AN: Dedicated to C.K., who has maintained higher spirits while battling breast cancer than most healthy people I know.
AN2: Spoilers for "The Critic in the Cabernet" and "Harbingers in the Fountain."
"I wish we didn't have to stop for traffic," Brennan said to Booth as the partners, along with newlyweds Angela and Hodgins, Cam and her daughter Michelle, Sweets, Brennan's interns, Caroline, Jared, Max, Russ and Amy, their daughters Emma and Hayley, and thousands of people they didn't know, waited for a train to go by. "It's going to affect our times."
Booth smiled. Leave it to Bones to get competitive at a walk for charity. Not that he minded; Brennan's competitive streak was one of the many, many things he loved about her. "Do our times really matter? Aren't we doing the Race for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research?"
"Yes," she answered. "But that doesn't mean we can't challenge ourselves physically at the same time." A couple minutes later the train finally passed, and the crowd of walkers ahead of them began to move again. "Finally," Brennan said, quickening her pace to make up for lost time.
Booth smiled again as he sped up to match her pace, but his mood sobered when he saw the pink slip of paper pinned to the back of a man in front of him. It had a picture of a woman in her thirties, and below were the words: "In memory of my beloved wife. I know we'll meet again someday." Booth blinked back tears. I could have been that guy.The slip on my back could have said 'In memory of my beloved wife Temperance Brennan' instead of 'In honor of'. Or maybe it would have been 'beloved partner and friend'. I could have lost the woman I love before she knew how much I loved her.
Two years and seventeen days ago, Brennan had knocked on Booth's door and told him that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She'd delivered the news with her usual calm, but he wasn't fooled by the mask she wore for everyone else. He had taken her into his arms instantly and told her that she could beat it because she was the strongest woman he'd ever known. He'd promised that he'd be there for her every step of the way, and he was. He'd kept her company during treatments, cooked for her when she was too tired to do it herself, driven her anywhere she needed to go, and given her a never-ending supply of encouraging words and intimate embraces they could no longer pretend were 'guy hugs'. On the outside his confidence in her success never wavered, but inside he was terrified that he would lose her just as they were finally admitting their true feelings for one another. He had spent many restless nights wishing that her cancer were a target he could attack, something he could threaten or kill, or that he could suffer in her place.
Booth took Brennan's hand in his. "Our times don't matter, Bones. The only thing that matters is that we're here…you're here. You never gave up."
Brennan kissed him on the cheek. "Neither did you."
"I love you so much, Bones." Since her recovery, he had promised himself that he would never miss a chance to tell her he loved her.
"I love you too, Booth." She flashed him a mischievous smile. "In a professional, atta boy kind of way, of course."
Booth smiled at Brennan's reference to the first time he had tried-- and utterly failed-- to tell her how he felt about her. "Of course. That's why you married me." His eyes drifted down to her stomach. "And why you're having my baby."
Brennan's free hand involuntarily moved to her flat stomach. Her mind told her that their unborn child was currently the size of a pen cap but, quite illogically, she still tried to detect its presence. "Do you remember when I decided that I wanted a child in Sweets' office and asked you for your sperm?"
Booth laughed. "The woman you've wanted for years suddenly asking you for your stuff isn't the kind of thing you forget."
She laughed along with him. "I'm glad we didn't end up conceiving our child that way."
"Me too, Bones." He squeezed her hand. "Me too."
They were still holding hands as they crossed the finish line minutes later, surrounded by their friends and family, each of whom had a pink 'In honor of Temperance Brennan' sign on their backs.
Looking around at all the people who had come together in her honor, Brennan felt immensely grateful. "We should do this again next year," she thought out loud.
"Definitely," Booth agreed. "And we'll bring our daughter."
Brennan playfully rolled her eyes at him. "You keep referring to the fetus as 'our daughter', but it's much too early to determine gender."
"I know, but my gut says we're having a girl. She'll be beautiful and smart and strong, just like you. When she's old enough, we'll tell her how her mother beat up murderers, gangbangers and cancer. She'll be so impressed."
"Or he'll be impressed," Brennan countered. "If we do have a son, I hope he's fortunate enough to inherit your symmetrical features and your strength of character. You'll be an excellent role model for him."
Booth grinned. "Thanks, Bones. You know, whether we have a boy or a girl, our kid's going to have a terrific mom."
"You think so?" She asked, her shaky voice betraying her doubts. She knew that she was exceptionally talented in many areas, but she couldn't assume that she would be equally talented as a mother.
He squeezed her hand again. "I know so."
One year later, Booth and Brennan walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for the second time. Like last year, they were joined by a large group of friends and family.
Unlike last year, they pushed a stroller with a beautiful baby girl inside.
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.