A/N You don't have to say it. Believe me, I know. All I can do is tell you I'm sorry and offer my undying gratitude for sticking with me. My problem is that I'm very inconsistent about writing – I can write 5 pages in an afternoon, then the next day I'll open it up again and just stare blankly at it. Then I get stressed because I think 'I should be writing!' and that makes it worse. But I randomly thought tonight, 'you know what, I feel like taking another crack at this', and that's what I did! Just sat down and finished off all the bits that needed doing – and of course, now I'm sat here wondering why I couldn't do this months ago. But hey, that's life.
I think this will be my last Bones story – well, this and the one-shot that will just not get out of my head and onto the page. I only watch the show now out of morbid curiosity – it's like driving past a car crash. I don't want to look, but I need to know what happens. So, with that total lack of inspiration, it's hard to write. That's also part of the reason for my hiatus. But you know what, it feels really good to finally finish this.
She had decided in that moment that she wanted to adopt Joey, to be a parent to him. She knew that she could make a difference in this boy's life – not just by being there for him and loving him, but by being able to give him access to medical treatment and schools that he would never have a chance to utilize if left in the foster system. His life had started with abandonment and prejudice, and she wanted to do everything she could to make sure he would never have to face either of those things ever again. She knew deep down that she would never be able to fully shelter him from anything, but she felt compelled to try.
As Booth stood outside his wife's front door the next morning, fumbling to get his key into the lock while juggling a bag of groceries in his other hand, he could hear what sounded like frantic shushing coming from her hallway, then the sound of her unlocking the door.
"Can't you do anything quietly?" she asked, kissing his cheek and closing the door softly behind him.
"Sorry," he whispered, taking the bag into the kitchen for her while looking around for the baby they were keeping so quiet for. "Where is he?"
"The bedroom, hopefully sleeping. Unfortunately, he seems to be nocturnal."
Booth laughed and shook his head. "They all are."
"Do you want to see him?" He nodded and she led him towards the bedroom, pressing her fingers to her lips as she opened the door. They both crept into the room then stood over Joey's crib, watching the newborn stare back at them. "Still awake. But he's what people would describe as 'cute', right?"
He was quiet for a moment, staring intently at him, and then he turned to Temperance. "He's definitely cute. And a troublemaker!" he added, tickling Joey's stomach.
They stood watching him for a few more minutes, then went back to the living room. They sat together on the sofa, talking about nothing in particular, and after a while Temperance got up to check on Joey. "I think it's time for you to go," she said when she came back.
"Worried about the social workers checking up on us, huh?"
"Don't pretend you're not enjoying your nights of freedom!"
"I've only just got used to getting to wake up next to you every morning." He pretended to be hurt as she laughed at his childish pouting. "But it's not like we'll be apart for a long time. You said yourself, he's only here until they find him somewhere else."
"About that… I was thinking that we could take him. Permanently."
"There's quite a difference between looking after a baby for three days and for the rest of your life." When she rolled her eyes at him and began unpacking the groceries he had brought, he continued. "Let's be honest, Joey has a disability, he's probably going to need to be cared for… well, forever. That's a big commitment. Are you sure it's something we're ready for? I mean, I know we work well as a team, but don't you think we should wait a little while?"
"You're a father, you've done all this before. Do you think I wouldn't be able to handle it?"
"No, it's not that, I just think it's something that needs more consideration than a few hours. I mean, what about work? We need to take a few more days to make a decision."
"I understand your words, but the way you say them makes me think you're not as sure about this as I am."
"I'm just saying, this is different than when Parker was a baby. Taking care of Joey is going to be different than taking care of a normal child."
She stared at him for what seemed like forever, and he thought for one terrible second that he had never seen her look at anyone so coldly before, not even murderers or rapists. Then she finally spoke, very carefully and deliberately, as if she was choosing her words with purpose. "I see. What you're saying is that you wouldn't have a problem with us fostering him if he was 'normal'." She practically spat the word at him, clutching a pack of kitchen towels to her chest as if that was all that kept her from launching herself at her husband.
"That's not what I meant!"
"You've said yourself plenty of times that I'm not normal – are you going to abandon me in a few years as well?"
He started to speak, but decided that he would only make things worse. "I have to get going if I'm going to beat the traffic. We'll talk about it later, alright."
"I won't forget."
Joey's lack of sleep at night meant he spent most of the daytime sprawled on his back in his collapsible crib, snoring softly. Temperance had hoped to get some work done to make the most of the quiet time, but soon realized that all the files she needed were neatly stacked on her desk where she had left them on Friday night, with the intention that she wouldn't be returning until Monday. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, she was bored of sitting in silence trying desperately not to disturb her sleeping baby. It was then that she decided to risk waking him up by putting him in his car seat and taking him on his first trip to the Jeffersonian.
As she pulled into her designated parking spot in front of the building, she couldn't help but wonder what people would think when she walked in with Joey – it was Sunday, but people would still be there working. She had rushed into a spontaneous marriage on a whim, and now it would appear to them that she had done the same thing again – coming in to work after an absence and announcing that she now had a baby, just like when she and Booth returned from Las Vegas. The only difference this time was that it would be difficult for this to be kept hidden for long.
She hadn't spoken to anyone since the family dinner on Friday night, not because she was avoiding them, but because her weekend had been a little hectic. Eventually she had just switched her phone off, since all the shrill ringing seemed to do was upset Joey or wake him up when he was trying to sleep.
As Temperance walked into her office, Angela jumped up out of the swivel chair behind the desk.
"I didn't have time to put together a proper baby shower, but I got you a present anyway." She handed Temperance a gift bag and lifted Joey out of the carrier, immediately making faces at him.
"How did you know about Joey?"
"I called Booth when you didn't answer your phone. He wasn't very talkative, but he told me all the details. He's super cute."
"I meant the baby! I'm married…" she replied with a wink.
"I might not be for much longer," Temperance sighed, sitting down on the sofa and handing Angela Joey's favourite pacifier.
"I want to adopt Joey. Booth doesn't think it's a good idea."
"I feel like I've stepped into the Twilight Zone…"
"I used to watch that show with Max, but I don't see the significance here."
"It's like you two have switched personalities – its Booth who's spontaneous and all about emotions and feelings, and you're the level-headed one who weighs up a situation before acting. But Joey seems to have changed all that, because now you've suddenly decided that you want to be a mother and Booth is being the sensible one."
"Do you think I'm being irrational?"
"You know I'm all about heart," she smiled, looking fondly at Joey. "And I can see how you've totally been entranced by this little guy. I'm just worried that you're rushing into this without having time to really know if motherhood is going to suit you. You've had him for a weekend!"
Temperance sighed and rubbed her eyes wearily. She was tired and really didn't feel like having a meaningful conversation right now. "I'm just worried that if I don't rush into it, I'll change my mind. Like with getting married. If we hadn't been inebriated, it would never have happened. Sweets seems to think I need to be spontaneous to get what I really want."
"Well, I think you'll kick ass at being a mom, just like you kick ass at being a wife." She heard her friend scoff, and added, "We all saw it on Friday, you two make it work. You'll sort this out, and be a happy little family, just like I know you want deep down."
"It's not going to be that easy."
"Booth would be more than happy to raise a child with me, but only if we can have a 'normal' child. He doesn't want this one." She looked down at Joey sadly, wondering how it was possible for her to go from being single to being married, then to a single mother in a matter of months.
"Did he actually say that?"
"It was the way he said it."
Angela looked at her pointedly. "Since when have you been any good at interpreting things like that?"
They didn't stay at the Jeffersonian for long before they headed back to Temperance's apartment – Joey was beginning to show signs of tiredness, much to her relief, and she wanted to get him home before he was overtired and too frustrated to fall asleep.
She had just put him down in her bedroom when she head a soft knocking on her front door. She crept across the living room as quickly and quietly as she could, and opened it to see her husband standing opposite her.
"What are you doing here?"
"We said we were going to talk later – this is later, " he replied as if it should be obvious to her.
"Look, Joey is finally sleeping, so I really don't want to argue with you right now."
"I'm not here to argue, alright, I just want to explain. What I said before was wrong. I was just taken by surprise – I didn't think you were ready for us to have a family of our own."
"I didn't think I was, either. But I also didn't think I was ready for marriage, and look how that turned out."
He smiled and pulled her into a hug. Before she could say anything, the doorbell rang, and she found herself rolling her eyes again, praying for the chiming not to be followed by Joey crying. Booth opened the door to find Joey's social worker, Collette, standing on the other side.
"I was just leaving…" He said, ushering her inside and picking up his coat from where he had slung it on the back of a chair.
"No need," she replied with a smile. "I've got some good news, Dr. Brennan – the paperwork has all been put through, fast-tracked because of the high security clearance you both have, and your husband can move back in."
"What paperwork?" she asked, looking between Booth and the social worker. "I don't understand."
"You haven't told her?" Collette asked.
"I didn't want to jinx anything…" He shrugged and turned back to Temperance. "I applied to be a foster parent. So we can be a family. The three of us."
She was completely taken aback – this was the man who had seemed to want nothing to do with Joey less than 24 hours ago, and now was apparently willing to take him into his heart and his home. "Why?" was all she could ask.
"Because I love you."
A/N2 Hmm… Did that seem contrived to you? I hope not! I really didn't want this to be a mush-fest, but I guess that's the way it was always going to be – it had to be about these two characters that we yell at through the TV finally finding their voices and admitting their feelings. There was always going to be sap! And I know some of you didn't like the idea of a baby, but it seems I can't not put a baby in my Bones stories. But anyway, I sincerely hope you enjoyed this story that went on far too long (it should have stopped at chapter 8!), and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read, favourite, and review. I'll be back again one day, but for now I'm just going to bask in the knowledge that I won't have anyone hounding me for the final chapter! I love you all – no jokes. Hannah xx