Author's Note: Um, yeah. So, this happened.

"Those first tiny kicks can be felt in many different ways – anywhere."

She missed him. The entire apartment was different when he was away. After nearly a week of his absence, she'd had enough.

Tuesday morning when she awoke, she defiantly made a pot of coffee she had no intention of drinking, turned on the overhead light and two lamps in his bedroom and rummaged around in the drawers of his bathroom until she found his cologne. It wasn't the one he normally wore – of course it wasn't. He had his usual cologne in his dopp kit. The cologne she found, however, was familiar enough to do the trick. She sprinkled some on the hand towel on the counter until she was satisfied with the scent of the room.

Once things in the apartment seemed a little more familiar, she could feel the knot between her shoulders begin to relax. Thursday, she kept reminding herself. He'd be home on Thursday.

Halfway through her morning she huffed a frustrated sigh and sank into her desk chair. She'd told him she could take care of herself. He'd believed her. Now, she wasn't so sure she believed herself. Oh, sure she could perform all the basic functions. She could keep herself alive. She could get through her daily workload – and do a damn good job of it. But something he made her realize is that there's a lot more to life than merely living.

The ringing of her cell phone startled her out of her reverie. She glanced at the caller ID quickly and felt a bit more of the tension she'd been carrying since he'd left slip slowly away. "Booth," she said on a sigh, "hello."


He'd known being away from her wouldn't be easy. He'd come to relish the little things about their existence together – the way she hummed when she did laundry; the way she walked carefully across the apartment's hardwood floors when she was in heels so the clack-clacking heels didn't mar the wood; the sound of her voice when he first woke her up in the mornings; the soft, warm scent of her bedroom when he first pushed open the door. It was harder being away from her after having sat next to her on the couch and hearing her tell him she was ready for relationship he'd known was bearing down on them. Harder still after telling her he loved her and hearing her return the sentiment.

Harder even still when she answered her phone with the soft, breathy quality that told him she was feeling his absence in the same sharp way he was feeling the miles between them.

"Hey," he answered her softly in return. "How're you doing this morning?"

"I miss you," she said simply and it made his heart ache. He liked the softer side of her but when they were apart it would have been easier if she'd have been more of her usual distracted, busy sort of self.

"I miss you, too. Just two more days."

"How long will you be home?"

"Looks like about four days right now."

"So long?"

He heard the tinge of excitement in her voice and it made him smile. He was excited, too. Four days of her being unadulterated. With him. Damn right he was excited. "Four whole days, Bones. It'll be great."

"Is everything going okay?"

"Yeah. We're just trying to get our ducks in a row for Thursday."

"That's an idiom, right? You're not actually trying to put ducks in a row?"

He chuckled. He'd missed her literal interpretations. "No, no actual ducks."

"Well, I wouldn't be surprised," she said with a huff. "It's not like I have any idea what you're doing there."

"It's called undercover for a reason, Bones."

"You could be impersonating a zookeeper for all I know."

"You're the only zookeeper right now. How's the baby?"

She sighed and he couldn't help but smile. "I suppose he's fine. I feel fine and there's no sign of a problem."

"I'm glad to hear she's fine."

"We're not going to start this again, are we?"

"What? It's just a pronoun."

"You'd still rather have a girl, wouldn't you?"

"I'd like a girl, but there's no rather about it. We're going to have an amazing kid, Bones. It doesn't matter if we have a boy or a girl."

"You know we've got an appointment next week to find out the sex of the baby."

They did? Was it time for that already? And how could he have forgotten? "When's the appointment?"


He groaned.

"You're going to be in Idaho on Wednesday, aren't you?"

Great. She sounded pissed. "Well, it's not my fault."

"Well, it's not my fault, either."

"Can you move the appointment?"

"Doctor Ashbacher is a busy man, Booth."

"Yeah, well, so am I." He struggled to maintain his composure. "Is it not important to you that I be there for that? 'Cause it's damn sure important to me."

"It wouldn't be exciting enough if I were to tell you the sex of our baby? You've got to hear it from some stranger?" Her tone was pissy and it rubbed him the wrong way.

"No, dammit! I want to experience that with you! I want to see the look on your face when you find out what we're having. I want to be able to lean over and kiss you when they point out the fuzzy part of the screen that shows it's a girl. Or a boy," he rushed on when she started to protest. "I want to be there to use the word 'son' or 'daughter' in a sentence for the first time with certainty when I tell you I'm going to love both of you forever."

He could tell she'd started crying right at the same moment there was a none-too-subtle knocking at his door. Damn Krantz. Damn case. Stupid fucking Idaho. "Look, baby, I don't want to argue with you. I just wanted to be able to be there. I'm sorry I upset you." He pulled his hotel room door open and indicated the phone before Krantz could speak. "I'd love it if you could change the appointment – I really do want to be there."

"I want you to be there too," she said with a hiccup. "But it's not my fault you're not here."

He resisted the urge to yell at her. "It's not my fault I'm not there, either. This is my job, Brennan."

She gasped and he replayed what he said as if he had a tape recorder. Mother fucker, son of a bitch.

"You don't ever call me Brennan."

She was right. He didn't ever call her Brennan. But Krantz was making eyes at his wristwatch and shifting restlessly from one foot to the other. It was time to move. "Bones, look, I've got to go. We'll talk about this more later."

"Sure. Fine."

Shit. Why did she have to sound so distant? "I love you."

"I love you, too."

When he hung up he was sure she had, for the very first time, thrown those words at a person as a social convention rather than with true meaning. Which felt like ten giant leaps backwards considering he'd only just gotten her to say it and mean it.

He grabbed his wallet and gun off the dresser. "Are you ready?" he snapped at Krantz.

Krantz just grinned. "Yeah, Jenny was a real bear when she was pregnant, too. I couldn't keep my foot out of my mouth from the moment she told me she was pregnant until the moment she delivered. Or since, come to think of it."

Booth couldn't help but glare at him. "I asked if you were ready, not for the four o'clock Dr. Phil message of the day."

Krantz chuckled, "Yeah, man, I'm ready."


Later that evening when she stood at the sink washing the dinner dishes, she wondered how that conversation had gone downhill so quickly. She'd half expected him to call her back all day. She puttered around for the rest of the evening and she couldn't recall ever having done something that qualified as "puttering". Finally, at eleven o'clock she decided that waiting for him to call was really about as passive aggressive as she was willing to get and picked up the land line extension on her desk to dial his number.

She hadn't even started to dial when it rang in her hand, startling her. She waited until the second ring and the caller ID scrolled his cell number across the small window.

"I'm so sorry," she answered the phone in a rush.

"Dr. Brennan?" an unfamiliar voice asked.

"Who is this?" she demanded as fear prickled across her shoulder blades.

"It's Ted Krantz, Dr. Brennan."

"I was just about to call Booth. Is everything all right?"

"Well," he hemmed and she could have screamed at him to get on with the point, "he was…injured tonight. He's going to be fine," he rushed on.

"Injured how?" she asked as she sank down into her desk chair.

"Honestly?" the man asked as if she'd actually want him to make something up. "In a bar fight."

She could practically see the sheepishness on his face even though she'd never met him. "In a bar fight?" She paused for his answer but it wasn't forthcoming. He seemed to believe she was being rhetorical. Moron. "Exactly how injured is he?"

"His cheekbone is fractured. And he needs stitches in a few places – he's actually with a nurse now."

"His cheekbone?" she scoffed. "His zygomatic or the maxilla?"

He fumbled for words, "I don't know."

"Well, in the future, cheekbone is entirely less than descriptive, Agent Krantz."

She could hear Booth, then, in the background. "It was my zygomatic. Tell her that. She'll want to know."

He chuckled and it irritated her. "Did you catch that?"

"Yes. I did. Exactly how undercover can you be if you're calling me from the hospital?"

"This isn't strictly protocol, Dr. Brennan, but Booth was pretty sure you'd be pissed if he waited to tell you."

"I'm not sure 'pissed' is the word I would have used," she muttered. "Is he available to speak?"

He laughed outright that time. "While a nurse is threading a needle through his face? Not likely."

She decided she didn't like the man at all. "Clearly he's capable of speaking, Agent Krantz. Please put him on."

The man sighed aggrievedly. "I'll put him on speaker, Dr. Brennan."

"Hey, Bones." he said with a bit of tired humor in his voice. "Don't be mad. That's why I had him call."

"I'm sorry to say it didn't quite work, then. A bar fight, Booth?"

"Things got a little rowdy tonight."

"Please tell me you were undercover while this happened and not just sitting around having a drink."

"Would that make it better?" he sounded genuinely confused.

"I would prefer to think it's your undercover character that engages in bar brawls rather than you."

He sighed, his good humor gone. "Yeah, Bones, it was my undercover 'character'." She could practically hear the air quotes he'd thrown around the word.

"Are you still coming home on Thursday?"

There was a rustling on his end of the line and she pictured him shifting restlessly on the hospital bed. "Yeah. Did you call Dr. Ashbacher's office?"

"Yes. There were no open appointments for Monday."

He sighed. "Yeah. Okay. Look, the painkillers are doing a number on me. I'll call you tomorrow."

The tone of his voice made her feel like she'd done something horribly wrong. "Okay."

"Get some rest, huh?"

"You too."

"'Night, Bones."

"Goodnight," she said and hung up after the dial tone sounded in her ear. She was crawling into bed before she realized he hadn't told her he loved her before he disconnected. She was pretty new to ending conversations that way but she was fairly certain it was a bad sign.


Booth groaned when his alarm shook him out of a deep sleep. His face hurt like a sonuvabitch and he had to piss like a race horse. He rolled out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom. When he flicked on the light it made him squint which made his cheek throb so he shut it back off. He relieved himself in what he remembered to be the general direction of the toilet but he couldn't be sure – it was so damn dark in the little room.

His mind flashed to the events of the previous evening. Drinks with the suspects at Maury's. Bar fight with some big-ass-motherfucker who slammed his face into the bar. Hospital. Stitches. Phone call to Bones. He didn't remember much of it but he had a feeling it wasn't a good conversation since he had the nagging feeling he needed to call her and that he needed to do it soon.


She'd waited up until one for him to call but the call never came. Some irrational part of her also had her throwing her phone down three words into a quick text. He'd call when he called and she'd be mad until then. Thursday dawned and she was tired and irritable from a lack of sleep. The baby fluttered around in her womb and she realized she'd actually been feeling it for several days before she'd figured out what it was.

She ached to tell Booth. But she'd wait. He'd call when he could. And anyway, he'd be back that evening. Some time. It occurred to her she'd never actually asked him when his plane would be landing. Or whether or not he wanted her to pick him up.

She'd known relationships were difficult and confusing. She'd been in several over the years – though she wouldn't classify any of them as serious as the relationship she had with Booth. She'd never imagined, though, that things would get so complicated within a week of starting a relationship.

After she'd gone through the motions of most of her day, she opened minesweeper and started playing just so she could take her mind off things – something she rarely felt inclined to do.

Then, after more games than she could count, her phone rang. She glanced at the caller ID and saw Booth's name. Her heart, she would have sworn it, skipped a beat. "Booth?"

"It's eight o'clock. Where are you?"

She looked down at the clock on her computer's desktop. "It's eight? Already?"

"Yeah, it's eight. I'm home and you're not."

"When did you get in?"

"About fifteen minutes ago. I thought you'd be here. Are you on your way?" Wow, was he in a mood.

"Yes, I am," she said, yanking on her sweater while shutting down her computer."

She heard him take a deep breath and she hoped it was a calming one. She had no desire to spend the evening him while he behaved less like the man she loved and more like a bear with a thorn in its paw. "I'm sorry, Bones. I'm in a crappy mood and I'm taking it out on you." He dropped his voice. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you, too." She hurried out of the Jeffersonian into the parking garage. "I'll stop by the Indian place and get dinner. Why don't you take a hot shower and get comfortable. Settle in a little. I'm sure you'll feel better then."

"I bet I will." Finally, he sounded a little more like himself.

"And I've got good news."


"Yeah. I'll share it with you when I get home."

"I'm looking forward to it."

By the time she got home, though, she realized she hadn't felt the baby move in hours. She'd so wanted to be able to press his hand against her belly and watch the look of wonder dawn across his face. Well, it was early yet. She set the food down on the counter in the kitchen and turned just in time to watch him walk into the room.

She gasped and her hands flew up to cover her mouth. He looked awful. "Oh, god, Booth." She strode forward and reached gentle fingertips out to brush against the angry purple that splotched across his cheek. He had stitches at his hairline, across the worst part of the bruise on his cheek and near his jaw line.

"It's not as bad as it looks," he demurred.

She seriously doubted that. She spared him a pained glance and rose up onto her toes to place a light kiss against his uninjured cheek. "It looks pretty bad."

"Nothing time and some pain killers won't fix." He wrapped his arms around her waist. "And what kind of greeting is that, anyway? A kiss on the cheek? I've been gone over a week."

The grin he shot at her spread up to his eyes in a wince despite his valiant effort to hide his pain. She pressed a tender kiss to his lips anyway and gasped when he tugged her firmly against him, slanted his mouth over hers and coaxed her mouth open so he could kiss her properly.

She lost herself in him as his tongue flicked against hers then traced the tips of her incisors. He tasted just right to her, despite the slightly bitter undertones that told her he'd recently taken another dose of his medications. He felt just right, too, warm and solid against her. She'd been worried about something. Upset, even. But she was hard pressed to remember why as she fisted her hands in his shirt and gave back as good as she got on a kiss that made her pulse thrum her with a speed that threatened to make her lightheaded.

She reached up to place a palm on his cheek and he hissed into her mouth. She jerked back from him – she'd inadvertently pressed against his injured zygomatic. "Oh, Booth, I'm so sorry."

"Shh," he whispered and kissed her again.

But as he deepened the kiss she could feel him wince. "Booth," she said against his mouth, "we're going to hurt you."

He pulled back from her and looked her in the eyes. His mouth pulled into another grin – but that one was more calculated and didn't cause him the pain the last one had. "I think it's worth it."

She tutted. "It's worth it that you heal and that we don't have to hold back once you do."

"God, I missed you."

"I missed you, too." She turned from him and started pulling take-out cartons from the bag she'd set on the counter.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

She sighed. What was wrong, indeed? How could she explain how... off...she'd been feeling since he left? Did she even want to admit that she'd been feeling strange? What sort of power, exactly, would that give him if she did?

After several moments of deliberation she chose the easy way out. She pasted a bright smile on her face, turned to him and said, "Nothing. Nothing's wrong."

He looked at her as if he didn't believe her for a minute. Could he feel the crackle of strangeness in the air, too? He studied her a moment longer then finally said, "So you said you had good news?"

"Oh!" A genuine smile spread across her face and she turned to him again, abandoning the food. "I felt the baby move."

The smile that cracked his face that time was so large she was sure it was causing him pain but the delighted look in his eyes left no room for a wince of pain. As if by its own accord his hand shot out to rest on her belly. "You did? When?"

She nodded. "I figured it out today, but I think I've been able to feel it for several days."

His hand pressed harder against her and then he moved it to one side then the other before a look of disappointment clouded his eyes. "I can't feel her."

She shook her head. "I haven't felt her in hours. So far she's been most active in the mornings."

His hand jerked back from her stomach and he pointed at her accusingly. "You said 'her'."

"So?" Why would that be accusatory? They'd been swapping back and forth between pronouns for the entire length of her pregnancy. Granted, she usually opted for the masculine pronouns, but what did it really matter?

"So did you go to the doctor without me?"

"What?" What was he talking about? Then it dawned on her – he was afraid she'd gone ahead and seen Dr. Ashbacher and had the baby sexed since he was going to miss their original appointment anyway. "Booth, no! Of course I didn't. I called them back again today and asked to be put on the waiting list for Monday, just in case. But I promise I haven't gone without you."

He looked into her eyes as if he could verify the truth within them. Whatever he saw must have satisfied him because he finally said, "Yeah, okay," and turned to rifle through the food on the counter.

She laid a hand on his arm. "I wouldn't have done that. I know the appointment has caused a little friction between us. But Booth, I wouldn't have done that to you."

He looked at her and smiled. "I know, Bones."

She nodded. "Good."


He couldn't shake the feeling that something was off and he was pretty sure it was his fault. He'd had his head all over the place with the case, with missing her, and then with painkillers. He was on some pretty good stuff and he had to fight to stay not only awake but coherent. He'd known he was coming home to her so he'd been on slow burn for days knowing that he could finally make love to her. Then with the painkillers came the realization that he probably wouldn't be able to make love to her – not until he was able to lower his dose a little, anyway.

He was feeling guilty for leaving her. He was feeling guilty for blowing his top over the doctor's appointment when he knew she'd never purposely set out to exclude him.

He wasn't feeling at all like himself and he didn't like it.

That night, after they'd eaten and she'd had an opportunity to shower and change into comfortable clothing they sat together on the couch – she with a book and a glass of ice water, he with a basketball game and a beer she'd fought him over when she found out exactly what sort of meds he was on. He didn't figure one beer was going to hurt and he'd told her so. That had gone over like a lead balloon. What a great way to spend his first night back.

So he extended a peace offering. "Look, I know I'm not going to be able to make it to the next appointment with you, but you need to go and make sure things are shaping up good with the baby."

She marked her page with her index finger and dropped her book into her lap. "Okay?"

"So I was thinking that maybe we don't find out what we're having."

"We don't find out? You mean right now?"

He shook his head. "I mean at all. Let's be surprised when you deliver." He'd expected her to disagree immediately and was ready to compromise about just waiting until later. But then, a smile tugged at the corners of her lips.

"I think I'd like to be surprised."


She considered it. "Yes."

"That means nothing pink or blue. No frilly little themed baby shower with gender-specific gifts. You're okay with that?"

"Yes. I am."

He couldn't help but chuckle. "Really?"

"Are you going to keep asking me that?"

"No." He leaned over and pressed both their smiling lips into a gentle kiss. He leaned back and threaded his fingers through her hair. "I'm happy."

"Me, too."

"Really?" he teased.

She huffed exasperatedly but with a grin on her face.

He sobered a little. "Look, Bones, I'm sorry for the way I've been acting the last few days. It's just as hard on me being gone as it is on you being left alone."

"We don't quite feel like us, do we?"

"Not really, no."

"Is it because I told you I was ready for a relationship? Had you changed your mind? Are you not ready right now?"

"What? No!" How could she think that? "Bones, I love you. I've wanted you like this for as long as I can remember. Just, as usual, our timing sucks."

"Would you like to wait, then, until you're done with this assignment and back home for good?"

"Wait to be in a relationship with you?" He waited for her uncertain nod. "Not a chance. I want to be with you. Now. In the future. For the next thirty five years." He waited for her smile. "But let's try to cut each other a little slack. We're going to have to grow into the change a little."

She shifted until she was curled up against his side with head tucked into his shoulder. "That sounds very reasonable."

"So, are we okay?"

She squeezed his thigh with a warm hand. "Yes. We're okay."


Shortly after their conversation his eyelids began drooping as he was loosing the battle with his medication over wakefulness. She'd pulled him up off the couch and ushered him down the hall towards the bedroom. The light in his room caught her attention. On his bed were his bags. Oh. She'd fully considered they'd be sharing a bedroom once their relationship had changed. Perhaps she was wrong. She glanced at his face – he was practically asleep on his feet. It wasn't the time to discuss it with him.

So, she steered him into his bedroom, carefully set his bags on the floor at the foot of the bed and pulled back the blankets for him. He snuggled down into the bed, mewled like a kitten when she kissed his forehead, and was asleep before she'd even turned off his bedside lamp.

Well, so much for the exciting night of his return.


Friday night, after watching a kid-friendly movie and television and putting Parker to bed, Booth went to bed in his own room again. She lay in her bed, stewing. It had been a long day. He'd been busy at the bureau, she'd been busy at the lab, and by six o'clock they'd been sitting at the dinner table with a more-chatter-y-than-usual Parker. After dinner she'd cleaned the kitchen while Booth entertained Parker and then by eight they'd been staring at the television at a movie she couldn't even begin to describe the plot of.

She hadn't felt the baby move all evening and she'd been excited to share that with him. It seemed, though, that their baby preferred an audience of one.

Then she came full circle, back to Booth going to bed in his own room. She should have just said something to him about it but with Parker right there next to them it just never seemed the time. Then, almost as soon as he'd turned out Parker's light, he'd gone to bed himself.

She knew the painkillers made him tired, but so tired he couldn't have a private conversation with her all day?

Then, the baby moved. She felt the fluttering in her stomach and pressed her hand hard against the bump. Yes, she could feel it from the outside. She debated for several minutes about whether or not she should wake Booth up. Finally she decided on 'yes'.

In his room, though, she nearly changed her mind. He was sleeping soundly and snoring loudly. Perhaps she shouldn't be too upset about his choosing to sleep in his own room. She thought back to the several times he'd pressed his hand against her belly hoping to feel their child and her mind was made up.

She sat down on the edge of his bed and put a light hand on his shoulder. "Booth?" When there was no response she nudged him a little. "Booth?" When still there was no response she whomped him soundly on the shoulder, "Booth!"

He awoke with a jolt. "What's wrong? Is it Parker?"

"No," she soothed with a light chuckle, "it's the baby. She's kicking."

As his eyes lit up she realized, though, that the baby hadn't moved since she'd gotten up out of bed. "Well, she was kicking." She reached for his hand and placed it on her belly. "Right here."

"I can't feel anything." The look of disappointment on his face was almost comical.

"Just give her a minute. I don't think she likes it when I'm moving around."

His face softened until she finally, for the first time since he'd been home, felt like she had her Booth back. "Were you in bed when you felt her?"


"Maybe she likes to dance while you're lying down."


After she stared at him owlishly for a moment he heaved an exasperated sigh. "Then why don't you lie down?"

"Oh." She turned to lie down next to him – on top of the blankets.

"Wow, you're desperate to not be in bed with me, aren't you?"

She looked at him sharply. "What?"

"It's the middle of the night, Bones, and you won't just get into bed with me. Why not?"

"Me? You're the one who wanted to sleep here alone?"

"When did I say that?"

"Last night!" He quirked an eyebrow at her and she realized he hadn't actually said that. "Well, you put your bags in here."


"So, this is your room and you put your bags in here."

"Again, so?"

"Well, I just assumed that meant you wanted to continue using this room."

"You know what they say about assuming?" She blinked at him and he chuckled. "Never mind. It was force of habit, babe. Of course I'd rather be sleeping with you. I thought you didn't want to be sleeping with me considering you put me in here last night."

She couldn't help but laugh. "We've been a bit of a mess lately, haven't we?"

"As it turns out, talking is pretty good for a relationship."

"And we haven't done much talking lately, have we?"

He caressed her belly gently. "No."

"You know," she said softly, "my bed is bigger. And much more comfortable than this one."

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" His grin made her tingle in all sorts of interesting places.

"I'm thinking you should come to bed with me."

He flung back the covers and nearly leapt out of bed. "That's exactly what I was thinking."

He was halfway to her room when before she'd even made it out of his and she couldn't help but laugh. And by the time she got to her door he was already tucking himself in comfortably to the side of the bed she never used. He patted the empty space next to him. "Now come lie down already so I can feel the zookeeper move."

She did. She happily did. But half an hour later he'd fallen asleep with his hand on her stomach waiting for their baby to move again – which she never did.


When he woke up the next morning, his arm was asleep. Sometime in the night they'd changed positions until he was lying on his back and she was using his upper arm as a pillow. She had a leg thrown over one of his and a hand on his chest and the sweet curve of her pregnant belly pressed into his ribs.

Now that was more like it. He'd been waiting months to go to bed with her. Granted he'd always anticipated more sex and less sleeping when he finally got her into bed – but beggars can't be choosers.

The pins and needles in his hand forced him into action, though, and she mewled discontentedly as he jostled her head back onto the pillow. He raised his arm into the air and flexed his hand a few times hoping for better blood flow and she took the opportunity to slide closer in to him and tuck her head up on his shoulder under his chin.

Bones was a cuddler. How about that? He flashed back to a moment on the pull out couch in her living room when they were lying very much the way they were at the moment. To a moment when she pressed the needy parts of her body into him and searched for relief. In mere seconds he was as hard as he could ever remember being. She'd been warm and willing in his arms for just moments that time. She was warm in his arms this time, too – but was she as willing? He certainly wasn't going to molest her in her sleep – at least not before they'd actually slept together for the first time.

And then he felt it – a tiny pressure against his ribs. It left and then returned before quickly leaving again. Bones made a slight sound and her hand drifted down to press against her belly but she didn't awaken. And suddenly he realized what he was feeling.

"Bones," he whispered against her forehead before pressing a kiss there, "wake up." She stirred but still slept. He eased her over until she was lying on her back and ran his hand from the crest of her belly to the place slightly on her right that had been pressed against him. Then, against the flat of the palm, he felt the tiny strike. "Bones," he urged again. He tried kissing her again, this time against the shell of hear.

She hummed and her lips turned up into a smile. "Mmmm. Morning."

"I can feel the baby kick," he said with excitement."

She opened her eyes and he was momentarily taken aback by the softness there. And then, almost instantly, he watched recognition dawn. "You did?" Her hand flew down to join his. She pressed him further into her belly – so hard he'd never have pushed so hard on his own and in a way that made him flash back many weeks to the moment she she'd first pressed his hand against the tiny knot within her that would eventually become this moment – and the tiny kicks he could feel were suddenly strong against him.

"Wow," he breathed with reverence as his eyes drifted down to take in the tableau of her rounded belly and their tangled hands, "that's amazing."

"It is, isn't it?"

He looked back up at her and she looked so…perfect. Her skin was flushed pink from sleep and the heat of his skin. Her hair was a wild riot of waves. Her eyes were bright and shining and he just couldn't help himself – he moved to kiss her.

And as their lips fused together he was suddenly reminded he no longer had to check the impulse to kiss her. Or to touch her. She was his. Finally.

As the kiss deepened and turned from something celebratory into something much more heated, baby elephant-like footsteps thundered down the hall. Booth groaned into Brennan's mouth. "He has really bad timing."

Bones smiled against his lips. "At least he knocks," she points out as Parker's footfalls stop and knuckles rapping against wood take their place.

"C'mon in, bud." Booth called as he moved to lie next to Bones rather than hovering over her.

Parker eased the door open and poked his head into the room. "You are in here."

Booth nodded. "I am."

"I can come in?" the boy verifies and waits until he gets a smile and nod from both adults.

"If you come quickly you can feel the baby kick," Bones put in.

That seemed to spur him into action because not only did he enter but he catapulted himself onto the bed. "Where do I put my hand?" he asked Brennan excitedly.

Bones took his wrists and guided his hand to her belly. The baby kicked against Parker's hand and the boy's face just lit up in the way Booth had only ever seen it do for soccer. "Cool," the kid exclaimed with reverence.

"Yes," Brennan nodded as her face split into a wide grin. "It is cool, isn't it?"

Booth took a moment to soak it all in. This was his life now. This woman, his son, his soon to be newborn, all piled in on a Saturday morning. He couldn't help himself so he shared, "I love you guys, you know?"

Parker just rolled his eyes and smiled slightly. "We know, dad."


Somewhere between meeting Booth and Parker at the Royal Diner for lunch after church, and pulling the rest of Booth's laundry out of the dryer, Brennan realized their time was up. Booth was headed back to Idaho in a little over an hour and she wouldn't see him for another week. The whole situation was awful. She was nineteen weeks pregnant. She was newly in a relationship. The last thing she wanted was to send him back out into the fray with people who broke his face. And yet, she thought as she folded another pair of boxers, that is precisely what she had to do.

Between his injuries, their slight misunderstanding, and having Parker for the weekend, their first few nights as a couple hadn't gone quite the way she'd expected. She sighed and hoisted the folded stack of laundry off the dryer and headed towards the living room where his open duffle bag sat on the coffee table.

She'd just put the last of his clothes into the bag, zipped it and set it by the door when he came bursting in. "Damn it!"

"Booth, what's wrong?"

He looked down at his watch. "I've got to be on a plane in an hour."

"I know."

"I've got to pack. I'm sorry, babe. I thought this weekend would go differently."

"You don't have to pack."

He seemed flummoxed by her fixation on that part of his statement. "Uh, why not?"

She gestured at the bag. "You're packed."

"So you mean we've got an honest to goodness hour to ourselves?"

"Just you and me."

He grinned. "Yeah. Just you and me."

Which was, of course, the moment his cell phone rang.

She was so disappointed she didn't want to stay in the room while he talked. She busied herself in the kitchen while he has an increasingly loud conversation with someone she can only assume was Cullen. Suddenly the angry timbre of his voice was gone and she realized his conversation must be over.

When he joined her in the kitchen he looked chagrined, disappointed, and not just a little pissed. "You're not going to believe this."

"Cullen needs you do go by the bureau for some reason or another on your way to the airport?"

"You heard?"

"No. But I am woman of above average intelligence. And also am, apparently, incredibly unlucky. Therefore, it was the logical conclusion."

"You know I really am sorry, right?"

"Booth." She crossed the room so she could wrap her arms around him. "It is true, this weekend didn't go exactly how I planned it. But you were here, you are safe, we spent a couple of fantastic days with your son, and you got to feel the baby kick. What more could I have asked for?"

"Oh, I don't know," he replied drolly, "sex?"

"We'll have sex next time."

"Oh, you better believe we will. Twice even."

"I'd hope more than twice."

He groaned into her neck and pressed a hot kiss against her skin. "You are beautiful and I love you."

"I love you, too. And now it's time for you to go."

He backed away from her slowly. "Yeah. Okay."

At the front door he picked up his bag. "I've got everything?"

"Everything you came with is back in that bag."


"Be safe, Booth."

"You too."

"I'm not worried about me."

"I am, always." He took a long, hard look at her, swept his eyes over her face then down to her belly, then held her eye until her breath caught. "I'll be home soon."

All she could do was nod and then he was gone.


By Monday evening whatever peace she'd found regarding Booth's abrupt departure and their abbreviated weekend had fled. She found herself wandering around the apartment and daydreaming about his return. And Temperance Brennan, well, she just didn't daydream.

She hadn't heard from him since he'd left and calls to both his cell phone and hotel room went unanswered. She wasn't worried. Not really. It stood to reason that if something had happened to him she'd have been notified. Unless… perhaps Cullen was unaware of their change in relationship status. However, she'd been his emergency contact for quite sometime. Although, it was possible something had happened to him and the FBI didn't yet know about it.

It was at that point she started making vigilant phone calls to Booth on the hour and half hour. It was nearly eleven o'clock when he finally answered.

"You know, Bones, you make it damned hard to be undercover."

"You're alive."

"What? Of course I'm alive."

"Forgive me for my surprise, Booth, but it's been almost thirty hours since you left."

"I don't call…I don't write…"

"Damn it, Booth. Don't be glib."

"Jeez. You're really upset, aren't you?"

"I find that I'm having a strong emotional reaction to your absence."

"I feel like we're about to fight again. And we had such a nice weekend."

She didn't really have anything to say to that. They had had a nice weekend. And, if the conversation kept up the way it had so far then yes, they were about to fight again.

"We really do better when we talk. I thought we'd ironed this part out."

"It's hard to talk when you don't answer the phone."

"You understand I'm working, right? That I'm not on some vacation somewhere knocking back umbrella drinks and playing shuffle board?"

"Of course I understand you're working."

"Then what's really going on here?"

"What if something happens to you?"

"Nothing's going to happen to me, Bones. Krantz and I are safe as houses."

"You know that's not true. And I'm insulted you'd think I'd be so naïve as to believe that."

"Okay. Then how about we're being as careful as we can be? We're going to get our guy so I can come home. But to do that I've got to work while I'm here. And as much as I'd like to, I can't pick up the phone every time you call. And I'm not necessarily going to be able to talk to you every day."

"But you'll be talking to somebody everyday, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"You check in with someone from the FBI every day, don't you?"

"Well, yeah."

"And what happens if you don't check in?"

"Then they come find me, Bones. I'm not left out here alone."

"And someone will call me, right?"

"If I don't check in?"




"Easy there, Bones. The FBI doesn't immediately start notifying family when agents miss one check in."


"What is it?"

She had a tough time continuing the thought though she wasn't completely sure why.

"Bones, baby, what is it?"

"The FBI…do they think of me as your family?"

"Oh," he says on a long sigh. "That's what this is about?"


"Bones, I don't know how to break it to you, but you've been my next of kin for over three years."


"Yeah. So if something happens – and it's a long shot, you've gotta know – they'll call you. You'll be the first to know."

"Okay, then."

"So you feel better?"

"I think I do."


And it was good. As they continued to chat about things of little consequence she felt the knots in her belly, the ones she hadn't even really been aware of, begin to smooth out. And by the time she crawled into bed and his smooth voice bid her goodnight she thought, perhaps, tomorrow might be a better day. Because they were family. And the important people knew.

Now, on with business… I'm not sure how quickly an update will happen again; I've got a WIP in progress for another fandom and I'm back in school (was I in film school last time I was here? Can't remember, but I am – for screenwriting). I am rolling on this one again, though, so it's safe to assume it'll see its completion. I'm just not certain I'll be able to update it on a regular schedule.

(Yes, I started watching the show again. No, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch Season 8 and I'll likely not watch Season 9 for a while. But I've started watching again, and so here I am. I always sort of thought I'd get my mojo back if I could find my love for the series again. And, for me, the answer is to pretend – for now, at least – that Seasons 7-9 don't exist. And, not for nothing, but this story started WAY back during Season 5. So for the purposes of this story, let's just say that anything past the second half of the fifth season is just toast. Okay? Now on with the show!)

Also, there are couple of really wonderful writer buddies who gently poked and prodded for this and even took it reasonably well when I said it was done and done for good – I didn't tell you it was coming on purpose. Surprise. ;-) Love you gals!