Booth didn't see it coming.
One minute he was standing in the kitchen on the 4th floor of the Hoover building, talking case specifics with Caroline Julian and Dr. Sweets and the next minute, a hard right hook connected solidly with his jaw, knocking him back a step.
"Max Keenan!" Caroline's voice rose in shock.
"Booth! Mr. Keenan!" Sweets moved to stand in front of Max, pushing him back a few steps to separate him further from Booth.
Booth massaged his tender jaw, working it side to side. Older he might be, but Max Keenan's punch still packed a wallop. "What the hell?"
Over Sweets' shoulder, Max stared down Booth, struggling to break free. "Get out of my way! I'm going to hit him again!"
"Okay," Sweets interrupted, using his oh-so-rational voice. "Let's just take a minute and calm down. What is going on?"
Caroline looked from one to the other. "Didn't you two learn anything the last time you used each other as punching bags? What happened - did Booth stop you from shooting someone else?"
"The only man I want to shoot right now is him," Max said loudly, pushing back against Sweets' restraining hands. "And if I don't hear the right answer, I just might!"
"Now wait a minute . . . " Booth began. Obviously, Brennan had been talking to her father; Booth's only objective at the moment, other than not allowing Max to hit him again, was to get him somewhere private before he . . .
"No, YOU wait a minute! You don't get my daughter pregnant and not do right by her! So, what are you going to do? And you better have the right answer!"
. . . . spilled the beans. Well, hell. Booth hung his head, eyes closed, hands on hips, then looked from Sweets shocked face to Caroline's wide-eyed astonishment.
"Okay, this is not what it sounds like," he said. Sweets' hands dropped from Max's shoulders as he turned to face Booth.
"Is Dr. Brennan pregnant?" he asked, his expression still vaguely bewildered.
"Is it your baby?" This from Caroline, who was now grinning from ear to ear.
"Then what did I miss?" asked Max, crossing his arms.
Booth rubbed his face with one hand. "Look, it's complicated . . ."
"Are you going to marry my daughter?" Max interrupted, staring hard. "Or are you going to be a weekend dad to another kid?"
"Hey, I am not Parker's weekend dad. I am his father," Booth said fiercely. "And you," he added, poking a finger in Max's chest, "are going too far!"
"Woah, woah, gentlemen." Sweets quickly interrupted, inserting his body again between them. "Why don't we see if we can't go somewhere more private." With a nod, Sweets indicated the audience of agents and staff watching with avid curiosity the scene in the kitchen.
"Fine," Booth agreed shortly. "My office, Max," he glared at the older man. "Now."
Max stepped back. "After you," he gestured. Booth pushed past him, ignoring the murmurs of the crowd. Max paused, looking back at Caroline and Sweets with a broad smile before arranging his face into a scowl and following in Booth's wake.
The prosecutor and the psychiatrist hurried to catch up.
Before Booth could close the door behind Max, Caroline and Sweets were there. "What?" he asked in exasperation. "This is between me and Max, we don't need an audience!"
"This could be a difficult conversation," Sweets replied, trying to take a step or two deeper into Booth's office. "I might be able to offer valuable insights or advice . . ."
Caroline pushed past both men and sat down. "I am definitely not going to miss this, cherie. You two go right ahead," she waved one hand at Max as she settled in. "Just pretend I'm not here."
Booth rolled his eyes to the heavens. "Fine. Fine!" He closed his door with a snap. "Sit down!" he gestured impatiently to the two men before sitting down with a sigh behind his desk. Sweets immediately took a chair in the corner. Max remained standing.
"Don't tell me to sit down, kid. I want to know what you're going to do about my daughter and my grandchild!" He paced a few steps. "I knew it. I knew something was going on! All that polite chit chat! The way you looked at her! But this . . ." Max turned back to slam a hand on Booth's desk and slammed a hand down. "Don't they teach you birth control in the FBI?"
"Max, I am not going to discuss Bones and birth control with you, okay?" Booth shook his head.
"Hummpf." Caroline crossed her arms and stared at Booth. "I guess you didn't talk about birth control with Dr. Brennan, either."
"No," Booth exclaimed. "That's not . . . It just . . . Look, Bones . . . "
"Oh, right. Blame it on Tempy!" Max threw his hands up in disgust. "You were obviously there! Why didn't you take responsibility?"
"I'm not blaming Bones!" Booth stood up angrily, eyes shooting daggers at Max. "We didn't plan on ending up in bed together! It just happened! It was an accident!"
"My grandchild is an accident, huh?" Max pursed his lips and nodded at Booth. "I guess you'd rather it not even exist!"
In his corner, Sweets stood up to interrupt..."Uh, Mr. Keenan. I think . . . "
In a flash, Booth was around the corner of his desk, standing toe to toe with Max. "You need to watch it." His voice was low and dangerous. "This is my child. This baby belongs to me and Temperance. We want this baby." His jaw hard, his eyes filled with fire, Booth locked Max's gaze with his own. "As for what I'm going to do, we are a family. Me. Bones. This baby. And Parker. A family."
Max held his stare for a long moment, and then nodded. "Okay. Okay." He stepped back, and Sweets let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding. Caroline, one eyebrow lifted high, watched Booth carefully as he moved back to his chair and sat down slowly, eyes still on Max. "That's all I needed to hear. I'll...ah, I'll let you get back to work." Max turned to the door and catching Caroline's eye, gave her a wink and a broad, happy grin. He walked out the door, whistling.
"Agent Booth," Sweets began tentatively.
"No," said Booth firmly. "And this . . ." he drew drew broad circles in the air, gesturing to his office. "This stays right here until I tell you otherwise. No one else knows yet. Got it?" Caroline and Sweets nodded.
"Agent Booth . . ."
"Not now Sweets!" Booth determinedly picked up a file from his desk and opened it.
"Hmmm. Well, come on, cher," said Caroliine, pulling Sweets to the door with her. "The man obviously wants to be alone."
Booth waited until he heard his office door latch closed, closed the file and tossed it on his desk. He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to decide how to tell Bones the entire FBI now knew they were having a baby. When his phone rang, he picked it up without looking at the screen.
"Booth? I'm sorry, is this a bad time?" Brennan's voice was curious.
"Bones, no. No, no. No, baby, it's fine. I was just . . . thinking."
"Oh. Well, I have some news." Brennan paused. "My father knows. My father knows about the baby. I thought I should tell you. He came by here and I had a bit of nausea, and while I was in the bathroom he saw the pregnancy book on the table, and well . . .."
"Yea," Booth responded, trying to keep his voice light. "Your dad . . . your dad has a way of getting information from people."
"He was very happy for us," said Brennan, laughing at the memory. "Very excited about being a grandfather." She paused. "But, I think you should know that he did mention stopping by to congratulate you in person. He said he wanted to give you his blessing."
"His blessing." Booth touched his aching jaw gingerly, and then chuckled. "Yea, what would I do without Max's blessing?"