off. He braces himself for whatever disappointment is just over the horizon.
He watches her reach up into a high cabinet to retrieve the dishes and it takes him a moment to realize she's struggling. Unaccustomed to see her struggle with anything, it takes forever for his brain to register that he should actually help her. When it finally dawns on him, he rushes to her rescue.
"Whoa, whoa! Easy there, Bones! Let me get those. You shouldn't be straining yourself in your condition." Because she steps out of the way, he doesn't notice she has begun to cry until a sob escapes her. Stunned, he nearly drops the plates and whirls around to look at her, but she quickly turns to avoid his gaze.
He won't let her off the hook that easily. "Hey," he gently spins her around but she refuses to meet his eyes. "What's wrong?"
It doesn't take much prodding to get her to open up. "It's… It's you, Booth." At his shocked expression, she goes on. "You've been avoiding me ever since I was inseminated. If you thought I wouldn't make a good mother, you should have been honest with me before you agreed to donate your semen." As hard as she tries to stop it, her face dissolves in another flood of tears.
Unprepared for the stab of guilt her admission yields, he's silent for a long moment. When her crying subsides, he asks quietly, "You think I've kept my distance because I don't think you'll be a good mother?" Her lack of response is all the confirmation he needs. He steps toward her and wraps his arms around her, kissing the top of her head and rubbing her back soothingly.
Once she's calmed down, he looks her meaningfully in the eyes. "Listen to me, Bones. You're going to be a terrific mother. Do you hear me? I have never doubted that for a second."
She looks at him doubtfully. "Then why-?"
"Because I couldn't stand the idea of you having this baby without me. Because I couldn't imagine not being a part of this." She still looks uncertain, so he grabs her by the wrist and leads her toward the bathroom.
He poses her in front of the mirror and stands close behind. Her eyes meet his in their reflection and she's puzzled. "Booth, what-?"
"Look at you," he whispers, chuckling when she frowns at him before complying. "You're an intelligent, beautiful, confident, caring, amazing woman." He tentatively places his hands on her tummy. "Baby Brennan will be the luckiest kid in the world to have you for a mother."
She studies herself thoughtfully for a moment and then lifts her gaze to meet his in the mirror. "Baby Booth," she corrects quietly.
He can't remember the last time he was so touched. No, scratch that. The last time he felt this deeply moved was when this very same woman dedicated her book to him. He can feel his eyes well up, which apparently doesn't go unnoticed because she turns to face him, really face him, for the first time all night.
Their eyes lock for a beat and a familiar electricity hangs in the air. Later, they wouldn't recall who initiated it, but before either realizes what's happening, they're kissing and crying and kissing and hugging and kissing some more.
He pulls away first and presses his forehead against hers. "I'm so damn in love with you. You know that?" She's surprised by the ferocity in his revelation, but as the weight of his words sink in, the truth does as well. She nods slowly and is rewarded with his most radiant grin.
They make love for the very first time that night, urgently, desperate to finally burst through the last barriers between them. Though intense, their lovemaking is punctuated by bouts of laugher: when she discovers he's extremely ticklish, the way her belly gets in the way, their typical ass-backwards approach to a relationship.
And their baby kicks her approval, relieved that finally, finally, her parents have gotten their act together.