A/N: I was watching "The Baby in the Bough" the other day and this story idea wouldn't leave me alone. Let me know what you think and please review! This is currently a one-shot but I'm toying with the idea of continuing so if you want to see more, let me know! Enjoy!
Warning: Spoilers for "The Baby in the Bough" and anything referring to Brennan in the foster care system.
Our Little Guy
Booth woke to knocking on his door. Cracking open an eye, he glared at his clock when it told him that it was only 3:27 am, thinking that if he glared at it long enough, the clock would speed up and tell him that he wasn't really woken up at this absurdly early hour. Booth closed his eyes again, intent on ignoring the knocking on his door when he also heard a wail. Awake now, he tossed back the covers and stumbled out of bed and towards the door in his sweatpants and bare chest, not even bothering with putting a shirt on. "Okay, okay," he muttered to himself as the knocking and the cry continued. He flung open the door without even looking through the peephole, something he realized belatedly that he constantly chided Brennan for not doing. On the other side of the door stood Brennan, wearing a pair of sweatpants and an old FBI sweatshirt he left at her place a while ago, looking anxious and worried, holding a diaper bag and a carrier that currently held a wailing Andy, tears running down his face that was scrunched up and red from the exertion.
"Booth, I need your help," Brennan told him over the baby's cry as she stood outside his door. She could hear the desperation in her voice even though she was trying to hide it. Andy had started crying about two hours ago and wouldn't stop. She tried feeding him, holding him, singing to him, and finally she thought he would tire himself out after a while but the crying continued. When she couldn't think of anything else to do, she packed Andy up and starting driving him, thinking the motion of the car would put him to sleep. That didn't work either and she found herself outside Booth's apartment, needing his advise as a parent. "I know that I have responsibilities as a registered foster parent that you don't have and that it is early, but I didn't know what else to do and he won't stop crying even though I patted him and fed him…"
"Bones, it's ok, come in, please," Booth said, finally breaking out of his daze and pulling his partner into his apartment. She dropped the diaper bag just inside his door and he led her to the living room, putting the baby carrier on the coffee table in front of the couch, the occupant still wailing in displeasure. Booth saw her collapse on the couch and he bent down to pick up the baby. "Hey, little big man, what 's the matter? You're upsetting your Auntie Bones over there and we don't want that now do we?" Booth asked in a hushed tone as he picked Andy up and cradled him to his left shoulder, bouncing him up and down and shushing him quietly. He felt Andy cuddle into his shoulder, right over his heart, seeking out the warmth his bare chest provided and also the reassuring beat of his heart as the baby began to quiet down.
Brennan stared in shock at her partner and Andy, who was now hiccupping quietly and trying to comfort himself by attempting to put his whole fist in his mouth and leaving a small string of drool on Booth's chest. She had been trying to comfort the boy for an hour with no luck and Booth holds him for a minute and he stops crying. Brennan felt like a failure, a total and colossal failure. So she did what she always did when she felt humiliated: she ran. "Well, Booth, since he has quieted down with you, I'm going back to my apartment-"
"Wait, Bones," Booth said as he grabbed her arm with his free hand, leaning back slightly to support Andy's tiny frame. "Why are you leaving? I need you here."
"No you don't, Booth," Brennan said as she starting pacing his living room, her frustration at the situation coming through in her speech. "He obviously likes you better than me. I don't know why I thought I could do this. I'm no good with children; I just don't have the maternal instinct that other women seem to have. You know, anthropologically speaking, some women don't have a natural bond with children, which means that in a hunter/gatherer type society they would take on other responsibilities, such as…"
As Brennan continued to talk and her voice escalated in pitch, Booth could feel the anxiety coming off of her in waves and Andy started to get fussy again. Booth smiled as he put two and two together and figured out why Brennan couldn't make Andy stop crying.
Brennan glanced over at Booth and saw him smiling, which just infuriated her more. "Fine, Booth, I'll be here tomorrow morning to pick him up because I don't want you to think that I am shirking my responsibilities-"
"Bones, stop talking for a minute," Booth interrupted her. She stopped and when she listened she heard Andy whimpering softly, too tired from his cry earlier to start a full-blown wail. She looked at Booth, her eyes silently asking him what was wrong.
"Bones, the reason why you couldn't get him to calm down earlier isn't because you weren't trying or that you don't have a maternal instinct. It's because he could feel the tension and anxiety you were feeling and he was reacting to it the only way he knows how. And the tension between the two of you just built up until neither of you could calm down. Now, come here," he instructed her. She complied and softly walked over to where he was standing, in between the coffee table and his couch. He sat down on the couch and Brennan followed his lead, sitting down next to him on his left side so she was eye level with Andy's sleeping face. When he felt the shift in position Andy made a little noise of displeasure and Brennan saw a sliver of his bright blue eyes as he peeked out at her before he closed them again and settled against Booth's chest. Brennan found her anger instantly dissipating at the sight of the boy's eyes. Booth rubbed his hand up and down Andy's back when he heard the whimper as he sat down on the couch to quiet the little boy.
Brennan couldn't help but smile at the image in front of her. Booth was sitting on the couch in his sweatpants, his hair standing up at all angles from sleep, softly cooing to the baby in his arms while still rubbing his right hand in a circular motion on the boy's back. He really is a good father, Brennan thought.
"Here, Bones," Booth said as he lifted the boy from his shoulder in preparation of giving him to Brennan. Booth supported the sleeping boy's head with one hand and used the other to support his body and tried to hand him to her. She looked panicked and scooted away from him.
"Booth, what are you doing?" Brennan asked, avoiding the child. "He's calm when you hold him. He only cries when I hold him."
"No, Bones, he's not crying because he doesn't want you to hold him. You were just stressed out that you weren't doing it right and that got him stressed out so he started to cry. Now, here, let me show you," Booth said as he beckoned her to come closer to him. Brennan still looked slightly worried that Andy would wake up and start screaming again but at Booth's encouraging glance, she slid closer to him and held her arms out.
"Here, Bones, let me help you," he said softly. He placed the baby in her arms. Andy's face scrunched up for a moment and he whimpered a bit as he was readjusted. Brennan stiffened up as she saw this, thinking that Andy would start crying again. Booth felt her stiffen up next to him and moved quickly to reassure her. "You're doing good Bones, he's just reacting to the change in position. Now, hold your right arm a little higher and angle your left arm downward a little bit to support his head a little more. There you go, Bones," Booth said as he wrapped his left arm around her to angle Brennan's arm correctly and gently grasped her right arm in his hand. Andy settled down and his face became relaxed in sleep again. Brennan smiled down at the boy and absently leaned back into Booth's bare chest, relaxing in his arms the same way Andy was relaxing in hers. Booth was surprised that Brennan hadn't pulled away from him and settled his arms more firmly around her under the pretense of helping her hold Andy more securely.
"I've never really felt comfortable holding children before," Brennan started quietly, not taking her eyes off of the sleeping boy, who had stuck his tongue out slightly. "When I was in the system, a lot of the families I was placed with fostered young children as well. I was always just expected to help take care of them but I never seemed to do it right and nobody would show me the proper ways to hold them and comfort them so I just became uncomfortable with them."
Booth absorbed this information without replying. It was rare that she talked about her time in the foster system and he always felt honored when she shared anything with him.
"Is that why you said you don't want kids?" Booth asked softly. Brennan shivered slightly as she realized how close she was to Booth. She suddenly felt the warmth his of arms around her and the hard muscles of his chest at her back. Surprisingly, she realized that she enjoyed it and subconsciously leaned further into him.
She nodded affirmatively in response to his question. "I never knew that care giving could be this rewarding. Anthropologically speaking, I know that humans have evolved to release endorphins to stimulate good feelings in response to the process of care giving to make people attached to their young but I never knew that the feelings could be this strong. I don't know what I would do if he was hurt in any way and he is not even my child. I can't imagine how you deal with these feelings in regards to Parker."
"Well, Bones, when it's your child, you give them all the love and support they need and don't think about the rest. It's the easiest and hardest job I'll ever have and I wouldn't have it any other way. Except that I wish I could see him more," Booth said with a hint of regret in his voice.
Brennan turned to look at him and found him looking into his eyes. "You are an excellent father, Booth. Parker is so lucky to have you in his life."
Booth smiled at her. "Thanks, Bones. I really appreciate it." Both looked toward Andy when he yawned and turned his head to nestle more into Brennan's chest. Booth chuckled under his breath. "I think Andy has the right idea, Bones. I'm exhausted," Booth finished with a yawn of his own. "You know, Bones, you don't have to leave. It's late and we are both tired. Why don't you stay here for the night?" Booth asked nervously.
"Where is he going to sleep?" she argued half-heartedly, reasoning that she was not ready for to go home and face being alone with Andy just yet. She refused to admit to herself that she just wanted to stay longer with Booth.
"Put him in the carrier. He'll be fine there for the rest of the night," Booth answered hopefully. Brennan nodded and carefully placed her charge in the carrier, relieved when he didn't stir. She covered him with the blanket she got from the diaper bag and sat back down on the couch, where Booth was still sitting and staring at Andy with a soft expression on his face. When she sat down, Booth hesitantly put his arm on the back of the couch behind her, giving her an invitation for more if she wanted it. Brennan smiled to herself at Booth's gesture. She couldn't explain why she craved his touch right now but caring for Andy made her feel vulnerable and Booth seemed to soothe away her vulnerability. She leaned over and placed her head on Booth's chest and sought out the spot Andy had settled on earlier: the spot right over Booth's heart. Listening to the steady beat, she sighed deeply and settled more firmly into his chest, closing her eyes and falling right to sleep.
Booth smiled as he felt Brennan's breathing even out, indicating that she had fallen asleep. He pressed a light kiss to her forehead and ignoring the thought of how his back was going to feel tomorrow after sleeping on the couch for the night, he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep as well, thinking of the little guy in the carrier who for the time being was their own.