"Booth." He answered his phone like he always did, even when he knew it was her calling. Seemingly a habit he'd never tried to break. It was solid and consistent. Reassuring. And reassuring is what she wanted right now.

She didn't want to admit that she actually needed it, but she was feeling wildly irrational and just hearing his voice - that one word - already calmed her. She'd found excuses to call him more frequently than usual over the past two weeks, using lab information as a front most of the time. At one time Booth seemed to sense that her professional call was actually personal and questioned her. Likely he had always known, but his impatience finally won out.

Even then she could not bring herself to admit to him that she just wanted to hear his voice. To have that physical evidence of him throughout the day. And even then, she could hear the smile in his voice when he backed off at her denials of anything wrong.

Somehow Angela figured it out, too. She walked in on one of those phone calls and gave her that look she always does when she feels like she knows more about what Brennan is feeling than Brennan herself. She found it annoying, even if Angela validated her uncertain emotions most of the time.

"I didn't like being separated from Hodgins when I got really close to my time, either," Angela placated. "I was ready for Michael to come, but at the same time I wasn't at all ready, you know?"

Brennan shook her head, nonplussed. "No, I don't know. I find that paradoxical descriptions usually reflect a person's excuse to be vague and inaccurate. I don't find them useful at all."

"Okay, so it's like I really wanted Michael to come. We had everything ready for him and I was really excited to see him. But sometimes I would think about how scary it was, too. What if he cried all the time and I couldn't soothe him? What if I drop him? What if I find out it's too hard?"

"That is a better description of your feelings and not at all the same as what you tried to tell me before. You felt excited sometimes and scared other times."

Angela leaned back, pulled into her chest the file folder she was holding, and gave Brennan a smile. "Yes. And isn't that what you've been feeling, too?"

Brennan thought this over. "I do feel excitement about when our daughter will be old enough to appreciate the artifacts in museums. I look forward to showing her what all of the bones in her body look like and how each of them contribute to our movement."


"I'm quite sure I will not drop the baby, and there are many ways to soothe a crying baby. She will stop crying eventually."

"Right," Angela smirked, "babies do. But I might remind you of this conversation in another month. So what is it, then?"

"What do you mean?"

"Babe, we both know you didn't need to call Booth with that information you just gave him. It wasn't anything that would really help him. So there was some other reason."

Brennan hadn't wanted to share the real reason with Angela. She couldn't explain why she didn't want to, but the wall went back up, and she'd brushed Angela off.

That first Christmas…that particular first Christmas, she'd run down the stairs, positive of what she would see, and more importantly, of what she would hear. But there had been nothing. No quiet conversations over morning coffee. No scrapes of a chair moving back from the table. No crinkling or crisp sounds of the newspaper pages folding or flipping through the air. No laughter.

No return of her parents.

She knew that Booth would not leave her. He would not leave their daughter. However, at one time she had also felt sure that her parents would never leave. She recognized that the situations were different. She was not a naïve fifteen. Booth was not the same kind of man as Max. Booth will stay. Of this she was certain.

And yet.

She once told Booth that he had reassuring brown eyes. It had always been his eyes that truly kept her confident in his words, in spite of when she knew his words to be false. His eyes always conveyed his sincerity of thought and intention.

His voice was the next best thing when she did not have his eyes to reassure her in those brief moments when she felt overwhelmed by how her life had changed and was about to change. Because of these changes, his strong, professional voice in the middle of the day, unsuspecting of her motives, proved even better than his eyes. He was an excellent listener, but an even better observer. The one minute professional exchanges achieved their goal. The unreasonable worry dissipated, a fleeting moment quickly forgotten.

And in this moment, everything was about to irrevocably change. She needed the familiar sound.

"Booth." He answered his phone. Solid. Consistent. Reassuring.

"It's time," she told him.