{Alright folks. I wasn't going to do Max, but you asked for it, so here it is! And actually once I got started, I realized how could I NOT do Max, you know? Of course he's going to have a reaction to the news - he's Max! Anyway, thanks for your brilliant reviews, and hopefully I will get the last chapter done today, because I'm taking off on a very long summer vacation tomorrow and I probably wont do it while I'm gone. So I'll get 'er done today.}

She was so frustrating!

He did not understand why she was dragging this up again. It seemed like she had gotten over it earlier, but apparently not.

"Come on, Bones. I thought we were past this," Booth sighed, guiding the car into her apartment's parking garage.

"When I thought you were in danger, my anger was shunted aside in favor of concern. Now that the danger has passed…" She glanced sideways at him, her expression resentful. "Not only did you push me aside, but you told everyone about the pregnancy, so I couldn't perform any of my usual tasks at work without someone staring at me like some kind of anomalous substance under a microscope."

He laughed mirthlessly. "Okay, now you're just being dramatic. It wasn't everyone, alright? it was just Cam and Hodgins."

"Lucky for you I had already 'dismissed' Daisy," she muttered, placing heavy sarcasm on the word he'd used earlier. "Or else she would have heard it too, and most certainly would have told Sweets. Did you even consider that?"

He pulled into a parking spot and shut off the engine, unbuckling so he could turn to face her completely. He tried to keep his voice calm and reasonable. "No, I didn't think about that. I wasn't really thinking anyone else at the time, because all I wanted to do was make you stay there where it was safe. You weren't really thinking though either, were you? Because I don't want to believe that you would knowingly, intentionally put our baby at risk just because you wanted a thrill."

It was a harsh comment, and he knew he shouldn't have said it. Her glare was angry, but he knew her well enough to see the hurt expression behind it.

Her silence was grating. It irritated him. "What?" he demanded.

"I'm not as selfish as you think I am, Booth," she said quietly, her voice hard.

He sighed heatedly. "I don't think you're selfish, Bones. I've seen you be pretty downright selfless sometimes. But you were really scaring me today."

"I forgot about the fetus for ten seconds!" She protested, her voice lifting in volume again. In it he could hear anger, but also desperation. "Does that make me a terrible mother? For a minute I felt normal, and I forgot that I have to be more careful now. You could have reminded me without shouting it for the whole lab to hear!"

"It doesn't make you a bad mother-," he started to explain, but she opened the door sharply and got out of the car. He pulled the keys from the ignition and got out of his side quickly, scrambling after her. The car honked to signal it was locked after he pushed the button on the keyless remote.

He caught up to her and tried to walk his usual distance – which was quite close to her – but she veered form him like a similarly charged magnet.

It was annoying. "I didn't mean to tell them like that, okay? But you just wouldn't stop. You kept pushing and pushing."

"Because I didn't understand why you were being so difficult. There was no explanation, just refusal after refusal. I thought you didn't want me with you."

They got into the elevator. She punched the button to her floor and then leaned on the opposite wall he stood against. The distance between them might as well have been a canyon.

"How can you think that, Bones, after everything we've been through? When you know how I feel about you – how can you say it, let alone think it?"

She didn't look at him, but remained stiff and aloof. "You have taken it upon yourself to take care of me – quite against my will, I might add. I have never asked for it and certainly don't need it. I thought that perhaps you thought that if I came along, you would have to worry more about keeping me safe than focusing on your job. I would have resented that reasoning."

"Well obviously that wasn't why I didn't want you to come." He secretly seethed. Why did she have such a problem with him trying to be the good guy?

"Obviously not." Her words were clipped, effectively putting an end to the conversation.

The stony silence between them lasted until the elevator dinged and the doors opened on her floor. He followed her out into the hallway, wondering why she was even letting him come over at all, if she was so angry.

He was angry too, but the anger was just in response to her accusations. Beneath it he still was hoping to change her mood, to get her to be sweet with him again. She'd been fine just an hour before, when he returned from Anacostia uninjured. She was obviously relieved, and that had translated with warmth and affection and happiness. But as they left and her relief began to dissipate, conversation with her had grown increasingly difficult. She began to be angry again, and he didn't know whether to attribute it to her pregnant hormones or because she was just Bones, and being worried for most of the day had just stalled her residual anger from earlier.

She was getting to be surprisingly unpredictable in her moods these days. He used to be so good at judging what sort of things would set her off or make her happy. He was surprised most of the time now.

She opened her door and disappeared inside. Since she didn't send him away, he followed, closing the door behind them.

He set his keys in the bowl again and followed her into the living room. He didn't want to end the conversation like this, and even though it was going to make her furious, he intended to bring it back up.

She had her back to him and was setting her purse down on the coffee table when they heard the toilet flush from the bathroom.

They both froze.

Somebody was here.

Booth's sniper instincts kicked into gear, and he slowly moved in front of his partner, his hand straying to his gun. Behind him, he heard Brennan grab something heavy off the table – probably the bronze Egyptian figurine she kept there. He leveled his gun on the door of the bathroom, his finger resting on the barrel instead of the trigger.

The door opened, and Max stepped out, wiping his freshly washed hands on his pants. When he saw them – with Booth's gun pointed at him – his hands shot into the air and he laughed.

"Dad!" Brennan cried in dismay. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, I just came by to share a drink with my favorite daughter," explained her father with a grin. "See? I left them on the counter."

Booth's adrenaline slowed and he holstered his gun again, sighing. "Max, how did you get in here?"

"You have your methods, Booth, and so do I." The ex-con came over to them, and Booth moved aside so Max could give Brennan a quick kiss on the cheek.

"You broke in to my apartment?" she asked with displeasure.

"Oh, let's not say it that way, Tempe," he chided. He turned to Booth and offered a hand. "Thanks for not shooting first."

Booth shook it warily. "Yeah, well, I could have. You can't just go sneaking in to people's houses."

"Now why would I do that? Other people's houses? That's a felony. I just wanted to come by and see my daughter, but she wasn't home, so I helped myself. I didn't think it was a big deal." He went to the kitchen and grabbed the six pack off the counter.

Brennan sat down on the couch, her gaze tracking her father's movements. Booth knew she was trying to think of an excuse that would allow her to refuse the drink. She was fastidious about not ingesting anything that might be bad for the baby – proof that his accusation was completely unfair. She was careful and conscious of the little life growing within her, she wouldn't intentionally endanger it. He shouldn't have even suggested it.

Booth took the drink Max offered him, lifting it in brief thanks. He sat down on one of the armchairs across from the couch. She still radiated coldness

Booth took his own drink, lifting it in brief thanks before taking a sip. He sat down too, on one of the chairs across from Brennan. He still sensed coldness radiating from her and knew that just because her father had arrived didn't mean she'd forgotten their argument.

"So why are you really here, Dad?" Brennan asked, flicking her gaze up to rest suspiciously on her father. "I can't imagine having a drink was your only motive."

"It was!" Max insisted. He sat in the other armchair. "I haven't heard from you in a while, Sweetheart, and I just wanted to catch up. What's wrong with that?"

"Nothing," Booth jumped in, giving his partner a significant glance.

She ignored him pointedly. "I wish you'd called."

"Why? Don't you want to see me?"

"No, I mean I wish you'd called ahead, instead of just showing up."

Max grinned, looking around the well-organized apartment. "Don't worry, honey, your place never needs tidying up. But what's new with you two? Working on anything exciting?"

Booth set down his drink, glancing again at his partner. "We always have a case, you know that. This one's a drug one, so it's complicated."

"Drugs," Max sighed, shaking his head. "I've never understood them."

"Tell me about it. I had to go to Anacostia to hunt down a drug dealer."

"Did you find him?"

Booth sighed. "No, you know, everyone said I looked 'cop-ish' and wouldn't talk to me."

Max didn't seem the least bit surprised. "You do look like law-enforcement, even in your civilian clothes."

Booth didn't know whether to take it as a compliment or a veiled insult. Sometimes it was hard to tell with Max. "Yeah, well, tomorrow another agent and I are going undercover to see if we can't learn something else."

"Booth is quite convincing when he is undercover," Brennan piped up, finally glancing at him without hostility. "He's very good."

"I'll buy it," Max said with a brief chuckle. He glanced at his daughter, noticing her drink was still unopened on the coffee table. "Drink up, Honey. It's getting warm."

"It's best if I don't drink tonight," she said evasively, glancing at Booth for help.

Booth jumped in quickly. "Yeah, you know the medicines you aren't supposed to mix with alcohol?"

Max shrugged the explanation off, having no reason to be suspicious in the first place. He leaned back, taking a generous gulp of his own drink. "So what's the occasion tonight?"

"Occasion?" Brennan's brow ticked up.

"For Booth to come over. You two doing some late-night casework, or are you spending time together socially now?"

Brennan frowned. "We've always done that. We're friends, Dad."

"Yeah, friends. I know." Max's voice was wistful and his face became a mask of melodramatic regret. "You have enough friends, Tempe."

Booth chuckled, inclining his head in silent acknowledgement. He understood what Max was trying to imply, it was what so many often tried to hint at around them, but he did not have any response. He glanced at his partner and saw her gaze fall to her lap, her lips twitching down at the corner.

"Yes, I do." She pretended not to know what he was talking about.

Max, seeing his attempt had fallen flat, turned his attention to Booth once more. "So, Booth. No hot dates tonight?"

"Nah," Booth shrugged, grinning slightly. "You know, I had one, but we argued earlier today and… well, I don't think she's really over it."

The older man's expression became one of surprise. "What did you do?"

"Nothing!" Booth insisted quickly, a knee-jerk reaction. "I… well, okay, I may have been a bit, you know, stubborn or something."

Brennan glanced up, her gaze meeting his. "You can be very difficult sometimes. Perhaps she simply didn't understand the motives for your behavior."

"If she had, you think that would have changed her reaction?"

Her clear eyes flickered with some emotion he could not read, and she looked down again while another small frown tugged at her mouth. "Yes."

Booth watched her with a kind of intensity, wishing she would look up at him to know whether he was forgiven or not, wishing Max would disappear so they could talk freely and try to get back on better ground. "I'll have to try that next time," he told her quietly.

"Sounds like there won't be a next time." Max was watching both of them very closely, sensing something more in this exchange than just what their words said.

Booth looked over at his partner's father, his thoughts coming sharply into focus. He quickly fabricated a grin and easy shrug. "It's alright. I think she was a little jealous anyway."

"Jealous?" Brennan wrinkled her nose.

"Yeah, of my partner." This time, his grin was genuine. "You're tough to compete with, Bones. Girls are threatened by you."

"As they should be." Max lifting his drink in a toast-like motion. "You got the world's most beautiful and intelligent woman as your partner."

"There's no way to quantify that statement," Brennan protested, but half-smiling despite herself as she shook her head.

It was encouraging to see her smile. It illuminated her features like sunlight, and brought the bloom back to her cheek. Booth was pleased with himself and Max for finding it hidden beneath the layers of frost.

"You really shouldn't be looking other places for a date, Booth. You have one built-in right here." Max grew bolder in his attempts, this time pointing in his daughter's direction boldly.

"Date? Us?" He glanced at Brennan as if considering it for the first time. "Come on, Max. I thought you were smarter than that."

The ex-criminal was surprised at the response. "What? You don't think you two would be good on a date?"

"Objectively speaking, we have already been on dates," Brennan adopted that tone she liked to use when she wanted to pretend to be completely rational. "After cases, sometimes, we like to go out for dinner or drinks. Usually it's only the two of us. Doesn't that constitute a social contract? Like a date?"

Booth and Max glanced at each other, both reacting to the unexpected answer. Booth was quicker to recover though.

"No, doesn't count."

"Why? Because we are partners?"

Booth shook his head. "No, because sometimes I let you pay for me – and I'd never let a woman pay for me on a date."

Max laughed. "Atta boy, Booth. Good man."

Brennan rolled her eyes. "Sometimes I let you pay for me."

"And sometimes we go dutch."

"And sometimes he comes over to your place afterward," Max jumped in, his eyes flashing between them deviously. "And an old father begins to wonder what is going on."

They both stopped for a moment, both looking at him. Brennan's gaze bounced to Booth, but Booth did not meet it. It was too suspicious. So he merely grinned and forged ahead. "And sometimes that same old man almost gets himself shot when he sneaks out of bathrooms."

"Oh, we're back to that." Max sighed, taking another swig of his drink.

"No, actually I'm glad I brought Bones home tonight, because I've been wanting to ask you for a while: When's the next best time to have you meet up with Parker to show him some more scienc-y stuff? He's been asking about making up experiments every time he comes over. Rebecca lets him watch that Science Dude show waaaay too much, if you ask me."

"Oh, Bunsen Jude! That's a great program. I used to show it to my high school students all the time, even though it's meant for kids. They always got a kick out of it." Max grinned, obviously pleased with the turn of conversation. "Sure, I have some things I can show the kid. I'll show him how to make fake snot. He'll love it."

Booth suddenly felt a tad less enthusiastic. It reflected in his slightly grossed-out expression. "Fake snot…"

"Parker seems to think bodily noises and fluids are quite humorous," Brennan pointed out with a slight, affection smile. "My dad's right, he will probably love it."

Booth chuckled appreciatively. "Yeah, he's a boy, Bones. Boys tend to think that stuff is funny."

"Children in general seem to think it's funny," Max agreed. "Girls have it in them too to laugh at a well-timed fart."

Booth laughed, shaking his head. "Alright, alright. You can teach Parker how to make snot. Just don't let him take any home – alright? The last thing I need is Rebecca calling me to tell me he took it to school or something."

He again looked at his partner, seeing reflected in her face a kind of slow happiness. She liked this. She liked it when he and her father got along. The interesting thing about Max and Booth's relationship was how amiable it remained, despite Booth having arrested Max a long time ago. Even though Max was an ex-con and Booth was law-enforcement, they had a healthy respect for each other.

Perhaps Max sensed a shift in the mood of the room, for he suddenly put down his drink, stretched his back briefly, and stood up. "Well, I guess I better split before I become unable to drive. An old drunk man is pretty pathetic."

Brennan stood up too. "You don't have to go yet, Dad."

"Oh, thank you, Sweetheart, but I need to." His glance swung between her and Booth again, this time with a kind of knowing.

Booth stood too, and he and Brennan followed him over to the door. He glanced at her, and she glanced at him. He gave her a nudge with his elbow, looking pointedly at her stomach while inclining his head toward Max.

She scowled for half a second, but then her expression cleared and she seemed to be considering his encouragement.

"Well, Tempe. Have a good night," Max turned around to give her a hug.

She backed up quickly, slipping out of his grasp. "Dad, I need to tell you something important."

Max's face registered surprise. He looked at Booth with a sudden grin. "Oh, this sounds like it's going to be good."

"It is," Booth chuckled. "Trust me."

"I wasn't going to tell you, but…" She shook her head, her words trailing off into confused silence.

Booth put a hand on the small of her back in support.

"What is it, honey?" Max encouraged when it looked like she was going to stop there.

She squared her shoulders, bracing herself for whatever reaction was going to come. "You're going to be a grandfather."

"I'm already a grandfather," Max pointed out immediately.

"No – I biological grandfather. Amy's girls aren't yours."

"Oh. Why? Are Russ and Amy expecting?"

She gave him a frustrated look. "No, Dad, I am."

Max's expression went from one of amusement to instant shock. He stared at his daughter for a moment, and Booth knew his dismay. Brennan was the last person most of them ever expected when the subject of babies came up.

His gaze then swung to Booth, his eyes narrowing suspiciously. "What did you do to her?"

There was a kind of accusation in there! Booth was surprised. "Whoa, whoa, wait. How do you even know it was me, Max?"

"Well it was, wasn't it?"

There was a beat or two of silence. Brennan watched her partner anxiously, no doubt wondering whether he was going to lie or be honest. But there was no reason to lie to Max, so Booth finally relented. "Yes, it was."

Max reacted quickly. Booth saw the flash of movement in his peripheral vision, but he could not block it in time. Max's lightning-fast fist slammed into his jaw, pain exploding throughout his teeth and cheek.

"Dad!" Brennan cried, grabbing her reeling partner to steady him.

"That's for impregnating my daughter, dirtbag," Max told Booth sternly.

Brennan turned an outraged look upon her father, demanding fiercely, "What are you doing?"

"I haven't been a very good father to you over the years, Sweetheart," Max explained calmly and reasonably. "I didn't get to knock out the first guy to take your innocence, but I'll be damned if it's not my right as a father to knock out the first guy who gets your pregnant."

"That is completely illogical," she snapped, looking at Booth's face fretfully. "I'm not a teenager, it makes no sense to defend my honor now. What if he had been my husband? Would you have struck him then?"

"Of course not. I meant the guy who gets you pregnant outside of marriage," Max said with a shrug.

"It's okay, Bones," Booth muttered, shaking her off. "He's your father. It's kind of his duty."

"See, Honey? Booth understands." Max stretched out his hand. "He's a good man."

Booth shook it, though wincing from the throbbing sensation in his jaw and the headache it had provoked. "I wish you hadn't gone for the face, though."

"It'll help you with your disguise tomorrow." Max turned to his daughter, giving her a genuine smile despite her fiery look. "Congratulations, baby girl. I am happy."

She was stiff as a corpse when he tried to hug her, but after a moment she seemed to relax. "You are? That seems like an inappropriate response for one who is happy, Dad."

"It was the necessary response, Tempe," he chuckled. When he stepped back, his expression was full of childlike glee. "Of course I'm happy. You two kids finally got your heads on straight, after all these years."

She looked at Booth, and Booth looked at her.

Max took her hand. "Your mother would be so proud of you right now."

Booth watched her expression change and soften, her brow pulling together in a yearning, lost-little-girl kind of expression. "She- she would?"

"When you were little, she liked to play this game where she would speculate about yours and Russ's lives when you were older. I never saw the point, but she loved it. She would try to guess what kind of person you'd turn out to be, and how many kids you'd have. She never doubted you would have them, of course. Always more than one but less than five."

"Five?" Booth choked. It was hard enough to imagine having one child between them, let alone any others. Obviously Ruth Keenan didn't know the kind of woman her daughter would really turn out to be.

Brennan didn't react to the number, but her eyes adopted a glassy look in response to the story in general. "I wish she were here to tell me what to do."

"I miss her too," Max agreed, but his expression didn't become sad. He brushed his hand on his daughter's cheek, smiling. "I'm proud enough for the both of us."

Since they were no longer trying to hide anything, and since she seemed to be needing comfort more than needing to be proud and obstinate, he wound an arm around her waist and let her lean against him.

Max saw it, and his smile grew. "I'm just glad you found someone to hold on to. He's a good guy."

"Yes, I know." she said quietly, glancing up at Booth. He saw forgiveness and affection there, and his heart swelled with love for his partner, his friend, the mother of his child. Her cheeks warmed with color and she looked away again.

"So," Max said suddenly, his voice taking on a very business-like tone. "When's the wedding? I have to warn you, as father-of-the-bride, I don't have the funds for all the big fanfare."

Booth shook his head, chuckling at the sudden enthusiasm of this once-murderer. "Not going to be a problem. Not getting married."

If he was surprised, Max didn't show it. He merely rolled his gaze skyward. "Of course not. You two like to drag your feet about things. It'll probably be another six years before you decide to tie the knot and by then your kid can push me down the aisle in a wheelchair because then I'll really be old."

"I don't know why everyone seems to think that we'll be better parents if we're married," Brennan muttered, mostly to Booth.

Max jumped in before Booth could reply. "You shouldn't have such negative feelings about it, Honey. Your mother and I were married and we were always very happy. Marriages don't always end, you know."

"I don't need some antiquated ritual to proclaim my devotion or affection for Booth," she protested. "While I understand that some feel it's necessary because society says so, or perhaps they think it lends a degree of romanticism, I don't see why a legal and social contract of marriage increases one's chance for happiness. It's very foolish."

"I believe in all the stuff, Bones," Booth reminded her quietly. "That makes me a fool?"

He saw her instant regret, but it did not take away the slight sting of her words. She knew his feelings about it, and knew how deep his wounds ran – inflicted by Rebecca, Hannah, and even herself. He had always known from the moment they first slept together that this was not going to go where he wanted it to go, and he'd accepted that. They never were ones for tradition and doing things the way people expected. He could learn to live with her as just his girlfriend, or life-partner or whatever it was called after a certain amount of time.

But when she said things like that out loud, auditory proof that she did not love him enough to marry him, when she knew it was important to him, it sort of cut through those old wounds like a knife, reinjuring them.

"You are governed by feeling and instinct," she said hesitantly. "And live by a more traditional standard of ideas. It's in your nature. It doesn't make you a fool. Speaking in terms of evolution, those qualities and that desire for family bonds make you an ideal mate for any female."

"Don't compare me to the monkey-man, please, Bones," he sighed.

Max laughed. "Don't worry, Booth. I'm sure she'll come around eventually. Everything happens eventually."

Impossible things had already happened. Booth was pretty sure they'd already used up their quota of miracles just getting to this point – together and expecting. There weren't any others left.

"So, names. Have you thought about names?" Max pressed.

Brennan shook her head. "No, we don't even know if the fetus is a boy or a girl yet."

"I suggest Max, if it's a boy, and Ruth, if it's a girl."

Booth and Brennan glanced at one another, their faces mirror images of each other's expressions. Booth was the one to express their mutual thought out loud. "No offense, Max, but I don't think we'll be naming our baby after two criminals."

"But they're good names!" Max insisted. "And we were reformed."

Brennan grinned suddenly, delighted with some amusing thought. "Ruth Booth is not happening, Dad."

Max flinched at the awful rhyme, and Booth laughed. She was right. That was not going to happen.

"Well, whatever you decide, know that I'm going to be a better Grandpa than I was father," Max promised with a grin. "And that I'm very proud of you, Tempe. You're going to be a wonderful mother."

"Thanks, Dad," she said quietly, ducking in for a quick kiss on the cheek.

Max shook Booth's hand one more time. "Congratulations. Sorry about your jaw. Call me when Parker has free time."

"Thanks, Max. I will."

"Dad, you can tell Russ and Amy. Just don't mention anything to anyone at the Jeffersonian or the FBI. Not everyone knows yet." Brennan looked at Booth quickly – but not in reminder of what transpired this morning. He knew she was thinking of Sweets.

"I don't mention anything to the FBI anyway," Max laughed. He gave them a last goodbye and then turned and left.

Booth and Brennan turned to look at each other once the door shut behind him.

"How are you doing? Are you glad you told him?" Booth asked carefully, concerned that perhaps she might suddenly be regretting it – especially after that whole marriage bit.

But surprisingly, she smiled. "Yes, I'm glad."

She surprised him further still by moving in against him, tucking herself into his arms, resting her head on her chest.

"So… does this mean you aren't mad anymore?"

"I'm not mad." Her voice was quiet. "I'm sorry."

What had gotten into her? Apologizing? Suddenly being affectionate? He was grateful for it, but it was still surprising. "It's okay. Hormones, right?"

"Sometimes I'm not sure," she said with a soft laugh. "But I find it's difficult to stay angry with you."

"Well, I am devastatingly charming," Booth grinned.

She pulled herself out of his arms, giving him a mock glare for his egotism. "Be serious for a moment, please. We need to talk about something important."

"Oh. Okay?" He braced himself.

"I think we need to tell Sweets."

{Yep. Sweets is next. And a very short scene with Caroline. And then it's overrrr. Because I have to stop sometime. Thanks for your reviews, peoples! You are GREAT! :D}