Author's Note: Okay so it's like this (before everyone starts yelling)…
This story is here because I needed to productively write something. I've been struggling with Forty Weeks. And it's been no small struggle, let me tell you. Know that I'm working on it. I promise. There are people out there who've seen the progress and can attest to it. All I can ask for is a little more patience while I work through whatever it is that's causing the problem. Dare is sort of temporarily in the same sinkhole, but it'll all come back. I promise.
This story is the result of my insane ramblings to my fabulous beta Kerrison when I asked her to please challenge me to write something so I could get something readable down on paper. I feel better having produced something. Unfortunately, not quite better enough to tackle Forty Weeks or I Dare You with any sort of force.
I'm leaving Tuesday for the Christmas holiday and I'll be back at the start of the year. I'm not sure I'll get any writing done while I'm away so I'm going to say this is my Christmas offering.
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season. See you in 2010!
She laid on her bed and stared at the ceiling. Two nights and half an afternoon ago she'd handed him over and had spent the better part of her time alone crying. She was mad at herself. She didn't give into irrational emotion. Ever.
Her cell phone rang and she silenced it without even looking at the caller ID. Her house phone rang. She pressed 'talk', then 'end', then talk again before burying it under the pillow so she didn't have to listen to the dial tone fade into a busy signal.
In twenty minutes Booth would be knocking on her door. She hadn't really spoken to him since that moment in the back of his SUV when the talked about her plans to rebuild the bridge. Without even checking she knew it was he who'd called her cell then, subsequently, her house. Her silence would summon him like a siren's call. She knew it would.
She needed him – also an irrational emotion – but couldn't bring herself to tell him.
Hot tears tracked off her face and pooled in her ears. She didn't wipe them away. When the ache in her chest got too bad she curled up on her side and hugged her knees.
Her shower-wet hair was bunched uncomfortably between her face and the pillow but she didn't move. Her legs were cold and goose-pimpled where the t-shirt she was wearing had ridden up to ride near the tops of her thighs. In the back of her mind it occurred to her she was dressed very inappropriately to receive Booth as company.
She heard his knock on the door. She knew she should get up and answer the door. She also knew if she didn't, being that she'd barely spoken to him in the last forty-eight hours, he'd just let himself in. She didn't think there were any lights on in her apartment. Her suspicions were confirmed when she heard a thump then a curse when he ran into the corner of a wall somewhere between her front door and her bedroom.
Though the open curtains the moon threw shafts of blue light across her room. She heard him sigh heavily from her bedroom doorway. The caring and concern in just that one exhalation made her cry harder. She found the sobbing to be embarrassing but she couldn't seem to stop it. Her heart hurt and she couldn't figure out why. "I think I'm having a heart attack, Booth."
"What?" His voice sounded panicked and he was by her side in a quick second with his fingers pressed against her carotid artery. "Your pulse is fine. Do you have pain in your arm?"
"I have pain in my heart," she sobbed. "Make it stop, Booth. Please," she pleaded desperately.
The tension dripped out of his frame and he dropped onto the bed to sit in the hollow her curled up body made as she shifted her knees down and away from her chest. "You're not having a heart attack, Bones." He laid a comfortingly heavy hand on her bicep.
"It feels like I'm having a heart attack."
"I never should have let you out of the car without talking about it. I saw the look on your face when you handed him over."
"What makes you think this is about Andy?" Her voice sounded surprisingly strong to her ears.
"What makes you think it isn't?" he asked gently.
Truthfully, she knew it was about Andy. She felt so sad about handing over the child she'd fostered for such a short period of time. She'd never wanted children. It hadn't been a conscious decision outside the fact she just never though about having them. But she didn't actively want children. Therefore, in her black-and-white view, if she didn't have a pressing desire for children she just didn't want them. So why, then, this overwhelming sadness?
She drew in a deep, shuddery breath as her tears continued to fall. He slipped a hand between her and the bed and pulled her up until they were pressed hip to hip and chest to chest. She laid her head on his shoulder and buried her face in the crook of his neck while his fingers tangled in her still-damp hair.
"It doesn't make sense that I'd miss him so much."
"You bonded with him, Bones. You had something in common with him and he depended on you, even if it was for a short period of time."
"I don't even like children."
"You know that's not true."
"I've never wanted children."
"You're allowed to change your mind."
"He was never mine to have."
"That doesn't mean you can't feel sad now that he's gone."
"This is completely irrational."
Their exchange had been rapid fire but he didn't appear to have a quick response for that. Finally he settled on: "Emotion doesn't have to be rational, no matter what you say. In fact, emotion is rarely rational. That's what makes it emotion and not logic. But we need both, Bones, emotion and logic. It's what makes us people."
"Emotion clouds judgment."
"Why is that important right now?"
"I'm emotional about the loss of Andy from my life. Now is not the right time to reconsider my stance on having children."
"Sounds to me like the perfect time to reconsider. You wouldn't be this upset if your heart wasn't trying to tell you something."
She pulled back from his tight embrace suddenly very aware she was wearing nothing but a t-shirt and panties. "The heart doesn't make decisions. The mind does."
"You know what I meant," he chided gently.
"I think it's probable I'd be a sufficient caregiver."
"You'd be a lot more than sufficient."
She pushed back from him and pulled her knees up to her chest. She was looking over his shoulder but his eyes were intent on her face. Finally, she met his gaze and for a moment they just looked at each other.
Finally, she said, "He was a good baby."
Booth nodded. "Yes, he was."
"He'll be well cared for, though."
Booth nodded again, "Yes, he will."
"I'm not ready to change my mind about having children," she cautioned.
He raised his hands in surrender. "I'm not asking you to."
"Do you really think I'd be a good mother?"
He reached out and traced a fingertip down her profile. "I really do."
"I feel like I've spent my whole life waiting for something to happen and it came with Andy," she whispered.
"Waiting for what?"
"I'm…I'm not entirely sure."
"I don't know. It's like…I feel like I have to let go."
"Let go of what, Bones? You've got plenty of time to make a decision."
"Not that," she shook her head. "I feel like I have to let go of him. I know I do. He's not mine to hold on to. But I want it. I can't have it, but I want it. So, I have to let go."
"It's never easy."