A/N: Thanks, you guys, for all of your lovely reviews! They're much appreciated! Here's the next chapter... I don't know, something about this one didn't feel right to me, but I didn't know what else to do with it. I think it's the girls' dialog. I SUCK at writing for kids (even though I myself babysit a three-year-old!).
At the sound of the shriek, Booth bolted off the couch and started for the bedroom.
"Booth, wait," Brennan said calmly. "Let me handle this." She walked quickly but calmly to the girls' room and opened the door slowly.
Booth's heart was beating rapidly. What was going on here? Bones seemed so calm, not in the slightest bit frantic. Did this happen often? Who had screamed? And why? He hated feeling useless and in the dark.
Brennan walked into the girls' room to find all three girls crying, but six-year-old Lydia crying the hardest.
"Hey, hey, sweetheart, what's wrong?" she asked gently, sitting on the edge of the bed.
The little girl shook her head violently, sending blonde curls flying. Brennan wrapped her arms around Lydia and pulled the girl into her lap. Lydia buried her head in Brennan's shoulder, still crying hysterically.
While rubbing Lydia's back, Brennan turned her attention to the twins, whose crying had quieted significantly. The brown-eyed twin had scooted herself all the way against the wall, and her face was twisted into an uncomfortable expression, while the grey-blue-eyed twin stared at the ground, seeming ashamed. It was the brown-eyed twin that spoke first.
"Lydia woke up screaming, and Ellie wet the bed," she stated bluntly
Brennan looked sympathetically at little Ellie, who sniffled before nodding her head to confirm her sister's story. Without letting go of the crying girl in her lap, Brennan reached out to ruffle the hair of the distraught three-year-old.
"It's okay, honey. It just startled you. Why don't you girls get a new pair of pajamas and go to the bathroom and clean up, okay? I'll be there in just a minute."
The twins nodded, gathered new clothes, and walked out of the room. Brennan refocused on Lydia, who had started hiccuping from crying so hard. "What happened, Lyd?" Brennan asked, stroking the girl's soft curls. "The nightmare again?"
Lydia pulled back and looked at Brennan, eyes still filled with tears. "It was the man, he came and tried to kill you and Ellie and Evie this time, and I was all alone with Liam again..." She burst into tears again. "I really miss Mommy and Daddy..."
"Shh, okay, it's alright, you're okay. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere," Brennan reassured her. "Do you want me to get you a glass of water for your hiccups?"
Lydia nodded, and Brennan began to let go of her, but Lydia only tightened her grip around Brennan's neck.
"No! Don't leave me!"
"Okay, honey, just let me go check on the girls, and then we'll get some water."
Brennan hoisted the girl onto her hip, and after checking on Ellie and Evie, who were now taking a bath.
As Brennan entered the living room to cross into the kitchen, Booth opened his mouth to ask what was going on, but she silence him with a slight shake of her head. Brennan opened her cabinet and got down a small glass and filled it with cold tap water.
"Here, sweetie, drink this."
Booth was amazed, and he felt his heart swell with pride at seeing his Bones interact with this upset little girl so lovingly. Even though he had no idea who the little girl was, it was clear to him that Bones loved her. She had changed so much while he was gone; she was wearing her emotions on her sleeve now, and he wondered what exactly she had gone through to get to this point. A small, worried voice broke up his train of thought, however, sending him into a panic.
"Tempe, why is there a man in your living room?"
Booth looked at Brennan apologetically, worried that he had scared the little girl. But Brennan just smiled back at him and spoke to the little girl.
"It's okay, Lyd. He's an old friend; he's a good man."
"Okay," Lydia said, accepting Brennan's vague explanation while finishing up the rest of her water. Brennan placed the glass in the sink before carrying Lydia back to the bedroom.
After about fifteen minutes, Brennan returned to the living room with a full laundry basket in her arms. She sat it down by the front door and walked back to the couch where Booth was once again sitting down. But this time he had grabbed the photo of Parker and the twins and was studying it closely. He looked up briefly when she walked into the room, and then again when she sat down next to him but soon returned his gaze to the photograph.
"That's Parker," he said softly. He turned to look at her again, and despite her limited people skills, she could see the question and emotion in his eyes.
"Where do you want me to start?"
"Well," he began, "You could begin by telling me who the four children are who seem to be living in your apartment. Who was the girl you you just carried in here? Why was she crying? What was going on back there?"
"That's Lydia. She had a nightmare and woke up screaming, and it scared Ellie so badly that she wet the bed..."
"So, who exactly is Lydia?" Booth hoped he didn't sound too pushy, but if he did, she either didn't notice, or didn't care.
"Liam is her little brother. They're my foster children."
"When did you get foster children?"
Brennan sighed and spoke softly as she began her story. "About a month ago. There was this FBI case, and I wasn't working it at first, but they specifically asked for my help, so I obliged. Their parents were brutally murdered for money while Liam cried in his crib and Lydia watched from a closet."
Booth watched a few stray tears ran down her face as she spoke. She hastily tried to wipe them away, but Booth wrapped and arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek where a tear was slowly sliding down her face.
"I just couldn't let them be put in the system. No one would understand what Lydia had been through. She's only six, and I just... I don't know... I figured she could fit in with Ellie and Evie, and I couldn't separate her from Liam, so I found myself saying I'd take them." She rested her head on Booth's shoulder. "It was pretty impulsive of me, wasn't it?"
"No. Not at all. Not at all." He pulled her in for a real hug - a "guy hug" as he'd once dubbed them. He was so proud of his Bones. She'd come a long way since he first met her. In the first year of their partnership, she had sworn she never wanted children. But now here she was, loving and taking care of four children. God, he loved this woman more and more every moment of his life.
"I'm proud of you, Bones. You know that? You're an incredible woman."
Brennan pulled back and looked at Booth and smiled, then shook her head. "I just... followed my heart, like you would have told me to do. I seem to be doing that a lot lately, actually." She examined his face and saw pride and love reflected in his eyes, despite how tired they looked. But she knew there was another question that he wasn't voicing. She knew what it was, but she had no idea how to bring up the subject or break the news to him. Booth beat her to it.
"So, Ellie and Evie? They're the twins in this picture with Parker, right? Are... They're your biological daughters, aren't they?" he questioned, hoping that he didn't sound too upset or paranoid. Her biological clock had made her desire a child before, and her rational self had wanted his sperm to accomplish that. Had she gotten some other guy's stuff, or a whole other man? She was taking way too long to respond, and he noticed that she was twisting her mother's ring around on her finger. For once in his life, Booth couldn't read her, and he was becoming more and more anxious. Then she spoke a single word.
"Our." She said it so quietly that he almost didn't hear her.
"What? Our what, Bones?"
She turned to her and pursed her lips. "Our daughters, Booth. Ellie and Evie are our biological daughters.
A/N #2: I know, I know... everyone saw it coming, and some have complained about Booth and Brennan always having a daughter in fanfics, but I truly believe that Hart Hanson and company would give them a baby girl, too. Booth already has Parker, and it would just balance out their family if they had a girl. May not be realistic, but these ARE fictional characters, after all. I also believe that the name Christine (after Brennan's mom) would find its way into their daughter's name somehow. Either that, or it would be a completely unconventional name, but I couldn't write something like that. It took me months to get over the fact that Brennan's first name was Temperance. :-p