AN: Thanks again to everyone who reviewed the first chapter, and to those of you who wished my mom a happy birthday. You guys warm the (metaphorical) cockles of my heart.
AN2: This chapter is dedicated to inzaghina and mumrulz, who both politely asked for more. Hope you enjoy!
"Mommy, can you do me a favor?" Bridget asked from the backseat as her pregnant mother drove her to soccer practice.
"That depends on what it is," Brennan answered.
"I want you to make the baby a girl. I already have a brother, so I want to have a sister."
"That's very logical," Brennan said with a smile. "But I have no control over the baby's gender. Whether you'll get a sister or brother depends on what sex chromosome was inherited at the time of conception."
Bridget's eyes narrowed. "I don't know what that means."
Brennan laughed to hear the phrase she herself had used so many times coming out of her daughter's mouth. She remembered Booth's advice to keep her scientific explanations simple. "It means that the baby is already a boy or a girl."
"Oh. So which is it?"
"Right now it's too small to tell. When it gets big enough, my doctor will know, but your father and I have already decided that we aren't going to find out. We won't know the baby's gender until it's born. We want to be surprised, just as we were with you. Do you understand?"
"I think so," Bridget said, even though she wasn't quite sure. "Taylor Coleman in my class has a new baby sister. She says that she cries all the time. Is our baby going to do that?"
"Maybe," Brennan admitted. "Maybe not. Different babies have different temperaments…different personalities. Angela and Hodgins' son Michael cried a lot when he was a baby, but you were the opposite. You were so quiet that I used to worry you'd stopped breathing. I would wake up in the middle of the night just to check on you. Your father told me I was worrying too much, but I once caught him doing the same thing."
"Will I have to share my room with the baby? Matt Miller has to share a room with his little brother."
Brennan assumed Matt Miller was another classmate. "No, we have enough space to give the baby his or her own room."
"Will I have to share my toys?" She wouldn't mind sharing her dolls, but she hated the thought of letting someone else play with her purple bunny stuffed animal.
"The toys you have now aren't developmentally appropriate for a baby, but we could let the baby play with some of the toys you had at that age. We'll also buy him or her some new toys." Brennan had a flash of inspiration. "Do you want to come with me when I go shopping for the baby? You could help me pick out toys and clothes and decorations for the nursery."
"Okay! Can we go tomorrow after school?"
"Tomorrow we're going to watch Parker's baseball game. If Parker's team wins, your father will probably buy you two ice cream to celebrate. If Parker's team loses, he'll buy you ice cream as a consolation prize. Either way we won't have time to go shopping."
"Can we go the day after tomorrow?"
"That's date night for your father and me. You'll be staying with Angela and Hodgins, remember?"
Bridget nodded in excitement. "The last time I went to their house, Michael let me play with his telescope! I got to see a ton of stars. And we got to swim in their pool. It's so big! And Angela let us paint in her studio. And Hodgins let us do an experiment with soda and mentos. There was soda everywhere!"
"I'm glad you have so much fun with them. We can go shopping on Saturday if you'd like."
Moments later, Brennan and Bridget arrived at the soccer field. "Have a good practice," Brennan said. "I'll be back to pick you up later." As Bridget got out of the car, Brennan added: "I love you."
"Love you too, Mommy!" Bridget started to walk away from the car, but turned around a few seconds later. "Mommy, please don't have the baby while I'm at practice. I want to see her when she's born."
Brennan laughed. "Don't worry, Bridget. We still have several months to go."
Several months later, Bridget was sitting in a hospital waiting room with her parents' friends and her sixteen year old brother. She had looked at every child's magazine and played with every toy she could find-even though her mother had once told her she shouldn't play with toys in hospitals or doctor's offices because the germs of sick children were on them-and now she was so very bored. Maybe Parker would play with her. She called his name, but he didn't respond. She realized that he couldn't hear her over his iPod, so she poked his shoulder.
Parker took out his earphones and smiled at her. "Hey, sis. Are you hungry? Your mom gave me a bag of snacks for us." Parker opened the bag. "There's fruit bars and granola bars and…some other healthy stuff."
Bridget hadn't been hungry, but seeing the snacks made her want one. She selected a strawberry fruit bar and took a few bites before she remembered her manners. "Thank you."
"Parker, why is the baby taking so long to come out? It's been in Mommy's belly for nine whole months with no toys and no friends to play with. It should be excited to come out!"
Parker laughed. "Babies just take a long time to be born. Sometimes when my mom gets really mad at me, she reminds me that she was in labor with me for over twenty four hours."
"Wow. Will our sister take that long?"
"Sister! You don't know it's a girl, Bridget. I could finally be getting a little brother! As for how long it will take, every baby's different. It will come when it wants to. The only thing we can do is wait."
Bridget sighed. "I hate waiting."
"Me too. That's why I brought my music. Do you want to listen?" Scrolling through his albums, he picked one that didn't contain any obscene or offensive lyrics and offered her an earphone.
Bridget put the earphone in her ear and leaned against Parker's shoulder, where she fell asleep an hour later.
Bridget awoke to Parker rubbing her shoulder. "Bridget! Wake up! The baby's here!"
"Is it a girl?" She asked groggily.
"Dad wouldn't say what it was. He just said that we could see them now. Let's go!" He led the way to the delivery room and Bridget followed.
When Parker and Bridget entered the room, they found Brennan in bed, holding her sleeping baby, while Booth sat by her side. Despite their exhaustion, both parents had identical smiles.
"Is it a girl?" Bridget asked again.
Booth turned to Bridget. "I know you wanted a sister…" He moved his eyes to Parker. "…and I know you wanted a brother. I'm happy to say that…" He paused for several seconds. "That one of you got your wish."
Parker groaned. "Thanks, Dad. That was really helpful."
Booth and Brennan turned to each other. "I suppose we should stop teasing and just tell them, " Brennan said. "What do you think?"
"Tell us!" Parker and Bridget said in unison.
"I guess we should," Booth said. "Do you want to tell them, Bones?"
"You can if you like," Brennan said.
"No, that's okay, Bones, you-"
"Will someone PLEASE tell us?" Bridget cried.
The anguished look on her daughter's face told Brennan that it was time for the truth. She just hoped Bridget wouldn't be too upset. "I'd like you both to meet Benjamin Vincent Booth."
"YES!" Parker punched the air. "Another 'B' name, huh, Dad?"
Booth laughed. "Well, Bones and I are fond of the letter 'B'."
"You can't name her Benjamin!" Bridget cried. "That's a boy name!"
Booth put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "That's because he is a boy, sweetie."
"Are you sure?" Bridget asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Yes, honey," Brennan said. "We're sure."
"Can I hold him?" Parker asked.
"Of course." Brennan gently handed him the sleeping baby.
"Hey little brother! You know, you're a really lucky kid. Dad can teach you how to throw a football, how to hold a hockey stick, and anything else you'd want to know about sports. Your mom will teach you absolutely everything there is to know about anthropology and science. I can teach you how to get along with the ladies. I know we shouldn't brag, but we Booth men are practically irresistible to women, right, Dad?"
"Right," Booth said, grinning that his son had inherited his confidence.
"I'd have to agree with that statement," Brennan added.
"And Bridget," Parker continued, "will be an amazing big sister to you."
Bridget looked at him in surprise. "I will?"
"Definitely," Parker said. "I think he looks a lot like you. Come look at him."
Bridget slowly walked over to examine her new sibling. "I was hoping you'd be a girl…but you're still pretty cute. Wrinkly, but cute." She smiled at him. "I'm your sister, Bridget. I helped Mommy buy toys and clothes for you, and I helped decorate your room. You're gonna love it."
Booth and Brennan beamed at their children. All three of them.
A few months later, Bridget walked in on a very unusual situation. Her mother was leaning over Benjamin in his crib, wiggling her fingers and saying "Phalanges! Dancing phalanges!" Benjamin was laughing.
"What does that mean?" Bridget asked.
"Phalanges are bones in your fingers and toes," Brennan explained.
"Oh. Did you say that to me when I was a baby?"
Brennan smiled at her. "All the time. You thought it was just as funny as Benjamin does."
"Can I try it?"
"Of course. Go ahead."
Bridget tentatively wiggled her fingers. "Pha…phamanges!"
"PHALANGES! DANCING PHALANGES!" Bridget's efforts were rewarded with a fresh round of baby laughter. "It worked, Mommy!" Thrilled with her success, she said it over and over again.
She said it many more times as the months went by and her little brother grew from a wrinkly baby into an adorable toddler with his mother's eyes and his father's hair. Yet shortly after his first birthday, she grew weary of the 'Dancing Phalanges' game and decided she was done with it forever.
'Forever' lasted for twenty two years…until the day she gave birth to her own daughter, Emma Temperance Hodgins.
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.