Hey all! Sorry it's been a while, but here's the next chapter! (I know it's way longer than I expected, but between my exam, a hectic week and a massive case of writer's block, this update took a while).
Also, I know it seems like a lame, poser storyline to have Brennan be a CF carrier, however, I want this to be true to life. In life, just because a friend carries a genetic trait doesn't mean that you can't. Additionally, everybody carries an average of 300 harmful genetic mutations. Period. Otherwise there would be zero variation in the human genome.
Anyways, human genetics aside, let's get on to what's really important: the next chapter!
"Booth," Brennan exclaimed sharply but quietly, reaching over and putting her hand on Booth's knee, which had not stopped jiggling nervously since they had arrived in the office.
"Sorry, sorry," he said. "I'm just a little tense, that's all." Brennan gave him a sympathetic look and sat up in her chair, turning and looking into his warm eyes. She sighed.
"Me too," she said. "But there's nothing we can do until we know the results of your blood tests."
"I know, I just want everything with our little bugaboo to be okay."
"It's a term of endearment, I'm trying it out," he said. Her face held skepticism. "What? You're always getting on me about calling the baby a 'he' and besides, you're the one who called our kid a bug."
"Tapeworm," she corrected automatically. "And you know I didn't mean it like that." He did know, but when he opened his mouth to tell her that, he was interrupted by one of the nurses calling out Brennan's name to be seen for the appointment.
The first half of the appointment went smoothly, and it turned out that Brennan's vital signs, measurements, and symptoms were right on track with the stage of her pregnancy. After her physical exam was through, Dr. Burkett told Brennan that she could just sit back and relax before her ultrasound took place, and then she turned to Booth.
"Agent Booth? If you're ready, I'd like to do your blood draw now." Booth stuck his hands into his pockets, squared his shoulders, and nodded.
"Yeah, of course," he said, stepping forward. He glanced back at Brennan with reassurance that he didn't quite feel wholeheartedly before he stepped into the hallway and shut the door to the exam room. After the door had closed, she turned toward the clothing that she'd neatly folded on a nearby chair, desiring to change out of the hospital gown that draped over her body.
It had been a more difficult week than she'd like to admit, especially because all logic told her that it was too early to worry just yet. She had to keep repeating the odds time and again in her mind, 1 in 800, and as a person who placed so much value in statistical analysis, those numbers should have been enough for her. Somehow, though, when she was thinking of her own child, no risk seemed small enough to chance.
One positive thing had come out of the discovery that Brennan was a carrier of cystic fibrosis: she had been able to call Russ and tell him. Russ had told her recently that he and Amy had thought about having another child, and with Hailey having the illness already, Brennan knew it was important that Russ be tested. Mercifully, when she mentioned this to Russ, he did not ask her why she knew in the first place. Though he was her brother, Brennan did not want to tell anyone else about the pregnancy until the end of the first trimester. Except, of course, for Angela. But even Angela didn't know about this most recent development with the baby, because, Brennan had reasoned, there was no reason for anybody else to be unnecessarily worried before they needed to be.
She sat again on the exam table, and only a few minutes later Booth was back at her side, and then another woman appeared, with bleach-blond hair and dark roots that clearly indicated that the color of her hair was false. The woman wheeled an ultrasound cart into the room and introduced herself as Amanda. Booth nudged Brennan, a very giddy grin plastered onto his face.
"Bones, this is it!" he said excitedly. "We're gonna see our baby for the first time!" Brennan smiled too.
"Fetus," she corrected gently as he put his arm around her. Booth's eyebrows shot up.
"Whoa, when did the little bugaboo become a fetus?"
"Technically, yesterday. Our fetus has graduated from its status as an embryo."
"Wow," Booth said, a glimmer of what looked like pride in his eyes. "Well whadd'ya know, the little guy—or girl," he corrected himself before Brennan could, "is growing up so fast!" The ultrasound technician couldn't help but chuckle at this, but she just turned on the machine and asked Brennan to lie back. She asked Brennan to pull her gown up past her navel and then placed a large paper drape over her pubic region and thighs. Booth took that time to move to the other side of the exam table and out of the technician's way. They shared a smile and he gently took her hand.
"This gel is gonna feel chilly at first," she told Brennan, who nodded and pulled back her top to allow the tech to squirt a generous amount of the gel onto her supra-pubic region. "Okay, let's take a look and see what baby is up to."
Amanda picked up the transducer probe and held it firmly to Brennan's abdomen. After moving it around for just a few seconds, an image appeared on the screen, and though it was fuzzy, the meaning was clear to Brennan. There was the black void of the inside of her uterus, and laying right on the edge of it, the unmistakable form of a tiny human being. Before she quite knew what was happening, she felt a tear stream down her cheek but did not bother to wipe it away. There was her child, and she thought she saw it's tiny, fast heartbeat fluttering away on the screen.
"Yes, there it is," the tech said, pointing out the baby on the screen. With a few keystrokes, she zoomed in to the baby's image and enlarged it, making the fetus' features easier to see. "There's its head, which is about half of its body size, and you can see its heartbeat just hammering away."
Both Brennan and Booth gazed at the image of the tiny fetus—their child—on the screen, and they squeezed each other's hands a little bit tighter. Booth leaned down and pressed a kiss to her temple, and she reached up to lay her free hand on his cheek. Both still stared transfixed at the fuzzy outline of their unborn child. And then the fact that they were having a child together was even more vivid and real than it had ever been before.
The rest of the weekend passed rather uneventfully, and Monday found Booth without a case and, more importantly at the moment, without a lunch date. He sat at his usual place at the counter of the diner, mutilating his piece of what no longer looked like apple pie with his fork, while Brennan had been caught at the Jeffersonian doing some kind of identification.
"Don't worry, Booth," she had reassured him over the phone. "I have quite an array of healthy foods here, and you know that I have been vigilant about eating every 3-4 hours." After another reassurance that yes, she could take care of herself and the baby, the call ended and Booth was left staring forlorn at the burger and fries that had just arrived for him.
The bell on the door to the diner tinkled, but Booth didn't look up, instead scooping some of the pie mush onto his fork and chewing it slowly. He did take notice, though, when Angela slid into the seat beside him and asking the waitress for a turkey club. She smiled at him.
"Hey, Booth," she greeted him. "Bren said she had to ditch you, and I thought you might like some company."
"Sure," Booth said, giving a noncommittal shrug of the shoulder. "So, how's life outside of maternity leave?" Angela's face melted into a sad little frown, and she crossed her arms over the table.
"I love being back, but I really miss Michael. I know it must sound totally weird, but I feel like I'm missing out on so much of his life."
"Nah, just means that when you do get to hang out with the little guy, you appreciate it more, you know? That's how I feel with Parker." Angela nodded.
"Yeah, I get that," she said. "So speaking of parenthood, any news yet on your little one?"
"Nah," Booth said, taking a bite of his burger as the waitress arrived with Angela's sandwich. "The office said my blood test'll be back by the end of the week. Hopefully this will be behind us by then." Angela gave him a sympathetic look.
"I'm so sorry you and Bren have to go through this, Booth," Angela said, spreading mayonnaise on her sandwich. "If it's any consolation, I know exactly how you feel." Booth looked over at her, frowning. How could she possibly understand? Sure, her and Hodgins had a scare with Michael, but blindness wouldn't have shortened his life, and with technology he would have still had a relatively normal life. Cystic fibrosis was different. Very different.
"All due respect, Angela, but you don't," he said. "I looked it up. These kids look miserable, they have infections all the time, and they have trouble with nutrition, and their parents have to practically beat the mucus out of them to get their lungs clear. You know what the lifespan is?"
"Booth—"she started apologetically, wishing she hadn't taken the conversation down this road.
"35. That's like half of normal. So don't tell me you know exactly what me and Bones are going through." He opened his mouth to say more, but his better judgment caused him to shut it again, instead shoving a large bite of his burger into his mouth, and both were silent for a moment.
"I'm sorry, Booth," Angela said, resting her hand on his arm. Booth swallowed and shook his head.
"No," he said with resignation. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, Angela. I know you mean well, it's just—" his voice trailed off.
"It's an impossible situation to wrap your head around," Angela said through a bite of sandwich. "How has Brennan been doing?" Booth shrugged.
"You know Bones, she's trying to logic her way through it, but the fact that it's our kid is affecting her more than she'll let on," Booth said. "She keeps saying there's no use worrying until my blood test comes back, but it's hard not to worry, you know?"
"Of course," Angela said. "Like you said, it's your child, which pretty much nullifies all logic and statistics. Is she talking to you about it?" Booth smiled softly.
"Yeah, she is," he said. "I mean, not a whole lot, but she's being open about what she's feeling." He grinned. "I'm so proud of her."
"Awww," Angela sighed. Just then, a shrill chirp from Booth's phone caused him to give an apologetic look to Angela for having to answer the call as he turned away.
"Booth," he answered. Angela took another bite of her sandwich and watched Booth's expression change from annoyance at the interruption to interest. "Okay, I'll be there in 20. Thanks, Hacker." He hung up the phone.
"Got a case?" Booth nodded and stuffed the last of his cheeseburger into his mouth.
"I'm gonna go get Bones. Want a ride back to the Jeffersonian?" Angela shook her head.
"No, thanks, I'm going to take a quiet, restful, non-grisly lunch break. We'll continue this conversation later." Booth shrugged in acknowledgment and left the diner, the bell on the door tinkling behind him as he pulled his phone out again and dialed a new number. It rang two, three, four times before the kid picked up his phone.
"Wendell Bray," Wendell whispered, moving quickly away from the table on which his books and computer sat, keeping an eye on his things as he found his way to the nearest cell-phone zone in the university's large library.
"Hey, it's Booth," he said succinctly. "Why are you whispering?"
"I'm at the library," he answered. "What can I do for you, Agent Booth?"
"Got a case, lots of body bits in the high marshes, and Bones is gonna want another pair of hands to help recover the bits. You in?" Wendell's brow furrowed, confused.
"Wait, isn't it Daisy's week on rotation?"
"I dunno, but whichever one of you squinterns is at the lab is tied up with some ancient remains. We need help in the field, so are you in?"
"Why me?" Wendell asked, not bothering to lower his voice, making his way back to pack up his things to leave.
"You need the hours, and we need a squint in the field. Kapische? So, do you want a ride to the crime scene?"
"No need, I'm only a few blocks from the lab. I'll meet you there in 10." the kid said, hoisting his backpack over his shoulder and making his way out of the library. Booth nodded in affirmation.
"Good, later," he said before hanging up. A quick phone call to Brennan and 10-minutes later, he was walking through the door to his partner's empty office. To save time, he bustled around, gathering her kit, jumpsuit and gumboots atop her desk.
Booth didn't have to wait long for Brennan to arrive. She was breathtaking to him, and her appeal was accentuated by the glow of pregnancy. He didn't care what she said about it just being an increase in blood volume; something about her just illuminated the room. He stood to greet her as she walked into her office, smiling. He stole a quick kiss and she tilted her head, raising her eyebrows in a slightly stern gaze. He knew that she was still getting used to the idea of public displays of affection in the workplace.
"Hey Bones," he said, flashing a charming grin. "How's your day been?" Her face relaxed and he could tell that she wasn't going to reprimand him for kissing her in her office. This time. Baby steps, he reminded himself, doing a very small victory dance in his mind.
"Uneventful," she said, tying her hair back and slipping off her shoes. She began to step into her jumpsuit. "I'm sorry I missed lunch."
"But you ate, right?"
"Of course I ate, Booth," she said, setting a hand on her hip. "Every 4 hours, as instructed. I wish you'd stop worrying." She put her arms through the sleeves and zipped the suit.
"Yeah, that's not possible," he said, "After all, you're—"
"Good afternoon, Mr. Bray," Brennan said over Booth's shoulder, looking toward the door. Booth let out a low whistle. He turned and sure enough, the kid was walking toward them, knapsack over his shoulder and smiling.
"Hey, afternoon, Dr. Brennan," he greeted them, setting his knapsack down next to Brennan's couch. Booth nodded to him in recognition. "Am I late?"
"No, not at all," Brennan said, pulling out an additional jumpsuit and pair of boots from behind her desk and handing them to Wendell. "You'll need to put these on."
"Sure thing," he said, "Is it cool if I leave my bag here while we're in the field?"
"Yes," Brennan responded, pulling on her boots and tying them. Soon, the three of them were off to what turned out to be a very hot, sticky late-June afternoon, recovering the decomposed remains of what turned out to be two dismembered victims. After the scene was thoroughly documented, Brennan and Booth headed back, leaving Wendell to supervise the recovery of the rest of what Booth had termed the "body bits."
By the time the identities of the bodies—Darnell Jones and Akeelah Young—were discovered, it was nearly 10pm. Wendell had just arrived back with the last of the remains and samples from the crime scene when Brennan, still circling over the stainless steel tables containing the remains, felt Booth hovering over her.
"Hey," he said, touching her arm lightly. "I know that you want to keep going here 'til you figure everything out, but you've got to get some sleep. The bones'll still be here tomorrow."
"Booth, these two were barely adults. They deserve justice," she said, turning to face him. She saw the concern in his eyes, and she knew he wasn't going to budge.
"They'll get it. Hey, with us, they always get justice," he gave her a small smile and nodded toward the door.
"Well, almost always," she corrected gently, still peering at the remains, and Booth got the feeling that she was stalling to try to gather every sliver of information she could before heading out for the night. He allowed her a minute more, and she seemed to understand the gesture.
"I'm gonna get your things and lock up your office, 'kay? Then we're getting you home." Brennan wanted to protest, but even though she was only two months pregnant, she was already beginning to notice a decrease in her stamina. She scrawled a few more notes before Booth reappeared with her bag, and she left for the evening. Booth chuckled, putting his arm around her. She craned her neck to look around at him.
"What's funny?" she asked, feeling a bit confused.
"You used to put up more of a fight when I tried to get you to take care of yourself."
"Well, yes, but now I have another being's welfare to look after as well," she said. "I'm not giving in to you, per say, I am simply putting the well-being of the fetus ahead of my desire to continue working."
They were silent for the remainder of the walk to Booth's SUV. As they pulled out of the parking garage, Booth glanced over at Brennan.
"Oh, hey, do you have plans for the 4th of July?"
"Nope, lab's closed, I already checked with Cam. C'mon, Bones, it's Independence Day!"
"Okay, so what are you doing to celebrate our nation's independence?"
"We," he emphasized, "have been invited to Jared's place for a good old-fashioned barbecue. It's gonna be great, Pops will be there, I'm getting Parker for the day, and Padme and her family will be there, too."
"I will have to make sure that I'm free from my work obligations, but that sounds like fun," she smiled to herself. A thought occurred to her and she looked curiously at Booth. "Does this mean that your family is including me as one of its own?"
"Well, anthropologically, when a clan invites an outsider to a cherished festival celebration, there is generally an unspoken agreement that extends membership to the outsiders. Has your family extended membership to me?"
"Of course, Bones," Booth said, pulling in to his parking space at his apartment building. "You'll be getting your official membership certificate in the mail any day now." He looked at her seriously, and she furrowed her eyebrows in contemplation of this.
"But what—oh," she said, a smile coming to her face. "You were joking." Booth chuckled.
"About the certificate, but not about being a part of the family," Booth said as they left the car and started up the walkway to the apartment. "But if you really want a certificate, I could probably manage that."
He laughed at the continuation of his joke, but Brennan remained in silent contemplation. Booth's family was accepting her as one of their own. She knew that she liked, even loved, Parker and Hank and even Jared—though he'd had his unpleasant moments—as though they were her family, but she was filled with an indescribable and pleasant feeling at knowing they seemed to feel the same way about her. It had taken longer for her to feel this way about her own father.
It was a very nice feeling, having a large family, she thought as Booth jiggled open the lock to his apartment and led her through the door with his hand at the small of her back. Between what Booth called their "Squint family," her brother and Amy and the girls, her father, and now Booth's family, she felt secure and took comfort in the fact that this tiny fetus growing inside of her would be surrounded by so many caring people. It was something she'd never really had, and even though she wouldn't be personally experiencing it, she felt excited for her child to grow up in such an environment.
Okay, I know, I'm sorry. It's been forever since I updated, but I swear I'm not neglecting this story intentionally. Life just happened. If the flow or quality of this chapter seems off, it's the writer's block, I promise.
Anyhoo, that's all for this update! Please don't forget to review