I'm trying something new; hopefully you like it. The idea is to write a series of "firsts" for Booth and Brennan... I'm guessing that they'll be in an established relationship for a lot of them, but there might be a couple where they haven't reached that point yet. Since each chapter will essentially be its own completed little one-shot, I'll run with this until I run out of ideas. Winging it is not usually my style, but I figured it would be okay as long as everything I post has a definitive beginning and end... that way I can't get shot for leaving anyone hanging. I've decided to keep this in the same timeline created in "Underneath my Being..." but you really don't have to read that first. It just lets me use the same baby name and maybe rope in other connecting 'facts' every once in a while. We shall see.
Sidda sank down into the wide flannel embrace of their bodies, and she rested. For a moment she died a good little death, they died it together. And then her eyes began to fill with tears. She cried. At the beauty of what she had stumbled onto, at the fear that something terrible would happen because she was not vigilant enough. She cried at the fear of something so good that she would not be brave enough to bear it.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Rebecca Wells
Their first day home she's all smiles and confidence, and he looks at her and he gets that same feeling he does when he watches her take two hundred shattered pieces and turn them into a human skull. She's born to do this.
And then night falls and her confidence disappears with the sun. The baby has long since fallen asleep but Brennan has yet to put her down, and Booth wants to tell her to try and sleep while she can since the newborn will be awake and hungry in a matter of an hour or two, but he knows better than to tell her to do anything and he instead suggests that they take the baby to their bed and at least lie down. Brennan's too distracted by the bundle in her arms to be suspicious of his intentions and she only nods and follows him.
There's a full moon outside and light seeps into the room through the crack in the curtains and casts a quiet glow over the family in the king sized bed.
Ellie yawns. Booth and Brennan, propped up on an elbow on either side of her, smile. Booth is beyond tired at this point and he can't understand how Brennan is keeping her eyes open, but she's quiet and intense as she studies her progeny and memorizes every single feature. And then something changes.
Her body stiffens. She doesn't blink, she's still as stone, and Booth watches her eyes turn from blue to green as they fill with tears.
"What is it?"
"It's nothing." Brennan gives him a watery smile and then she rubs her irritated eyes and goes back to keeping a vigilant watch over Ellie. "I'm just tired."
"I don't doubt it. But that's not why you're crying."
"I feel like I'm going to burst," she admits lowly. "I know that scientifically, it is impossible, but I feel as if there is simply too much in my head and metaphoric heart to be stabilised. I feel as if it is beyond my control. And I cannot conclude whether it would be worse if these sensations remained or were suddenly absent."
Booth is quiet and Brennan backtracks, since she has no way of knowing that Booth's silence stems from the heart wrenching effects of her honesty coupled with his desire to say the right thing.
"I know; my thought process lacks rational sense. I'm sleep deprived and my hormones are out of balance… it is making me extremely emotional."
"No, baby. I mean, yeah, I know you're a little overwhelmed right now, but this is good, you know? It's okay to love her that much. It's okay to feel happy."
"This is the happiest I have ever been in my life," she stares at him with a seriousness generally reserved for work. "I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be more content, and therein lies the problem; since everything must change and my life cannot get better, I fear it will get worse. I fear losing this moment exactly as it stands."
"Hey," he reaches over to rest his hand on her hip, "don't think like that. It's going to be like this all the time. For the rest of our lives."
At this, Brennan chuckles genuinely, because to this day, she can't take Booth seriously when he says these things. "Okay, Booth."
"Alright, hardy har har, smartass."
The apology is undermined by the unrepentant smile she can't keep contained and he rolls his eyes.
"Fine. Maybe you and I are gonna wake up tomorrow and hate each other. I'll move out of our place, you'll sever our partnership, we'll both live miserable lives for a year and then we'll die in tragic freak accidents on Christmas day."
She laughs again. "Why must you take everything to such ridiculous extremes?"
His hand travels from her hip to the bottom of her rib cage and back again. "There's no pleasing you."
"You are being dramatic to distract me," she says knowingly.
Booth concedes to this with a smile and continues trailing patterns up and down her side. "Look at her."
Brennan doesn't need convincing and her gaze drops between them. Immediately, her lips curl upward and she's lost. Who would have thought that it would take an infant to reduce Brennan's attention span to that of a puppy. She slides the pad of her index finger over a tiny palm, and her delicate smile – the one only he gets to see – stretches a little higher when the newborn's muscles twitch under the contact.
"Bones." He calls for her attention with a small laugh.
Brennan lifts her head and a slow flush joins her transcendent smile, but she doesn't remove her finger from her child's warm skin. "Pardon?"
"We create our own happiness. As long as we're both willing to work for it, we'll be okay."
"We are very hard workers," Brennan states.
"The first time that you told me you wanted to pursue a relationship with me, I said no," she speaks haltingly and watches his face. The topic isn't exactly taboo but it had been painful for both of them and she doesn't want to sully this moment by sending him back to a very deep hurt. But Booth merely watches her in return so she swallows and she stares into the peaceful face of their greatest creation, and she forges on. "I said no because I didn't believe I was capable of transforming myself into the person that I thought you needed."
The hand on her hip resumes its soothing journey up and down her side, and she feels Booth's gaze burning into her relentlessly until she meets his eye. There's no trace of animosity or sadness or blame, just that passionate darkening of his irises that tells her he damn well expects her to listen carefully to what he has to say. Then the look changes and she sees the exact moment he pulls back the words on the tip of his tongue.
They've talked about that night more than once, and he doesn't have anything to add that he hasn't told her before. So Booth fights the instinct to protect her heart at any cost, to immediately reassure her that she is and always has been more than enough, and he leaves her free to finish her thought without interjection.
"I feel... different, now," she frowns. "It is difficult to accurately describe. I want to transform myself. I want to be more. I want to be better. I want to be worthy of her love."
Booth smiles and leans forward, breathing in the distinct, clean smell of his daughter. He removes his free hand from Brennan's hip and claims Ellie's other palm as his own with a series of delicate movements that mirror his partner's.
"Any parent worth their salt wants to be the best they can be for their kids. You're strong enough to be anything, Bones. But you're already worthy. You're worthy of all the love in the universe."
His quiet declaration is full of unwavering certainty and it strikes her hard. She gets that tightening in her chest again and there's that fierce rush of feeling that started all of this in the first place. She wonders if Booth ever feels the way that she does now, and then she wonders how he bears the intensity of it all.
As she thinks, her eyelids grow heavy, but she catches herself as she begins to nod off and snaps back to attention. Back to Ellie. Because a very irrational part of her still fears this will all disappear the moment she is not tenaciously standing guard.
Booth smoothes strands of limp hair out of her face. "Sleep," he whispers.
"You too," she insists stubbornly, even though her eyes are already again drifting closed of their own accord.
"Me too," he agrees.
She brushes her lips against her daughter's soft forehead and lets her cheek hit the pillow, and she feels safe and exhausted and warm, but mostly she feels fulfilled. She's vaguely aware of the mattress shifting as Booth moves the baby to the portable crib beside the bed, and she thinks she tries to tell Booth to keep the baby between them and he maybe says something back about being unwilling to chance rolling on top of her, but it's all quite hazy. He slides into the bed again and she feels the familiar heat of his body against her back, and just before she drifts into a dreamless sleep, she hypothesizes that maybe part of being better entails relinquishing control and trusting that the world will always right itself. Eventually. Even if it takes years of abandonment and failed relationships and denial and heartache. Because in the lingering scent of her baby and the weight of Booth's arm, there is proof.