Hey all, this is my first-ever reaction fic. I've written a few others if you decide you like my writing. I really feel like I need to write this, though, because I am so vehemently incensed by the writers right now, and nothing is adding up. I like numbers that add up, and I like clarity, and solid timelines, all of which were missing from the whole situation. So, in an attempt to make things work in my own brain, I'm writing my own timeline.
Temperance Brennan sat ramrod straight in the cushioned chair of the brightly lit waiting room, trying her utmost not to squirm. It was so unlike her to be fidgety, especially as she hadn't had any caffeine that morning. It was also unlike her to book a last-minute, squeezed-in appointment with her gynecologist without calling months in advance. It was unlike her that her usual focus had disappeared into a brain that was currently acting as though it had a relentless recurring pop-up ad that disturbed her usual calm.
This situation was unlike her.
Light from the bright morning sun streamed in through the windows and she exhaled slowly. Her breath seemed strangely amplified in the empty waiting room. The receptionist had assured her that the best time to come in would be when the office opened. The door to the office opened and Brennan startled easily, her head whipping around to see a well-dressed woman open the door and usher her tired-looking teenage daughter into the waiting area.
"Dr. Brennan?" Joani Sherman, a petite blonde who had worked there for as long as Brennan could remember, smiled at her, clutching a clipboard. "Dr. Burkett can see you now." Brennan stood and followed Joani back into an exam room. She flipped one of the colored flags on the exam room door before leading Brennan inside.
"Thank you for fitting me in on such short notice," Brennan said, almost apologetically.
"It was no trouble," Joani smiled at her. "Now it says in your chart that you are here for a pregnancy test—" Brennan's breath caught in her throat at the words. "—and so I need to ask you how long it's been since your last period."
"31 days. I-I'm on a very regular 28-day cycle, and my menstruations haven't been irregular since menarche at age 13." Brennan pursed her lips nervously.
"So your period is three days late?" Joani asked as she removed a plastic specimen cup from one of the cupboards and labeled it with her pen.
"Yes. Three days. "
"Have you taken a home test?
"I didn't see the point. It takes between 10 and 14 days to detect the human chorionic gonadotropin on a home pregnancy test, but the lab test here takes only 7 days after implantation. I would have come in for a more accurate test regardless." Joani smiled and handed out the specimen cup. Brennan took the cup without looking at her.
"This should go easily, but I need you to give us a sample of your urine. There's a restroom down the hall. Make sure you don't touch the inside of the cup or the lid at any time, be sure to set the lid down face-up, and let your urine run for a second before you catch the sample. I'll be right here when you're ready with the sample," she said this very kindly and clearly, as though she didn't want to cause Brennan any more distress.
"Thank you," Brennan said, more grateful than anything that she had used simple, precise, and clinical language. She took small comfort in that.
It was the first time since she was a teenager that she felt awkward complying with a medical professional's orders. Her hands were shaking more than usual from the excess catecholamines coursing through her bloodstream, and she took several deep breaths to try to relax herself. Why had she gone off of her oral contraceptives months ago? Why hadn't she said anything to Booth about contraception?
She knew that the chances were slim. 30 days of the menstrual cycle, 3 days for sperm to travel into the fallopian tubes, the tiny fraction that made it to the egg alive, a three-day window for fertilization, at least 4 days for the zygote to divide in the tubes enough to be able to implant into the wall of the uterus, three days of endometrial viability for the blastocyst to find a bit of uterus to implant into, 7 days for the syncytiotrophoblast to secrete enough beta hCG to be detectable on a medical pregnancy test, 20% fecundity for the average human couple in a one-month period.
The numbers calmed her, gave her something solid to cling to. She knew the probabilities and statistics. The meaning behind the numbers was much less comforting.
After she had returned the specimen to the kind blond in the exam room, Brennan was left with nothing but the clock ticking almost imperceptibly to distract her. Just then, her cell phone vibrated, and the noise startled her so violently that her purse almost fell to the ground.
Message from Booth, the screen said. She flipped open the phone to see the message. Got a case, will pick you up from the lab in 10. She smiled softly into the phone at how well he knew her, but typed in the reply message.
Not at the lab yet. I will be there in about 30 minutes. She sent the message. Booth didn't know she was at a doctor's appointment, and he would become exceedingly protective and inquisitive if he perceived that her health was in jeopardy in any way. Her phone buzzed again with the response.
You ok? Brennan rolled her eyes.
Yes, see you in 30 minutes.
Brennan smiled. The transition in their relationship from friends and partners to really being together had gone much more smoothly than anticipated. They still made an excellent team in the field, they still maintained professionalism while they were working, and while the new level of intimacy they now shared had been ever-so-slightly rocky at the start, they had smoothed their interactions out to the point where it seemed they had been doing it this way for years. And in a way, they had. But the reality of the situation was that they had been together for 17 days.
Brennan's eyes began to well with tears, which she quickly wiped away angrily, upset with herself for being so emotional before she knew anything for certain. She couldn't stop the hailstorm of thoughts that were pounding around her head.
There was a sharp rap on the door.
"Come in," Brennan said. She gathered her purse over her shoulder and stood as a woman in her mid-30s with soft features and long, red, curly hair entered, grinning. Dr. Anna Burkett had been her gynecologist ever since she'd moved to DC, and she was an excellent, compassionate, and highly competent physician.
"Hello there, Dr. Brennan, it's good to see you" she said warmly, shifting the clipboard to her left arm and shaking Brennan' hand.
"Hello, Dr. Burkett," she said, sitting back down. "It's good to see you too." The physician sat in the wheeled stool and rolled over to where Brennan sat, clipboard in her lap.
"So how have you been," she asked sincerely. Brennan shrugged.
"I feel fine," she said, keeping from fidgeting her hands. Booth would say that was a giveaway to nervousness. Dr. Burkett nodded slowly at this response, looking unconvinced.
"Okay, then," she said clearly, "Let's revisit the reason why you're here."
"Have your people conducted the analysis of the specimen I provided?" Brennan blurted out.
"Yes," Dr. Burkett smiled. "You are pregnant."
Brennan nodded, breathing slowly and deeply for a few seconds.
"I suspected as much. Thank you for your time," she said, and she gathered her purse and stood to leave. Dr. Burkett looked surprised but quickly rearranged her face into an expression of neutrality.
"Dr. Brennan," she said in a docile, calming tone, rising from her seat and crossing the room to where Brennan stood. "Is there anything else you would like to discuss? I'm all yours for another 10 minutes." Brennan paused with her hand on the cool metal of the door handle. Dr. Burkett gestured back toward the chair. "Please, come sit down." It wasn't a question or an order, but an invitation.
Brennan exhaled deeply, nodded, and obliged. She took up her seat in the chair across from her gynecologist and swallowed, trying to get rid of the lump in her throat. So many things were coursing through her mind right now, she tried in vain to sort the emotional from the rational thoughts, to categorize all of her reactions and the questions that went with them so that she could try to organize the storm of chaos in her mind. There were so many questions she wanted to ask the physician, and they were all at the forefront of her brain and she couldn't order them fast enough. She looked at Dr. Burkett, who was simply sitting across from her, clipboard absent, waiting. She was jolted out of her own thoughts when her phone vibrated in her pocket. She ignored it, but looked back up at Dr. Burkett.
"This is very surreal," Brennan told the doctor. "I have felt the desire to have a child for two years, and now that it appears to be happening, I find that I'm not experiencing the emotions I anticipated."
"Yes, wanting a child and having a child are very different experiences," Dr. Burkett told her. "Wanting a child is characterized entirely by positive emotions, like exhilaration and eagerness to become a mother. Actually having a child, you will feel those things, but it comes with what can be an overwhelming fear and apprehension mixed with the excitement. It can be very confusing. Is this how you are feeling?"
"Yes, that description is accurate," she said quietly. Without warning, her eyes welled up with tears so quickly that she didn't have time to wipe them away before they spilled over. Dr. Burkett hopped up, retrieved a box of tissues from the counter, and held it out for her. Embarrassed at her emotionality, Brennan pulled two tissues from the box and then set it beside her, drying her eyes.
"What is it that makes you apprehensive, Dr. Brennan?"
"I—Everything," she said. "I know that I am well-equipped to be a mother, and I know that I can provide a child with everything that he or she needs. But birth defects are not uncommon, and genetics don't always ensure a healthy offspring. So many pregnancies are lost in the first trimester, and I don't know how I would handle a potential miscarriage."
"Well, I won't deny that having children comes with risks, both to the mother and the baby, but the majority of children are born without problems. Do you have a strong support system at home?"
"At home, no," she said quickly. "But I have a number of very close friends at work who are incredibly supportive and understanding."
"What about the baby's father?" Brennan swallowed.
"We have been partners at work for six years, and we only became romantically involved very recently. He has assured me on numerous occasions that he would never leave me of his own accord, that he would do anything for me, and that he would always be there for me when I needed him. I—I believe him," she said. "I believe him."
"Are you concerned that he will go back on his promise when he finds out you are pregnant?" Brennan's tears were almost overwhelming now. She shook her head.
"No, but I am afraid that we will go back to how it was, before we were intimate. He will share in the consequences of his actions, and I know he is a wonderful father, but this is not how our relationship was intended to progress. I wanted this to happen, but the timing is off." There was a moment of silence. Brennan looked at the clock. Her 10 minutes were about up, and it would be time for the physician to move to her next patient.
"It sounds to me like you have decided to keep the baby, is that right?" Dr. Burkett asked gently. Brennan could only nod, and she couldn't keep her lips from turning up into a small smile. Dr. Burkett grinned back at her.
"Alright then. I'm certain that you will make an excellent mother, Dr. Brennan," she reassured, and Brennan's smile grew a bit wider. "Do you have any last questions for me before we end the appointment?
"Does your office handle obstetrics as well as gynecology?" she heard herself blurt out. "I-I mean—"
"Yes, we do," Dr. Burkett said, giving her a small smile. "And if you would like, I would be able to handle all of your prenatal and perinatal care." Brennan nodded.
"I would like that," she said, "I will call to schedule those appointments. Thank you," she shook the physician's hand and both left the exam room.
Brennan entered the waiting room almost clumsily, nearly stumbling out of the office, but the reality of the situation didn't hit her until she was in the elevator on the way out of the building. A child. She was pregnant, and she was going to have a baby, a life. With Booth. She was having Booth's child. In the solitary space of the elevator, she lifted her shirt and laid a hand on her flat abdomen. It would be months before her child began to announce its appearance physically when she began to show. Her child. Booth's child. They would be linked forever now.
She left the elevator and her head was spinning. She burst into the women's restroom and gripped the sink with both hands, looking at herself in the mirror. She noticed that her complexion had paled and she was perspiring and the weight of the situation hit her with full force, enough to feel dizzy.
Shortly thereafter, she vomited. She never vomited. Everything happens eventually, right?
Brennan rinsed her mouth and dug into her purse for a stick of chewing gum. It was then that she remembered her missed cell phone message. She dug the phone out of her pocket and flipped it open.
Coffee? Booth had asked several minutes ago.
Brennan furrowed her brow. If she asked for decaf, or tea, he would know something was up.
No thank you.
When she arrived later at the Jeffersonian, she found that Booth was already in her office, on the phone. He grinned at her and she gave him a nervous smile back, trying to push this morning's appointment to the back of her mind.
"Thanks, I'll let her know," Booth said into the cell phone before hanging up and grinning at Bones.
"We have a case!" he said. "Get your stuff, we're going to the bowling alley!"
"You told me that earlier," she said, slipping off her heels and jacket and pulling out her jumpsuit. "What do you know?"
"Not much, but I'll fill you in on the way there."
"Okay," she said, slipping the navy blue jumpsuit on over her pants and short-sleeved top before removing her necklace and zipping it up. "Could you hand me my boots?" she asked, and Booth handed them over.
"You're in late this morning," he said as she tied her boots and pulled her hair back.
"Well, you kept me up late last night," she grinned mischievously, silently hoping he would assume that she had overslept and let the subject drop. She couldn't lie to him, and she wasn't sure she was ready to tell him yet. She didn't know if he was ready.
"You had an equal hand in those escapades, Bones," he said, smirking. Brennan let out a silent sigh of relief. He drew slightly nearer to her with a twinkle in his eye. Brennan smiled, too, slinging her bag over her shoulder. He leaned in toward her, and she turned and headed out of the office.
"Bones," Booth groaned, turning and following her. She raised her eyebrow.
"This is not the appropriate place," she said. "Now let's get to the bowling alley, before the remains are compromised."
Yes, it will be continued. If you hate it, stop reading And let me know why, because I welcome suggestions for improvement. Unless they involve the medical details, because I am in the medical field and I guarantee that all of the science is accurate. If you have questions or want clarification, feel free to message me.