Sometime in early November, I was feeling particularly feisty and I got it into my head to pick an epic fight with some1tookmyame. Maybe it was Bones finally coming back on the air, maybe it was the half box of chocolate mint cookies in me, but mostly I think it was this photo she had posted on her twitter of ZOMBIE LAWN GNOMES ripping a lawn flamingo apart. Entrails hangin' out and everything. Slightly gory? Maybe. But also hilarious beyond reason. So I was all, "write me a zombie gnome fic," and she was all, "umm, yeah no." And I picked and picked and picked at her, and eventually she proposed to write the zombie gnome fic in exchange for a birthday fic. With very specific parameters. I was so overjoyed by the prospect of zombie gnome fic I wasn't even mad about the fact that I'd been coerced into writing smut and angst once again. So that explains this, and everyone should take a second to wish her the best of birthdays. Enjoy, #twittermom. I hope your day is full of awesome.

Thanks to eitoph for the date suggestion that made all the jumping a little more cohesive. You are a star :)


The Floors Are Falling Out From Everybody

He's not a magic man, or a perfect fit;
he had a steady hand and I got used to it,
And a glass cage heart, and invited me in...
And now I'm just a basket case without him.

Basket Case, Sara Bareilles

December 30, 8:49pm

They sit across the table from one another and there's no eye contact, but it's not for Booth's lack of trying. He makes no attempt to hide his gaze as she pushes the food around on her plate, willing her to look at him, but she won't. He knows she feels it. He can see the flush spreading from the flash of breastbone visible in the valley of her t-shirt all the way through to her cheeks. But the colouring is triggered by anger as opposed to the arousing emotions his eyes often bring rushing to her surface, and he knows the difference.

"It's just a graze, Bones."

He sighs as she pushes herself forcefully back in her chair and stands, picking up her dishes and throwing them into the sink before walking out of the room.


December 30, 3:14pm

"Hey, you're with me; let's go."

Booth has already turned to walk down the hall, and Sweets stares after him incredulously before he remembers he has the ability to speak. Sort of.

"Huh?"

Booth exhales impatiently and steps back inside the office. "Bones stayed home today and I'm gonna go make the arrest. Hodgins matched fibres from the- you know what? Not important right now. You want to come or not?"

"Oh, totally." Sweets scrambles out of his chair and grabs his suit jacket. "I was just reviewing the profile I did for you. This is way better."

"Settle down, okay? Don't make me regret this before we even get out of the building."


December 30, 4:22am

Booth and Brennan wake at roughly the same time to cries for their attention from down the hall. Booth makes it out of bed first and Brennan thinks she should maybe protest, but she's been sleeping for less than an hour and she's beyond tired. So she lies back beneath the blanket and keeps an ear half-tuned to his movement.

Claire cries harder when she sees her father appear in the doorway and he picks her up groggily, murmuring comforting nonsense in her ear.

"What's the matter, baby?"

"Ow," she says tearfully, scratching at her throat. "It hurts when I swallow. It hurts."

Booth frowns and brings her down the hall, and by the time he steps back into his bedroom, Brennan has turned on the bedside lamp and is slowing dragging herself up to a sitting position.

"What's wrong?"

"She's sick."

He defers to Brennan in these situations, and as she checks temperatures and touches lymph nodes, he's grateful for the umpteenth time that the mother of his child is a genius. He still worries, but with her, he worries less.

Many more tears are shed before Claire falls back to sleep, and Brennan and Booth sit exhausted against the headboard as they try to piece together a plan of action for the upcoming day.

"You should stay," Brennan says, even though it's obvious to him that this pains her. "You can't go any further with the investigation until we find something at the lab... it's the logical decision."

Booth rubs the back of his neck and shakes his head. "No. You've gone over that body a million times; you've already given me everything you can. It's all on Hodgins at this point. You stay."

She wants to accept this, but her sense of duty pulls at her and she feels the need to argue (albeit weakly). "I could have missed something."

"I trust you, Bones. If you tell me there isn't anything left for you to find, then there isn't anything left for you to find. Stay with Claire. I'll go to work and if something comes up, I'll let you know and we can figure out where to go from there."

Brennan nods once and gently strokes the matted dark hair of their daughter, fast asleep between them. And her heart breaks a little at the small laboured breaths cyclically expelled from small lungs.

"Thank you," she says.


December 30, 5:38pm

"I'm looking for Seeley Booth; I was told he was-

"Are you a relative?"

She's thrown off by the interruption and offended by the question, by the idea that anyone in the world could not just know that she and Booth are intertwined. She hitches the dead weight of her slumbering daughter higher and absently rubs the child's back in small circles when she stirs.

"We're his family, yes."

It's a variation of a strategy she's employed before; I'm a doctor. People make assumptions and then they make allowances, and this is one situation in which she never feels that pressing need to correct everyone around her in exact, linear terms. It's not a lie. She's not married to Booth but she is his medical proxy and she's every bit as entitled to his information, to him, as she would be if they were husband and wife. But she knows this system and she knows the time consuming search for legal documents and demands for identification that would stall this process. And she can't wait. She can't. She needs to see Booth, she needs to see his medical charts, and she needs to know that everything will be okay.

It's not a lie. It's the act of a woman who loves her partner fiercely.

"Patient's name?"

Brennan squares her shoulders – as much as is possible while holding a young child – and answers in a clipped tone.

"Booth. Seeley Booth."

There is a minute of calm typing during which Brennan breathes steadily and tries to keep her fragile grip on her professional demeanour. But with the nurse's next words, it disappears into the sterile air surrounding her.

"There's no record of a Seeley Booth being admitted today."

She takes a step forward. "I received the phone call less than an hour ago. Check again. Seeley." The rare enunciation feels strange on her tongue. "S-e-e-l-e-y."

More typing. And as Brennan studies the nurse's face, she knows the answer coming to her before the woman even opens her mouth.

There's a helpless shrug and a muttered apology, and at least this time she has the decency to look as if any of this matters to her. And then she dares to suggest that Brennan has made a mistake. That Booth has actually been taken to another hospital. As if Brennan could ever make that kind of an error with something as important as Booth. But after more minutes of careful argument and fruitless searches, there isn't much left she can do except phone other hospitals and hope in the back of her mind that maybe this time she is wrong.

She can't be rational about his injuries when she doesn't even know what they are, and the situational blindness would have her losing her temper if not for the grounding weight of her daughter. So she doesn't raise her voice, even though it would feel really, really good right now. Her arms ache and she tilts her hip to more evenly distribute Claire's mass, and she focuses on following the slow automated prompts sounding in her ear.


December 30, 7:12am

"I do not understand your aversion to pants."

"What? It's not an aversion to pants, Bones. I just get ready in stages. It's part of my process. What's it to you, anyway? You've got plenty of weird morning habits; do I say anything? No."

"That's not true. You make comments. Frequently."

"Not nearly as much as you do. Have you seen my-

"In the hall closet."

"Thanks."

Brennan acknowledges him with a distracted mm hmm as he leaves the room, but her attention is mostly focused on the little girl sitting despondently in her lap.

"Open your mouth, Claire."

"No." Claire stubbornly pushes her face into Brennan's chest and shakes her head aggressively.

"Sweetheart, I understand that you find the taste to be less than appealing, but medicine is designed to be effective, not palatable. Your juice is right here," Brennan pulls the lidded cup closer to them along the table. "You may use it to neutralise the bitter flavour."

"I don't want it."

It takes some more coaxing, but eventually the children's cough and cold syrup is ingested with a minimal amount of crying. The minor battle of wills robs the three year old of almost all her energy, and she's resting listlessly against the warm body of her mother, drinking her juice, by the time Booth walks back into the kitchen fully dressed and ready to leave.

Booth gives Brennan a quick kiss and then pulls Claire out of her lap.

"See ya later, Claire Bear," he says animatedly. He blows a raspberry on his daughter's belly and she emits a weak giggle, despite her discomfort. "Feel better, okay?"

"I've told you not to call her that."

"Oh that's right!" he continues in that same enthusiastic tone, speaking to his daughter. "Mommy hates bears!"

"I do not hate bears!" Brennan objects adamantly.

"You're prejudiced against them, Bones. Admit it."

"I will do no such thing. My unwillingness to encourage her to play with bears does not mean I hate them."

"Bears are a sensitive subject for your mother, Claire. You need to respect that." Booth gives his child a mock stern look and she doesn't necessarily understand the banter but she knows the tone, and she laughs again before hugging him tight.

"Bye daddy."

"Bye, pretty girl. See you guys tonight."


December 30, 2:17am

She picks up a bone, puts it back. Reaches for another, puts it back. Then her mouth sets in a firm line and she rests her hands on her hips. They've reached that point in the investigation when Booth is convinced he knows who has killed their victim and why, but it's all speculation and circumstantial evidence and he needs her to find something he can use to make an arrest. She's looked over the body enough times to memorise it, and she's as certain as she can be that she's already found everything the bones have to offer, but she looks again. For him.

He's been hovering almost constantly, so it surprises her when she hears his voice in the doorway telling her that it's time to go home.

"I'm almost finished," she says automatically without looking up.

"You need to sleep, Bones. I need to sleep. Hodgins and Angela are packing it in; Claire and Michael should get to spend at least a couple hours in their own beds."

At the mention of their daughter, Brennan pauses and then gives a curt nod of her head. Her father is out of town and she doesn't feel comfortable leaving Claire this late with anyone outside of her family. Hodgins and Angela share this trepidation with Michael. So their children sleep comfortably on the futon in Angela's office and they all push on.

By the time she has secured the skeleton of their victim, Booth has gathered Claire and her bag and returned.

"Ready?"

Her daughter is only three but her limbs are long, and her legs dangle slightly past Booth's arms where this time last year, they had fit so neatly. Brennan smiles, because her partner is large and her daughter is so small in comparison, and the contrast does something strange to her insides.

"Ready."


December 30, 5:55pm

Booth walks into the corridor in search of a coffee machine, but instead he finds Brennan, struggling to maintain her grip on Claire while speaking into her cell phone in low tones.

"Bones," he calls in surprise. In next to no time he reaches her side and immediately relieves her tired arms of their daughter. "What are you doing here?"

Claire presses her face into his shoulder and she unconsciously tightens skinny arms around his neck. His grip automatically tightens in kind, and he watches as a series of emotions flit across his partner's face. There's relief and then uncertainty and for a brief second he thinks she may cry, but that's before fury sets in. It's the last emotion he sees before she shutters herself behind a curtain of neutrality.

"What the hell is going on, Booth?"

He opens his mouth with the intention of reminding her that he had actually been the one to ask a question first, but common sense prevails just before the words form on his tongue and he pulls them back.

In a voice that is calm and collected, he answers her and prays that it sparks calm collectedness on her end in return.

"Our boy took a few shots at us when Sweets and I went to make the arrest. Sweets got hit in the shoulder, but he'll be fine. They're stitching him up now."

"They told me..." her voice is strained, but he knows her well enough to see that it's anger strangling her, not sadness, so he doesn't touch her. He sways rhythmically with their daughter still braced against his strong chest and waits for Brennan to find the control she needs to finish her thought. "I was told that you had both been brought here to receive medical attention."

There's a slight emphasis over the word 'both' followed by a short pause before she completes the sentence, and Booth grimaces.

"Nah, I'm fine."

"Yes, I can see that."

"Bones-

"You're favouring your right arm," she interrupts.

Booth shifts uncomfortably. "One of the bullets winged me... it's not a big deal; I didn't even need stitches," he continues hurriedly off her steady gaze. She's still being careful to keep her features controlled, but there is this part of him vainly hoping that if he can handle this just right in the now, they won't have to fight about it for the rest of the night. "The paramedics slapped a few of those tape strip things over it on the scene and let me go."

"That 'tape' is fundamentally just a variation of conventional stitches," she informs him impassively, crossing her arms. "In any event, I should take Claire home. You're certain that Sweets is not seriously injured?"

"Yeah, Bones. You can come see for yourself," he offers casually.

It's selfish, but he's hoping to distract her. The less time she has on her own, the less time she has to think of every reason under the sun she can to be mad at him.

"Okay."


December 30, 4:43pm

Though she's undeniably sick, Claire revels in the novelty of being home alone with her mother in the middle of the day. She fights sleep and Brennan loses count of the number of books read, board games played, and puzzles completed. Once that novelty wears off, however, Claire's behaviour is every bit average for a child her age. She continues to fight sleep, but she's cranky. She cries easily and often. She's sick and she's miserable, and no amount of her mother's soothing can quite make her comfortable.

So Brennan settles them in her and Booth's bed and cuddles her daughter close, and when Claire finally drifts off to sleep, Brennan is exhausted enough to follow suit.

And then the phone rings.

It's enough to effectuate instant alertness; not only is she afraid the noise will wake her child, but Booth had called a little before three o'clock to bring her up to speed on Hodgins' findings and the pending arrest warrant, and sitting on the sidelines while Booth does their job makes her uneasy. Even though, today, she knows she's where she needs to be.

"Brennan," she says softly.

"Dr. Brennan, it's Agent Shaw. Genevieve. Shaw."

She hadn't bothered to check the display before picking up, and the sound of a voice that most certainly does not belong to her partner momentarily puts her off balance. But her brain shifts into gear quickly and she slides smoothly out of the bed and into the hallway, leaving the door not-quite-closed behind her.

"Where's Booth?"

It takes close to fifteen minutes for her to get out of the house. In another lifetime she could have packed up and left in three minutes flat – on a bad day – but having a child changes everything. She has to wake Claire and dress her, and the little girl remains more asleep than not. It's a slow process and it just about rips Brennan in two when Claire gains enough consciousness to whine that she's sleepy and doesn't feel good and please, mommy. I don't want to go outside. I don't want to.

Fortunately, Claire is asleep again almost as soon as Brennan lifts her, and by the time she's secured in the backseat, Brennan can tell by her breathing that she's likely to remain so for a while.

Brennan carefully backs the car out of the driveway and she drives quickly but responsibly, even though the urge to weave recklessly in and out of traffic is strong. Because having a child changes everything.


December 30, 6:40pm

Brennan purposefully keeps a half step behind Booth in a manner that is nearly imperceptible as he walks her to her car. Claire had woken in the hospital just long enough to ingest more fluids and a small dinner, and she's once again balanced in Booth's capable grip, sound asleep and pliant. Brennan finds her deep sleep comforting. She herself is not always a sound sleeper and Booth is even less so, and it seems to her that they must be doing something right if Claire can fall asleep almost anywhere and remain asleep for hours.

Her partner. Her daughter. She studies the easy way they fit together and tries to imagine a life with Claire and no Booth. "Imagining" is not something she particularly enjoys outside the safe zone of her novels, but she tries.

She unlocks the car and Booth smoothly opens the back door and transitions Claire to her car seat. He makes it look easy, even though she has had to juggle keys and bags and her daughter before and she knows that it can be anything but.

In the now she finds it difficult to picture a sudden absence of Booth, but she doesn't require imagination in order to recall the involuntary quickening of her heart that had immediately followed the phone call from the FBI. More than six years ago her heart had raced and then frozen inside of her when she had been told he hadn't survived the bullet that he had taken in order to protect her. Today, the mere thought of him being injured had been enough to trigger an identical reaction.

She had loved Booth then in a way she hadn't been able to recognise, and she can admit – now – that she would have never been the same had he not lived. And now they work together and they live together and they sleep, eat, shop, travel, shower, and almost-everything-in-between together; when she takes both a literal and figurative step back in these moments, she sees that somewhere along their journey it has become difficult to conclusively draw a line where one of them ends and the other begins. When she takes both a literal and figurative step back in these moments, every time she is surprised by how intertwined her life has become with his.

It's more than a tightening in her chest, more than a sudden influx of complex emotion – of so much happiness it very nearly hurts – and more than just the occasional realisation that they often go days without spending more than a few hours apart.

She wouldn't change it. Not for anything. But this doesn't mean her heart doesn't break at the thought of having it all ripped away from her. It doesn't mean she's not furious with him for not thinking hard enough to make a ten second phone call.

Booth shuts the door as quietly as he can manage and Brennan pauses with her fingers wrapped around the driver's side handle.

"Let me know when you're on your way home," she says, avoiding his eyes. "I'll start dinner."

It's as much as she can offer right now.


December 30, 8:52pm

Booth rises from the table and takes a few minutes to clean the kitchen before following her. The counters and stove have already been wiped down – she usually cleans as she goes when she cooks – but he puts the food away and takes her plate out of the sink so that he can scrape what she hadn't finished into the garbage, and he washes. He even dries instead of leaving the dishes in the draining bin.

He checks on Claire on his way down the hall and moves her body away from the edge of the low mattress, placing her closer to the wall on her other side. She sniffles, but her skin is dry to his touch and she's breathing easier, and Booth is smiling by the time he leaves her room.

It doesn't last long.

The only light in their bedroom seeps in through the gap between the bathroom door and the floor, and when he turns the knob, it's locked.

His brow furrows. "That's really mature, Bones."

He hears the water slosh in the bathtub, but she doesn't answer.


December 30, 9:07pm

Brennan listens to the way he addresses her through the door and she wonders if he even realises when he adopts his federal-agent-cajoling-irrational-suspect tone of voice. For his sake, she hopes he doesn't. She finds it condescending and it makes her even less inclined to speak with him.

When he begins making these little comments he knows will piss her off (he's willing to settle for any reaction at this point), Brennan clenches her teeth tightly and sinks fully below the water level. For a while she enjoys the illusion of weightlessness and the sound of her own heart and the pressure of the water against her ears, but she can only hold her breath for so long before it becomes uncomfortable. She surfaces, inhales deeply, wipes water and hair out of her eyes... and then sees Booth sitting on the closed toilet seat beside her.

She can't help being startled for just a moment, and this only adds to her irritation. But she recovers quickly and submerges herself up to her neck with a scowl.

"You're mad at me."

Brennan scoffs at this and doesn't bother with a reply.

"Bones, come on, would you just come out of there? I can't- I can't focus when you're naked."

"I fail to see how that's my concern. You're the one who broke in here."

Booth releases a small exhale of relief - since she's speaking to him for what's really the first time since she left the hospital - but they're a long way from a cordial end. They re-enact that scene from the kitchen where he stares at her and she refuses to acknowledge him, and then Booth decides that any move on his part would be better than this.

He stands and pulls off his shirt in one fluid motion; Brennan straightens quickly and sends the water dangerously close to flooding over the side of the tub.

"What are you doing?" she demands.

Booth shrugs casually as he unzips his pants. "If you won't come out, I'm coming in. Simple as that."

"I'm not comfortable with this."

It's Booth's turn to scoff. "You don't have a modest bone in your body. In fact, I'm pretty sure you were a nudist in another life."

"What I mean to say, is that there isn't enough room."

"We both know that's not true," he retorts suggestively.

Brennan finds herself clenching her teeth together again, but his smile doesn't waver and she can't help taking in the vitality of his expression and comparing it to the images that had jumped to the forefront of her mind at the hospital.

Booth sees the minor chink in her wall and seizes his chance before she can repair it. "Ten minutes. Ten minutes of you and me, and then we can fight this out 'til morning."

She doesn't agree, but she doesn't disagree either and that's good enough for Booth. His boxers join the rest of his clothes on the floor and she shifts just enough for him to step in behind her.


December 30, 9:16pm

She shudders when he lowers himself into the water. It's one of those base reactions she can't control and she's a little resentful of the fact that her body is willing to respond to him even when she would rather not. But once he is settled and they are skin against skin, something inside her settles as well and above all else, she's just glad he's okay.

The hard planes of his body are slick and smooth under her fingers, and she wants to put her lips against his tan skin and taste the salt and water and warm life that lie on it. So she understands when he pulls her against his chest and lowers his head to the curve of her shoulder. She understands his need to press his mouth to her flesh and nip gently. But when he nuzzles her neck and kisses that spot just beneath her ear, her anger returns with a vengeance and she pushes away from him.

Water splashes onto the bare tiles and soaks through the mat next to the tub; she doesn't care.

"Stop it!"

"I didn't do anything!"

"You make me so angry. I'm angry, Booth. You can't just kiss me like that; it's not fair."

"I get that you were scared, Bones. But I was doing my job, and I'm fine."

He's beginning to lose his own patience now, since this is a circular argument and there can never be resolution. This job is what they do; it's who they are. And it's not the first time since they've been together that something like this has happened. It's not even the first time this year.

"That's not the point." Goosebumps begin to rise on her arms as her wet skin meets the cool air. "The point is, you got shot and you didn't even think to call and tell me what happened. I had to drag our sick child with me to the hospital-

"I don't understand why you didn't just leave her with Angela-

"Because that would have taken time, Booth. It wasn't fair to her; I realise that. But I wanted to get to the hospital quickly and it was the only solution that came to me."

"Shaw shouldn't have called you."

"You should have called me."

"I would have if I had known it was going to turn into this big thing."

"The FBI does not have a history of communicating well with me where you are concerned. You know that, Booth. You- you should have called."

Brennan folds her limbs inward and shivers, though the temperature of the water is still quite warm. Booth realises what a stupid place this is to have this conversation.

"I'm sorry," he says sincerely.

"I wasn't with you today," she states, as if he had never spoken.

"No; you were home with our daughter. Who was sick, and needed you to be here."

"Yes."

She doesn't add to this and Booth tries to keep from banging his head off a wall. "I can't read your mind, Bones."

Something flickers in Brennan's eyes too rapidly for Booth to pinpoint it, but she recovers whatever piece of herself she had temporarily lost and she straightens her spine. She isn't furious anymore, but she's left behind that decidedly fragile state as well and he can do nothing but wait for her to make the first move.

Instead of elaborating on her previous thought, Brennan turns toward him and gently corrects the position of his injured arm. "You're supposed to keep these dry."

Booth takes the opportunity to draw her back against his chest and she shivers again as her upper body readjusts to the hot water. But she doesn't resist him.

"I'm sorry," he whispers in her ear. "I'm sorry I made you worry. I'm sorry our wires got crossed. I'm sorry I got shot."

"You don't have to apologise for getting shot, Booth. I feel that was most likely outside your control."

"So we're good then?" he asks hopefully. "You forgive me?"

But the distress of hours earlier lives on and she's not quite ready to let this go. Not entirely. "I hate worrying."

This sparks a small flare of something between anger and irritation in Booth. He's been trailing his hands over her stomach under the water, touching as much of her as he dares, but with her words his hands drift upward and he tweaks her nipples just a little roughly.

"Booth," she gasps. Her back arches automatically and he's fairly certain the mention of his name is meant to be a reprimand, but it's a weak one and she doesn't jerk away.

"You think it's not fair that you were worried?" he rasps, continuing his slow, torturous massage of her breasts and biting the soft skin of her shoulders. "I worry about you all the time, Bones. All the fucking time. Every moment you're not in my sight I'm worrying about you."

Brennan forces a steady breath and she's glad, so glad, that they aren't facing one another.

"That's who you are, Booth. It's not who I am. The facts come first, and then the appropriate level of concern follows. That is how it should be."

"This isn't the first time."

"No. But it upsets me when I'm not there to assess the damage."

One of his hands glides down her body and he feels her muscles tense in anticipation.

"Hate to break it to you, but the logic ship has sailed, Bones. Part of loving people is worrying about them excessively. That's just the way it is."

She frowns and wants to snap at him that she's not an idiot and she has long since come to understand this and can't she just be allowed to vent? But his hands are doing wonderful things to her body and it's difficult to concentrate.

"I acknowledge this. And yet, I continue to find it frustrating. And you frustrating."

Booth chuckles. "Noted."

His lips hover over that same spot beneath her ear, and this time she tilts her head and exposes the length of her neck in silent invitation.

There's surrender, and the water gently laps against the walls of the tub in a steady rhythm separate from their own.


December 30, 10:06pm

It's hardly late, but neither of them has slept for the better part of three days and it proves impossible to keep their eyes open. So they collapse face first in a heap on their bed and decide it's as good a position as any to settle in for the night.

"Claire won't sleep through to morning," Brennan mumbles into her pillow with certainty. "She fell asleep too late, and then I let her sleep too long."

"Maybe she will," Booth responds without opening his eyes.

She doesn't.

Their day comes to an end in much the same way that it had began; tending to a little girl who won't sleep while they wish desperately that she would so that they could. Unfortunately, Claire seems worse than she had in the morning, so they repeat the battle with the children's Tylenol and they dry some more tears along the way, and this time Brennan is more direct in expressing her desire to stay home. This suits Booth fine. Every time his children get sick he finds it difficult to overcome the thought that what appears to be a standard cold could potentially be something much more serious, but even the subtlest of symptoms would never conceivably elude Brennan and this makes him feel safe.

The alarm goes off less than two hours after Claire finally goes to sleep, and Booth silences it quickly before beginning his morning routine. Before he leaves, he returns to the bedroom and places a gentle kiss first on his daughter's forehead, and then on his partner's.

Brennan stirs. "Bye, Booth."

"Bye."

Her eyes flutter open and the clouded vulnerability that meets him makes it oh-so-tempting to just crawl back into bed and hold them both.

"If anything happens today-

"I'll call," he finishes immediately and presses a soft kiss against her lips. "I promise, I'll call."

"Right away?"

"Right away."

Satisfied, Brennan drifts back to sleep almost instantly and Booth adjusts the blankets around both girls before leaving them in peace and shutting the door gently behind him.

Outside the bedroom Booth pauses to check his phone, and then he turns on his heel and goes back for the charger.

Just in case.