A/N The people over at Fox Broadcasting can only fit so much story into the 42 minutes of airtime between commercials. As the readers of my first fan fiction, The When and the How: A Bone to Pick, are well aware, I have my own ideas about what happens in Booth and Brennan's world when the cameras have stopped rolling. We know they continue to live their lives even though we don't get to watch. However, if you're like this diehard Bones shipper, you'd sure LIKE to see how their relationship is developing, and how they are working through those things that all new couples and expectant parents have to work through. The Meaning in the Episode is a series of one-shots that intends to do just that. In all ways, I attempt to adhere to Bones cannon with the exception of three small items which are detailed a the end of this chapter, which I hope you enjoy enough to continue reading as the season progresses!

~ MoxieGirl (~MoxieGirl44 on Twitter)

The Meaning in the Episode

Chapter 1 Chain of Custody

Set to coincide with Season 7, Episode 1

Leaving the Hoover Building after meeting with Sweets to complete the file on the Claire Seranno case, Booth turns the Sequoia west on Pennsylvania Avenue. Earlier that afternoon, Brennan had lost her balance and fallen while unpacking recently-delivered ancient vases from the Ming Dynasty circa 1412.

Two hours after the fall, Brennan had begun to feel a sharp recurring abdominal pain. Though she was convinced it was most likely nothing, she'd agreed without much resistance to stop by George Washington University Hospital to confirm her assessment. They are on the short ride to the hospital now.

Booth glances over at his silent partner who had been uncharacteristically quiet throughout the fifteen-minute briefing with Sweets.

They'd made a big decision today. After five months as a couple, they'd agreed, just this afternoon, to start looking for a shared "dwelling," as Brennan calls it. The decision hadn't come easily. Brennan had spoken crassly to Booth, angering him. Her words had been hurtful, perhaps even offensive, in his eyes.

If anyone else had made the comments she had, they could have irreparably damaged their relationship. But Brennan isn't any other person, and Booth is well aware of that. He knows she doesn't have a malicious, spiteful, or selfish bone in her body. He's been learning to listen to her words and take them at face value, because that is exactly how she means them. She always says exactly what she thinks, without hesitation, and sometimes without consideration for other's feelings, though she is getting better at that.

This time, however, what she said, and the crass way she said it, had been too much. Booth was angry as a result. Justifiably so. Brennan was trying to apply rationality to a life choice that had nothing to do with logic, and in the process she'd overlooked the fact that she and Booth are now a family, and families make decisions together. Sometimes the choices that are in the best interest of the family are not rational.

"I love you," he'd said once they'd taken some time apart. "That's not rational. Us having a kid, that's not rational."

Despite having come to their own conclusions in different ways, one from the head, the other from the heart, what mattered is that they had agreed, in the end, to combine their separate households and find a new home together. This home would be both of theirs from the start. A home to start a family in.

"Everything okay over there, Bones?" There's a stillness hanging in the air between them. He knows she's working on something in that beautiful head of hers. He's not worried, just curious, and well, maybe a little concerned.

From now on there will be numerous discussions, disagreements, and discoveries during the process of finding a new home. Childhood memories will be taken out, dusted off, and, hopefully, put to rest, even if only temporarily. But for now, another brick in the foundation of the life they are building together has been set in place.

Brennan sighs wistfully and turns toward the father of the child growing in her womb. She smiles in the dim light of the console. Not for the first time today, she admires his bone structure. The simple act of looking at this man gives her a palpable rush of Oxytocin, the pituitary hormone responsible for reducing anxiety and creating feelings of contentment, calmness, and security.

If she were to conduct a retrospective analysis, she'd have to admit that looking at her partner has had this affect on her for as long as they've known each other. However, more recently, the intensity and duration of these feelings has increased exponentially as a result of such reinforcing behaviors as the emotive glances, the constant affection, the tender and intimate words, the intense and emotional love-making. Once they took the hard-won final step of becoming lovers, all of this has brought forward for her a feeling of belonging that she never knew was possible. Tonight, she sits in the car across from him, admiring his silhouette, and is reminded of the first time she 'brailed' his face. 'Brailing' is what Booth calls it when she runs her fingers over his body, naming each of his bones as she goes.

The first time she had brailed Booth's cranium was the morning after Mr. Vincent Nigel-Murray had been killed on the lab platform at the Jeffersonian. Worried that Vincent's killer, Jacob Broadsky, might come after those close to Booth, he had insisted that Brennan stay with him at his apartment that night.

At 4:47 AM, that next morning, Booth had welcomed her into his bed to comfort her over the lost life of her favorite intern. Though they each individually wanted to, they did not make love that night. Their relationship deserved more than spontaneous comfort sex. Booth still had issues he needed to deal with before he could give himself to her. Bones had been working with Dr. Sweets to let go of the past and be willing to risk opening her heart to the kind of intimacy she knew a relationship with Booth would require.

It wasn't until over a week later, very late on a Tuesday, or, more accurately, very early on a Wednesday, that everything had finally fallen into place for them. That, my friends, is when they first consummated their relationship and perhaps even made the child now growing in her belly.

Regardless, Brennan considered that morning in Booth's bed after Vincent's death to be the catalyst for a series of events that brought them together, for once and for always.

In a flash, she remembers everything she was thinking and feeling when she first brailed Booth's face.

Despite her brain having been jump-started with the unsettling recollection of her intern's death the previous day and the gravity of what lay before them today, Brennan was acutely aware that she was in Booth's bed and so was Booth, just inches away. She listened to him breathe for a moment and prayed he wouldn't awaken, wouldn't return to today's harsh reality, until the last possible moment.

In their sleep they had moved apart, but were still lying in the same orientation. He was behind her, seemingly dead to the world. As quietly as she could, she rolled over to face him, leaving very little space between them. She could feel the heat of his warm body and feel his breath on the hairs of her forehead.

For several moments, she stared up at his beautiful face. Masculine, yet boyish in repose, she couldn't help but admire his bone structure. His prominent cheekbones, his jaw line, the strong brow dropping off toward his orbital cavities and nasal ridge. The lids concealing the eyes that she could live a lifetime gazing into and it would still never be long enough.

"I'm losing my edge," she thought to herself. "Getting mushy in my old age." She knew that what she and Sweets had been so diligently working toward for the last several months had made this softening inside her possible. Surprising herself, she conceded that she approved of this change – it brought with it a pleasing sense of contentment. Having spent many years living in the opposite, she was ready for this change.

Gently and quietly, she pulled her left arm from under the sheets and placed her middle finger along his hairline, tracing it from his left temple to his right, noticing the horizontal crevices that age and life had etched across his forehead. Over the last six years, the nearly invisible lines had grown deeper. She knew she was responsible for the deepening and the addition of some of those lines.

Booth's facial structure exhibited many of the markings of a good warrior, provider, and breeder. It also missed the mark in several small ways that gave him character, made him "Boothy," and endeared him to her.

As she gently traced his right eyebrow, fascinated by its growth pattern and its softness, Booth's eyes fluttered and slowly opened. Brennan paused in her tracks, but didn't pull away.

Booth exhaled, saying nothing, a hint of a smile on his lips. He didn't move, so she continued exploring.

"These," she began almost inaudibly, retracing his eyebrow, "are the Superciliary Arches." She returned to the space between his eyebrows and paused as she said "Glabella."

Traveling down the bridge of his nose, "the Nasal Ridge," she said, and watched as he slowly closed his eyes. She stopped just short of his lips. That was dangerous territory. "Maxilla," she said in a throaty whisper.

To the left of his nose, she gently outlined his right eye socket and traversed his cheekbone all the way to his ear, identifying as she went along, "The Zygomatic Process, the Sphenoid, and the Temporal bones."

Noticing Booth had reopened his eyes, she continued, outlining his jaw. "The Mandible, or the mental tuberosity," she whispered as she traced an invisible path across his chin and up the right side of his face. "The Zygomatic Arch, the Temporal bone once again, and the Occipital," she said, continuing behind his ear and into his hair at the back of his head, this time using two more of her fingers as well as the middle one. "The cervical vertebra," she said.

As her fingers trailed down, pushing gently on each of the four top vertebrae, Booth shuddered involuntarily and smiled a dreamy smile. Moving slowly along his trapezius muscle, she reached his shoulder bone. "The clavicle," she said, following it toward the center of his chest. When her finger came to rest in the dip of his collarbone, and before she could say, "Manubrium," Booth reached up and grabbed her hand like a snake springing upon its prey. He held her hand pressed against his chest, rising and falling with each of his breaths. His eyes traveled from her neck, to her lips, and eventually to her eyes where they rested. She glanced up at him, moving only her eyes.

Being so close to his bare chest, touching his hot smooth skin, inhaling and exhaling the same warm air the he was had an intoxicating affect on her. She felt dizzy and on the verge of passing out. Her breathing slowed and her eyelids felt heavy. The thrum and rush of her heartbeat filled her ears. At the same time, every cell of her body was alert and standing at attention for whatever might happen next.

"Is this what it's like for you, Bones?" He whispered. How could he sound so calm, she wondered. "When you look at the human body, do you see only bones?" he whispered.

"When I look at these bones," she said, barely above a whisper, "I see a miracle." They lay there and time stopped. A million memories of the two of them flashed by for each of them … each instrumental in bringing them to this moment – and suddenly had been clear that they were all worth it.

Sighing at the memory of how they were interrupted that morning by the shrill ringing of both of their cell phones, she brings herself back to the present.Yes, it was all worth it, she says to herself, smiling gently.

"Hey. Everything okay over there, Bones?" Booth reaches over and squeezes her knee, patting it twice before taking hold of the steering wheel again.

"I've been thinking about something Angela said to me today," she says, introspectively, looking out the passenger side window.

He can't tell from her tone if she intends to say any more. Booth takes his eyes off the road for a moment to look at her.

"What was that? What'd she say?"

"Well, when I told her I wasn't ready to move in with you, this was prior to me falling at the Jeffersonian, of course-"

"Of course," he says, very familiar with her need to be precise, marveling at how much he's come to enjoy those of her thoughts she chooses to share with him. One thing's for sure, there's never a dull moment when you're in love with a scientist, especially when that scientist also possesses a mind creative enough to write several best-selling crime novels.

"Angela said, 'You wound up in foster care. That would make anybody scared about starting a family'." Bones turns to stare at Booth's silhouette again.

"She's right," Booth says with an affirming nod of his head, switching back and forth from looking at her, and paying attention to the road.

She looks at him, quizzically. "But … I never said anything about foster care, Booth," she says, warily. She pauses and turns to look out the front windshield at the red lights of the cars ahead of them. It's already dark, the taillights ahead turning into starbursts as they hit the windshield and bounce off her corneas.

Booth waits, he can tell she has more to say; she's just formulating her thoughts. He reaches over, resting his hand on her shoulder, giving her trapezius several firm affectionate massage-quality squeezes.

Brennan slowly closes her eyes, rocking slightly, sideways, as he pushes and pulls on her shoulder muscle. She inhales, filling her lungs as much as possible considering she has a gestational biped from the hominid species stealing space from her other organs, and decreasing her lung's expansion capacity.

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmnnn," is the low sound emanating from somewhere in her chest as she exhales with a long, slow sigh.

"She just said it. Out of nowhere." she says, almost whispering, a catch in her throat.

"Are you okay?" He asks, taking a long look at her, sliding his warm hand further toward her neck, resting it there. The warmth of his touch soothes her. More Oxytocin. She closes her eyes again and succumbs to the peacefulness washing over her.

"Booth, I find that I agree with Angela's assessment of the cause of my reluctance. I do find myself wondering what will happen to our child if anything were to happen to us."

Her words hang in the air, a naked truth from her core. Opening her eyes, she turns toward Booth. Crossing her chest with her right arm, she lays her hand on top of his, which still rests on her shoulder. She presses firmly on the back of his hand, curling her fingers around his, insinuating her thumb into the warm space between her trapezius and the palm of his hand. She raises that shoulder and leans her head toward it, pressing her ear against their hands for just a moment.

"When you were abandoned, Bones, you didn't have any family to fall back on, but you and me? We have family. We have friends," he assures her.

"I know it is irrational, this concern of mine. We do have family here, even if they aren't biological relatives. My parents' case was a deviation from the norm," she says, "and you are making sense. Besides, the chances of what happened to me ever happening to our -"

"A billion to one, Bones," he interrupts, wanting to immediately calm her fears. "Go easy on yourself. Okay?" When he takes his hand off of her shoulder and places it on the steering wheel, his absence is palpable. Bones imagines the heat lifting off of her shoulder and dissipating into the air like the final wisps of smoke from a campfire. Though he's still sitting there in the car beside her, she feels a minute sense of loss.

"Given your experience, this is a legitimate fear. Okay?" Booth takes a right onto Constitution Avenue, stealing a glance at his partner. "I would be more worried if you didn't have this concern, these thoughts!"

"Really?" She's surprised, wanting what he says to be true.

"Really," he says confidently, nodding, rocking slightly forward for emphasis. He adjusts himself in his seat, leaning his left elbow on the car door, one hand loosely guiding the steering wheel. "Absolutely, Bones." He looks over, locking eyes with her, and smiles empathetically.

"I find your certainty comforting, but there's more," she says, turning toward him in her seat. "Angela indicated that it wasn't necessary for me to tell her I was afraid, because she already knew." She pauses. "Booth, how did she know it if I wasn't even aware of it?"

"Look, Bones, that's one of Angela's super powers, okay? She's freakily intuitive. And she's your best friend. She knows how you tick."

"I don't know what that means. I don't tick. Do I?" Her voice goes up an octave when she asks the question, her brows knit together.

"Like a clock," he says, nodding. "She knows how you work, how you think. She might not always understand it, but she'd very good at figuring it out. She knows what you value … rationality, empirical proof, precision, process, loyalty, and family."

"Okay, she knows me," she nods hesitantly. "A lot of people know me. Am I that easy to read, Booth?" Her voice cracks when she says this. She feels exposed and unremarkable, and this makes her uncomfortable.

"Not to everyone, but she's your best friend. You've said she's like a sister to you, right?"

"Yes, though it isn't possible for her to literally be my sister since we don't share the same parents. However, I do appreciate the parallel you're drawing for my benefit," she says, tilting her head and reaching over to touch his arm, smiling at him. He releases the steering wheel and takes her hand, sliding his fingers between hers, resting their joined hands on his thigh.

Brennan thinks for a moment. "She used to be my best friend," she says, looking out the window.

"Wha- What? Don't tell me your discussion ended up in an argument -"

"Oh, no. Of course not," she says, gently chiding him. "An argument could never devalue my relationship with Angela."

"Then -" Booth shakes his head, confused. "I don't get it. Why isn't she your best friend anymore?"

"'Best' implies the one above all others. There can only be one best, Booth, just like you said when we worked the polygamist case. There's always one you love the most, more than all the others, right?" She looks over at him, seeking confirmation that he recalls the case of the victim who had three wives and a pregnant girlfriend.

"I remember," he says, a smile slowly spreading across his face. He remembers their discussion the night they solved the case. That was when he assured her that there was always one you love the most. He was dating Hannah at the time, but he was thinking of Bones.

"Even in the material world," continues Bones, squeezing the fingers intertwined with hers, "while two substances or masses may appear empirically identical, there will always be a slight variation, an aberration, perhaps not discernible to the naked eye, but it is there," she explains. "There can only beone, that is superior; one who is above, and to the exclusion of all others. And for me, that one is you," she explains in an unsentimental tone, shrugging. This is not an emotional statement for her. It is an irrevocable, incontrovertible truth. That is how it is for her.

Unsentimental as it may have been for her, her declaration hits him in the chest like a blacksmith's 4142 alloy steel hammer on a solid steel anvil. He's silent. She never wavers in her love, her affinity, her loyalty to him. She's there, like a rock, strong and dependable. Always has been, without question. He loves this about her, and it still takes his breath away.

She loved him through a geographic separation, telling him upon return that while in the Maluku islands, she hadn't had the time or the inclination to seek affectionate male companionship. She was still loving him when he was in the midst of a misguided attempt to prove he could move on after she refused to take their relationship to the next step. She was loved him even when he had his head up his ass, licking his wounds for months after that relationship fell apart.

Brennan was there through it all. He came face to face with this reality three days after Vincent Nigel-Murray was killed. Many of the things Brennan had done for him, he had been blind to. Even when she broke his heart, it was out of her love for him and her fear that she would eventually hurt him and their relationship irreparably. She just couldn't do that, even if it meant hurting him less severely for a short term.

Without a doubt, she could provide him with tangible, repeatable, double-blind study-quality evidence that she has always loved him, but she never would. That's not her way. And he would never ask her to. He doesn't have to. He feels it in his gut. He doesn't need any other kind of proof.

"Wow," he says, pursing his lips, feeling a stinging sensation in his eyes, his eyebrows raised in humble surprise. He shakes his head as if he just saw something that couldn't possibly exist.

"Booth, I've told you this before, why do you sound surprised?"

"Because," he says after a moment, "well, I thought women have two best friends, right? Their … partner and a girlfriend."

"Booth, the term 'friend' is genderless," she contends. "And if we go by the definition, there can still be only one," she looks straight at him. Another one of her truths. "You are my best friend, Booth," she says, squeezing their joined hands once again, gesticulations with her other hand for emphasis.

"I guess I assumed … aren't women closer to each other than they are to their partners? I've known lots of women, married and single who have said they are closer to their girlfriends than they are to their spouses, emotionally at least."

"Now, that's frightening," she mumbles, her eyebrows raising as high as they can go. She stares out her side window.

"Why is that?"

"I love Angela," she says, sincerely, releasing her grip from his hand, crossing her arms and shaking her head. "I will always love Angela. But you are the one I choose to share my life with, to give my body to -"

When she makes statements like this, his insides do a flip-flop. Even when she's explaining in a neutral tone, like she is now, he finds her powerfully sexy, her words unmistakably intimate, and it takes his breath away. If they were at home, he'd get her naked and horizontal so fast she wouldn't even know what had hit her. It amazes him how oblivious she can be to the effect this has on him.

" - to start a family with, Booth," she continues, "to go on vacations with, to argue and reconcile with, to make the most important decisions in life with," she says, her shoulders raised as if to say, 'this should be completely obvious.' "How foolish would I be to risk entering into a relationship with you, invite you to participate in all of those things with me, if you were anything less than what constitutes, for me, my absolute best friend?" She looks at him. He says nothing, staring forward, his eyes on the road, a lump in his throat. He swallows dryly.

Veering to the right onto Virginia Avenue, he takes a right at 23rd street, then a right into the parking lot of George Washington University Hospital. He pulls into a parking spot as close to the front door as he can, and puts the gear into park, but leaves the car running.

"Bones, you never cease to amaze me," he says, dropping his chin to his chest, then turning to look over at her, clearing his throat, not knowing what else to say. I am so in love with you. Will you marry me, he thinks. Earlier this morning, he'd surprised her by declaring that one day she would propose tohim, rather than the other way around. The fact that her response had been, "That's ridiculous," rather than her usual, "That would never happen," was not lost on him.

"I'm surprised you would think that I would accept any less for myself, she says.

"You are so in love with me, it's almost embarrassing," he teases her gently, looking sideways at her, a goofy grin on his face.

"I am. I can't help it," she says, "your quite pleasing to look at, and to touch," she says, raising a suggestive eyebrow, and a smirk at him. Then she quickly adds, "Wait! I call do-over! I have a better answer … ask me the question again."

He chuckles. Never a dull moment. "I knew teaching you about the 'do-over' would bight me in the ass one day," he chuckles. "How could there possibly be a better answer than that? What you already said has taken me from zero, to I want to rip your clothes off, in under two seconds!" He shoots her one of his most beautiful grins.

"Come on," she whines, reaching over and poking him insistently on the arm.

"What? You are so in love with me, it's almost embarrassing? That wasn't a question -" He shrugs.

"No, I'm not in love with you," she jumps in, speaking in an exaggerated tone, "I'm just using you to satisfy me sexual needs," she says, grinning at him coquettishly with a wide-eyed stare and wiggling eyebrows. He's speechless. Delighted. And amused.

After a beat, they both crack up. Booth drops his forehead into his hand. "I've created a monster," he mumbles, his shoulders shaking as he continues to chuckle. "I'm just a Boy Toy to you, aren't I?"

"Bingo, baby," she blurts, grinning ear to ear. Her sense of humor has been improving over the last five months. Her comedic timing, however, is questionable. 'It's all in the timing,' he'd had to explain to her at one point.

"Now that was perfect timing," acknowledges Booth, impressed, still chuckling. He looks admiringly at the mother of his unborn child, grinning ear to ear.

"You like that, huh?" She grins back at him.

"Well done," he says, raising his fist toward her for a congratulatory fist bump. She reciprocates and they both chuckle for a while. "Shall we go in, or do you wanna hop in the back seat we me and make out for a while," he asks, extending his arm across to the back of her seat, leaning toward her suggestively. He looks at her like a hungry tiger looks at Bambi right before he pounces.

She leans her head to the side and squints at him, chuckling appreciatively. However, the prospect of the two of them, with her swollen belly between them, attempting to make out in the back seat of the Sequoia, sounds beyond uncomfortable.

"As wonderful as that sounds, Casanova, I don't think all three of us would fit," she says, apologetically, yet amused.

"Then I'll settle for some hot, front seat lip-locking," he says, leaning across the console and taking her face in his hands. He kisses her thoroughly, nibbling on her lips. He drags his chin up and down her jawbone because he knows that drives her crazy. After one more lingering wet sexy kiss, he leans back and just looks at her. She smiles a twinkly smile into his eyes.

"Wow," she says breathlessly, "If I weren't pregnant already, I would be after a kiss like that!"

Booth interprets that as a request for an encore. He leans in and kisses her once more, quickly, on her lips.

"You're happy," she says, touching his face.

"Yes, I am" he says, sighing, "and in a little bit of pain," he says pulling at the knees of his pants, wiggling around a bit, adjusting himself in his seat.

"We better get in there while you can still walk," she says, sighing through a Bones-y grin. "If we wait much longer, they might think you're a patient suffering from priapism. You'd be surprised how many people end up in the ER seeking relief from erections lasting longer than four hours. I understand priapism is a very serious and extremely painful condition."

"Can we please not talk about this?" Booth grasps the steering wheel, but leans back on the headrest, closing his eyes for a moment, trying to think of things like fuzzy bunnies, his mother, hockey, anything asexual. He shakes his head side to side. Never a dull moment, though I could use one right now,he chagrins.

"Did you know that the word 'penis' is actually taken from the Latin word for tail -"

"I do not. Have. A tail!" Insists Booth incredulously, turning his head to look at her, giving her the stink eye. "Come on, let's go."

He opens his door and gets out of the car. Brennan opens her door, but doesn't move. Booth comes over to her side of the Sequoia and looks at her quizically.

"I think I need help," she says, apologetically. He takes her arm and helps her lift her considerable girth out of the SUV. "After this afternoon's loss of balance, I'm not taking any more chances," she says.

"That would be a very good idea, Bones," he says, nodding and closing the car door behind her. "Want me to get a wheelchair?"

"I'm not paralyzed, Booth! I'm perfectly capable of walking the 200 feet to the Emergency room door," she says, walking on ahead of him to prove her point. Now he's the one not moving. She stops after fifteen feet, turning to look back at him. "Are you going to go into the emergency room with me, or what?"

"Yep. Let's do this thing," he says, shaking his head. He's still thinking about the tail thing. Sometimes he wishes he had a less than extraordinary girlfriend, but that is only on very rare occasions. He chuckles to himself, shaking his head.

They're seated in the waiting room. Brennan picks up where they left off with their earlier conversation.

"So, how did Angela know I had been thinking about ending up is foster care when I hadn't said anything to indicate that I was?"

"Well, as I said, intuition is Angela's super power. She knows you. She knows you life story. Wouldn't you say she knows what makes you happy, what angers you, what bothers you?" He's flipping through an outdated glossy magazine that has seen better days.

"I guess if I analyze our experiences together, I would find evidence that that is an accurate statement. Angela is very good at reading physical queues. Perhaps she also applies anecdotes from her experiences of me when I've exhibited those emotions -"

"Bones, doesn't it stand to reason that she would know, she could intuit, what concerns you greatly?"

She thinks for a moment, tossing a ratty Readers Digest back onto the hard waiting room chair beside her.


"So, couple that with what she knows of your childhood."

She thinks for a moment.

"She's seen you go through the ordeal of finding your brother … how much you love him, and how much his abandonment of you hurt you, right?"

"Well that was not all his fault. He did call me every year on my birthday and … I- I never answered or returned his calls. I didn't realize that I was pushing him away," she admits sheepishly.

"Right, but the point is, Angela understands that, and the impact your parents' abandonment had on you, and how painful it has been for you to have missed those years with your mother."

"But I don't see how -"

"-you said you have been thinking about those years right after your parents left, right?" He cuts her off mid-sentence. "She's probably noticed an expression, a look in your eyes, that she recognizes as childhood fear or pain."

"Well, as I said before, I have been thinking those thoughts. Apparently, it is quite natural during pregnancy. It's part of the nesting process. It is also hormonally driven, just like everything else seems to be lately. At least according to, "What to Expect When You're Expecting," which is not a very technical manual at all, by the way. I expected a great deal more explanation about fetal development, nutrition, and the birthing process. They only had four pages on nutrition and exercise. Can you believe that? I found the book unsatisfactorily lacking."

Booth chuckles. "Bones, that book is geared for mothers who are not as interested in the physiology of pregnancy. It's written to assure new expectant moms that everything is going to be okay, that their baby is going to be fine."

She furrows her brow. "What a waste," she says. "The writers missed a perfect opportunity to educate new mothers who are about to be responsible for the growth and development both physically, emotionally and intellectually of a real, miniature, human being. If that is all that expectant mothers are going to read, they might just as well just fly it, Booth."

"Fly it?"

"Yes. You know … enter into parenthood completely unprepared, make it up as they go along. They might as well fly it."

Booth laughs. "It's 'wing it, Bones. Maybe you should check into what 'Gray's Anatomy' has to say about pregnancy."

"The television show, right?" she says, looking right at him, one eyebrow raised, a sly grin on her face.

"Wow, that's two well-timed jokes in one night," he says, "Nice!" He nods and grimaces with approval. Fist bump. Brennan smiles a self-satisfied smile.

"Angela advised me to focus on what life was like during those years before my parents disappeared -"

"You can do that, Bones, if you want. But you and me? We're not Christine and Max Brennan. We're not my parents either. We're Booth and Bones. We'll do things differently than they did. We'll make-up our own definition of family and good times, right?"

Brennan nods, pressing her lips between her teeth.

After a moment, Brennan says, "Did I tell you I had a dream last night?" She waits for Booth to look up at her from a battered 2009 issue of Motorcycle Magazine.

"I dreamed I was on a roller coaster. The kind they have at Coney Island," she begins, looking for recognition in his eyes.

He nods, tilting his head to the side as if he can hear her better that way.

"I asked the conductor if he could slow down the ride for me."

"And what happened?"

"He said the ride only went one speed," she says, a dejected expression on her face.

"Hm," he says, putting his arm around her and pulling her sideways toward him. "Interesting."

She nods, leaning her head against his temple. "Anyway, I find that I truly am anxious. I wish things could slow down, even just a little, so I could catch my breath. I find that I feel the need to be cautious, and that's why I fall back on rational thought processes. Logic gives me comfort," she says, lifting her head and looking from one of his chocolate brown eyes to the other. That's how close they are sitting. "I really did not mean to upset you today, Booth."

"I appreciate that, Bones," he says.

"I just – I find myself at a loss for how to reason my way out of the irrational fear of my child ending up alone in the world," she says, a sorrowful expression on her face. She looks down at her hands in her lap, rotates her mother's ring around her right ring finger, then sneaks a peek out of the corner of her eye. She feels vulnerable, a sensation she still hasn't gotten used to even though she's been working on getting comfortable with the unknown, the uncontrollable, for quite some time.

"That's normal," says Booth, lifting her chin so she will look at him. "Even for extraordinary people." He flashes her a compassionate smile and kisses her on the forehead, pulling her close again. They sit like this for another five minutes. Brennan is lost in thoughts about her childhood for a moment.

"One other thing, Booth?"

"What's that?"

"Even if I do not understand your irrational fear of being like your father, I do respect it. I know you are a very different man than he is. My assessment of your behaviors and actions is that you are much more like Pops. My point is, I want you to tell me these things. If we both can identify and acknowledge our irrational fears, I think it will help us understand each other."

Booth nods, thinking how far she has come in the last year.

"I will still make mistakes, Booth I will get caught up in what is rational and logical. And I will hurt your feelings. All of a sudden, he thinks she looks much younger than her chronological age. "But, please know that I am trying," she says, with a supplicant look on her face.

"I usually do. Today was just -" he says, shaking his head and shrugging.

"I know," she whispers, nodding. "And right now, I need you to touch me," she says emotionally. "Every once in a while, for no … explainable reason … I need to be touching you." She shrugs with one shoulder, almost apologetically, and looks up at him. "Your touch has a calming affect on me." She smiles, for the first time since she started talking about her dream, her shoulders finally relaxing.

"I know what you mean," he says, a slow warm smile growing across his face. He offers her his hand, the one that's not wrapped around her. She takes it, sandwiching it between both of hers, resting them on her thigh. His hands are just the right size. Not so broad that she feels like a child, but wide and solid, his fingers strong and long enough to wrap around hers, making her feel protected and cherished. She never expected to enjoy holding hands as much as she does, even with Booth.

"Thank you," she says, sighing, and shaking her head. "This … whole experience is not what I expected," she says, chuffing, then chuckling nervously.

"I know what you mean," he says again, sinking his nose into her hair, planting a kiss above her ear.

"Dr. Brennan," calls a young man in scrubs holding a chart and pushing an empty wheel chair.

"That's us, " says Booth, raising a finger, standing, and nodding at the nurse.

"Dr. Carmichael," Booth shouts down the hall at the disappearing back in a white lab coat. The diminutive woman with grey hair and silver rimmed glasses continues walking but makes a quick U-turn, and returns to stand in front of Booth.

"Doctor, are you absolutely positive that this is just Braxton Hicks contractions, practice contractions?" Booth peaks over his shoulder toward the curtained area thirty feet away where Brennan is busy putting her clothing back on. "Because she will know. She's freaky like that. If you aren't being completely honest, she will know -"

"Mr. Brennan," says Dr. Carmichael, calmly, closing her eyes for a moment, then dropping her chin almost to her chest to peer over her glasses at him. "Mr. Brennan, I assure you, that is all this is. Your wife is healthy, and strong, and that baby is perfect at this point. The safest place for a baby is inside the uterus. It's when they come out that the trouble begins. So, breathe. Take a breath. She's fine! Okay?"

Booth relaxes, and does take a breath, watching Dr. Carmichael's face closely, searching for any trace of … anything other than utter confidence. "Okay," he says. "Okay." He inhales deeply, then says, "Thank you." He turns on his heal to return to Brennan, but stops and faces Dr. Carmichael again. "Doctor?"

"Yes, Mr. Brennan?"

Booth stares at the floor for a moment, chuckling, then looks up at her and says, "It's Agent Booth. Seeley Booth," and retraces his steps back to Brennan's curtained cubicle.

"I've been thinking about a possible solution to your concerns," he says, looking over at her. They are both more relaxed now, knowing that their baby is healthy and unharmed. Brennan has a bruised elbow and thigh which will fade away, but other than that, everything is exactly as it should be. "You know, about our child being left alone in the world?"

She looks at him, a complacent smile on her lips. She waits to hear what he has to say.

"What would you think of having Caroline draw up some legal paperwork for us?"

"What do you mean? I told you I don't need any kind of relationship prenuptial agreement, Booth. If I didn't trust you as much I do, I wouldn't be in this relationship."

"Oh, no. No, no, no," he assures her. "No, I'm thinking about some kind of, I don't know, chain of custody thing … you know, on the very outside chance that something were to happen to the both of us." Neither of them has mentioned that their jobs involve dangerous, sometimes life-threatening situations. They don't have to; they are both well aware of the potential risks of their chosen professions.

"What do you mean?" She chews on the inside of her bottom lip, concentrating on is words.

"Okay, like, something that says that in the event that anything should happen to us, our child would go live with Angela and Hodgins -"

"Oh!" she blurts, her hand flying to her mouth. This is a great idea.

"And it could state that if anything were to then happen to Angela and Hodgins, our child would then go live with Russ and his family. Now, what's the likelihood that something would happen to all six of us at the same time, huh?"

"That is perfect, Booth!" She is overwhelmed with excitement and relief. "Oh, that is such a near-perfect solution," she says. "Nothing can be 100% perfect, but that comes within -"

"It comes pretty close, right?" he says, feigning arrogance. "That's why you keep me around, Lady!" he chuckles.

"How would you like to have intercourse with a pregnant woman when we get home?" she asks with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

Booth, shakes his head. "No, that doesn't appeal to me in the least," he says, shooting her a grin across the car, "But I'd be more than happy to make wild passionate love to one," he says with a wink that causes a chain reaction in her brain, sending a shock of adrenaline coursing through her blood stream.

"Oh hohhh," she says, shoving his shoulder, feigning irritation. "You had me worried there for a moment. A very short moment, " she chuckles. "I've never known you to turn down an offer of inter - love making," she says, pinching his cheek.

"Hell no! You could be twelve months pregnant, covered in mud and dried leaves, having just eaten a raw onion and clove of garlic, and I'd still accept that offer, " he says, grinning at her.

They both crack up, because they both know it is an absolutely true statement.

Notes: Five months is a fairly hefty chunk of storyline between the end of S6 and the beginning of S7, folks! There's also a lot, emotionally and developmentally, that would have needed to happen to bring Booth and Bones together as a couple satisfactorily. Therefore, as the crafter of this series, I have taken a few liberties ... liberties which you will not find it difficult to swallow. If you have read my other story, The When and the How: A Bone to Pick, you will know exactly what I'm referring to here.

1) It felt out of character to me, after all these years, that Booth and Bones' romantic relationship would begin with spontaneous comfort sex after VNM's death. As Booth would say disappointedly, "That was our moment? That's it?" Despite what HH is purported to have said, I just can't see that happening. Therefore, I have added a week to the timeline between VNM's death and the first glorious incidence of what we are all certain must have been some wildly mind-blowing whoopee, right? During that week, B&B do a lot of talking, a lot of kissing, and have a ton of fun while working a case almost exclusively out of town, which gives them some privacy and room to figure some things out. In the process, they make a conscious decision together to move forward. There's lots of sizzle between them as they start to work things out, and it makes a lot more sense than spontaneous comfort sex, IMHO.

2) Before they could come together, Booth had to do some healing. In my version, (which is fully detailed in my other fanfic, The When and the How: A Bone to Pick) he's had an epiphany and is able to snap out of his post-Hannah, I'm angry at womankind funk. You won't see the epiphany here, though there may be a reference every once in a while.

3) Also, Brennan was still in need of some support in overcoming her past, feeling comfortable taking risks, and developing a fully open heart. In my version, she spent some time working with Sweets on this. You may see references to this, also.

If you can stomach what I've warned you about, move forward ... regardless, your feedback is important to me, please do not be shy to provide it!

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