So here it is… the last of the "upshots." I still think that maybe I gave Booth's fears/Brennan's mistakes the short shrift… but the story has a way of telling itself.
Thanks to everyone who alerted and favorited this story- please take a minute to leave a review now that it's through. It would really mean a lot… and serve as great motivation for me to start another story. :- )
Without further ado… again, un-beta'd and untested. Let me know what you think.
The Upshot in the Ultimatum
Every Other Weekend, and Two Weeks in the Summer
She looked up as her office door was slammed open, colliding with the glass wall behind it.
An involuntary shudder ran through her body when she saw the look on his face. She'd never seen him this angry.
He slammed the door behind him and stopped toward her desk.
"What the fuck is this?" he seethed, slamming a manila envelope down on the desk.
"It appears to be an envelope," she said calmly.
"Don't play the obtuse card with me, Bones," he said. "Not now."
"I'm not playing at anything, Booth," she replied, now becoming annoyed with his confrontation.
"Why in the hell did you serve me with custody papers?" he asked. "What the hell is going on?"
"I didn't serve you with custody papers, Booth," she replied.
"You sure as hell could have fooled me," he said, pulling the legal documents from the envelope. "Looks a hell of a lot like custody papers to me."
Brennan reached out to take the documents from him. She flipped through them, reading.
"You weren't served, Booth. They were supposed to be delivered to me."
"And that makes me feel so much better," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Why would you even have these drawn up?"
"To be prepared," she answered, as if it were the most logical thing in the world.
"Prepared for breaking up our family?" he asked, rubbing the back of his neck. "Bones, I just don't get it. I thought things were going well for us. The house is almost finished… the baby will be here any day…"
"We are," she answered.
"Then why?" he said, his anger having dissipated into confusion.
Slowly, she got up from behind the desk and made her way around to him.
"Come sit with me," she said, as she ambled over to the sofa. She waited for him to sit next to her before she continued. "I had the agreement drawn up for you," she said. "I just wanted to make sure you knew that when something happens between us, you'll be protected. You'll have rights. I'll never keep our daughter away from you the way Rebecca has with Parker, Booth."
"When something happens between us?" he asked. "You seem pretty sure." Despite his best efforts, his earlier sarcasm bled back into the conversation.
"Booth," she said, taking his hand. "I've never been good at relationships. And you… you have a history of holding your romantic partners to a very high standard. It's only a matter of time before I do something to disappoint you…"
"What?" Booth was genuinely shocked. "You are the standard, remember? Maybe I did hold others to too high a standard, but that's just because they weren't you."
"That's a very romantic notion, Booth," she replied. "But if you look objectively at the evidence… You asked Rebecca to marry you, she turned you down and the relationship was over. You asked Hannah to marry you, she refused and you kicked her out of your apartment… There will come a time that I do something you don't like…"
"No way, Bones," he said. "Baby, this is it. You are it for me. There is nothing you can do that's going to make me leave you. I'm not going anywhere."
"That's what Angela said," she told him, leaning in to snuggle against his side. "She told me that drawing up a custody agreement was a bad idea."
"Angela was right," he said, leaning over to kiss her temple.
"I'm scared, Booth," she said, softly.
"I know, Baby," he replied, pulling her close.
"I know that we talked about what happened before we went away," she said. "And intellectually, I understand why you did what you did. But part of me is still afraid that I won't be enough…"
"Me, too," he said.
"What?" she asked.
"Come on, Bones," he said. "Look at you. I mean, my god. Not only are you drop-dead gorgeous, but you're like… the smartest woman in the world, you're a rich and famous author… you could have your pick of guys. I mean really, you could do a lot better than a schmuck like me. I'm afraid one day you're gonna figure that out and go running off to some dig in Timbuktu and I'll never see you again."
"I still don't think I can change, Booth," she said with a sigh. "But I can promise that I'm not going to leave. I won't accept a dig or any project that includes long-term travel without discussing it with you first."
"That's all I ask," he said. "We can make this work, Bones, but we have to do it together."
She nodded, but didn't speak.
"What?" he asked, gently rubbing her hands between his.
"You don't give yourself enough credit, you know," she said.
"Yeah," she repeated. "I may be smart, and talented, and rich, and beautiful…"
"…and modest," he interrupted with a laugh.
"But you are amazing, Booth. You have the biggest metaphorical heart I've ever seen… you are a born leader… people look up to you. You are extremely good-looking, and it's more than just being well-structured. I see the way women look at you everywhere we go. And some men, too…"
She laughed as she went on.
"You could have any woman that you wanted, Booth. And sometimes I wonder why you've wasted so much time with me."
"Stop that," he said. "Right now."
He took their joined hands and placed her hands on her rounded abdomen.
"Is she a waste of time?" he asked.
"Of course not," she answered.
"That's right," he said. "No time spent between us has been wasted. So I don't want to hear you talk like that again."
"Yes, sir," she answered with a smile and a soft kiss on his cheek.
"It's funny," he said.
"Most people think we have it all together," he answered. "They see a brilliant scientist and a hot-shot FBI agent… fearless… They'd be surprised to see that we're vulnerable to insecurities just like everyone else."
"I used to be impervious," she said.
"And I used to be impertinent," he said, bringing her hand to his lips.
"Oh, you're still as cocky as they come, Agent Booth," she said, "but I wouldn't have you any other way."
"Thank god," he said. "Come on, Bones. Let's go home."
"Home," she repeated. "I like the sound of that."