"Okay, Mr. Booth. I'm going to get a few samples from you just as a precaution. I need you to open your mouth for me."
Booth silently displayed his weariness; his disbelief. It was still hard for him to grasp where he was. First thing that sleepy Saturday morning he'd risen to go to an appointment Brennan had made at a clinic for him. The purpose? DNA testing, of course. When she'd approached him he'd reluctantly been on board with the idea. "I'm willing, Bones." He'd told her. "But it can't be possible. Can it?"
Brennan pondered his question a moment before speaking. "I believe it's worth looking into."
Though it made no sense to him, he trusted her. But his heart remained understandably cautious. To allow himself to think Christine was indeed his would be to fill himself with such happiness and love that he dreaded the consequences should his doubts been proven true. The pain would tear a hole into his heart, and be difficult to recover from. So he'd clung to his doubt for protection. There was no way Christine could be his. Brennan was reaching. This was all ludicrous. Love was his reasoning. He was willing to do anything for them, including sitting in a clinic on a day in which he should have still been in bed sleeping. Without being properly caffeinated, no less.
He opened his mouth. The kind nurse who had been assisting him removed a cotton swab off of a silver tray table containing medical supplies. The top had a plastic protective covering which she removed. Delicately she traced the soft tightly wound cotton tip over the cells on the inside of his cheek. Once satisfied she replaced the top. "Okay. Now I just need a blood sample and we'll send you on your way."
Booth held still while she tied off a rubber band around the bicep of his good arm. She went through the usual motions he'd come to recognize. Tapping his arm to find a vein. Washing the area with an alcohol wipe. Yet it was when she inserted the needle that he had to turn his head away. Needles didn't bother him. The sight of blood most definitely didn't bother him, considering his job dealt with blood on a daily basis. But seeing a needle in his own skin draining his own blood… well, that was just a little much.
"So, paternity test, huh? For or against?"
He didn't understand. "I'm sorry?"
"Are you hoping the child is yours, or isn't?"
"Is," he shot back defensively. How could she ask such a question? Personal business was just that. Personal. She sensed his change in attitude and apologized. "It's just that most men who come through here are testing to prove the child isn't theirs. They don't want the responsibility. You're a rarity."
For anyone else he wouldn't have elaborated. His business was his own, especially considering all the hell Collins had put them through. But around this woman he folded. He spoke openly to someone who wasn't Brennan for perhaps the first time since the nightmare had both begun and been brought to a close. "I would love it if she was mine. But I don't see how it's possible. Her mother and I… when we… it was after she was already pregnant."
"Then why are you testing?"
"I'm doing this because she asked me to, and I'd do anything for the both of them. But I don't think the outcome is going to be what we're hoping for. I mean, you do this all the time, right? Is there even a chance?" He searched her face longingly for a sign. A glimpse as to what her thoughts were.
Only she offered him so such unconscious answer. Her expression didn't waver. She reached the level of blood she needed and finished. "God works in mysterious ways," was all she promised while she removed the needle. Over his bleeding skin she taped a cotton ball. "I wouldn't rule anything out. And we're finished."
Booth took his careful time lowering himself down onto the shiny linoleum floor. Day by day his physical injuries were improving. But quite often that knee that had suffered a second trauma in the car accident weakened on him with little warning. There had been more than one instance in which it had given out on him entirely and he'd crashed onto the floor. Luckily Brennan hadn't been around for these moments. He didn't want her witnessing him so weak. "How long until we get results?"
"About a week. Maybe sooner." She smiled. "Good luck to the both of you. I hope you are her father."
He nodded to her his unspoken gratuity. The situation had suddenly become very real, as though he'd woken from a dream. His stomach was in knots as he limped back into the waiting room where he'd left Brennan some time before. With every step he assured himself he wasn't Christine's father. But… what if he was? No. This time he was the logical one. There was just no earthly way it was conceivable. Was it?
Brennan met him with Christine sleeping in her arms. "Are you all right, Booth? You're awful pale."
He hard swallowed and gave her his best charming smile. "Fine. Lets get going. I'm starving."
Shoulder to shoulder they made their way to the parking lot. "What happens now?" She wondered.
That may have been the longest wait of my life. My mind just wouldn't let it go. I had little else to fill my time these days. No distractions. Neither Bones or I were in any shape to be working. My knee ached most of the time, when it was strong enough to support me. My hand was useless. The knife wound gave me trouble anytime I tried to sleep. The fire in my chest reminded me anytime I so much as breathed that my insides were just as much of a mess as my outside. I was bruised and broken. Banged up and bloodied. But I was still alive. I was still able to conduct a life of purpose. Collins hadn't taken that away from me.
The truth was whether or not Christine was mine wouldn't make any difference. I loved her like she was my own. That love wouldn't be broken no matter who her father was. I'd give her my best. I'd be there when she first learned to walk, and I'd be there to give her first driving lesson. I'd see her first smile and would console her through her first broken heart. Blood, DNA, all that scientific junk? It didn't matter to me. Love was what made a family.
And no one could love that baby more than I did.
That was perhaps the longest wait of my life. It was difficult to have little surrounding me other than Christine to steal my attention. Booth was in no condition to return to work. It would be some time before that could occur. As evidenced by my broken wrist the same went for me. Cam had declared "extended maternity time" for me. I was unsure of what that meant but chose to accept it. I appreciated the time with my new family, even if we did little more than lie around. Booth immersed himself in sporting events on the television while I read or entertained our daughter. His conversations to me were light hearted. Even though I wasn't great at reading people I could clearly see his nervousness. I questioned myself. Was I doing the right thing? I hadn't intended for him to get his hopes up. He'd insisted he wouldn't. But obviously, he had.
One afternoon while Christine was napping I was unpacking boxes to occupy my thoughts. I was in the kitchen trying to sort through what each container held. No one who had moved our things bothered to label anything, and Booth had been just as bad. I didn't know how to classify the only box he'd labeled with the moniker, "crap." I'd have to ask him about it. An hour or so ago I had left him sleeping on the couch.
I reached inside my current project. My fingers brushed across photo paper. I retrieved it to find a photo of Collins. In gasping and turning away the box spilled from the table onto the floor. Items inside broke from the impact. My heart was still beating at an excessive rate when Booth hobbled in. "What happened? Are you all right?"
Stupidly I held up the picture. Such a big reaction over something so trivial. He narrowed his eyes. "All right." He left again to return a moment later with his lighter. The photo was taken from me as he maneuvered to the sink. Before I could say anything Collins' image was in flames. He let it burn in his fingers before dropping it into the sink. His hand remained on the lever to the faucet to put it out with water. He waited until it was nearly ashes to do so. "Problem solved."
Only it wasn't for me. "I don't want him to be Christine's father." The thought seemed to form from nowhere. "I don't want anything more to do with him, Booth." I was on the verge of tears.
He took me into his arms. "Look Bones, it'll be all right no matter what happens. The way I see it? I'm her dad no matter what. No test is going to change that." He kissed me. "We're a family. This baby is going to be so loved by the both of us. That's all that matters."
His words were what I needed to hear. They soothed my frayed emotions. I kissed him again. Of course our kissing wasn't just kissing. We hadn't been affectionate in weeks because of our injuries and Christine, and both of us rather missed the contact. My idle hands played with the waistband on his sleep pants. It seemed to be all the encouragement either one of us needed.
Our lovemaking was awkward, our bodies resembling pretzel forms in order to make way for our wounds. But the love was there. When we finished I no longer cared about Collins. Booth was right. We were a family.
In the morning hours the couple laid in bed, their bodies pressed up against one another's. Both had woken at the same time. They hadn't spoken a single word. They'd simply reached for one another and watched the light from the sunrise shine in through their window. They'd left room for their daughter who still slept between them; safe in her parents' cove.
For hours they remained together. It wasn't until the sound of a rotary ring tone that the silence was broken. Brennan's phone screamed for attention. Booth moaned. "Who's calling so early in the morning?"
"It's not that early anymore." Brennan chuckled. She lifted the phone from where she'd left it on the nightstand. The number of the caller made her sit straight up. "It's the clinic," she told him before answering.
Booth took Christine into his arms. He cuddled her close while his eyes watched Brennan's every move. Her expression didn't change. She gave a single nod and said, "I understand. Thank you." She hung up and looked to him.
"Well?" He practically yelled. "Come on, Bones. The suspense is killing me!"
She laughed as she grinned brighter than the sun. "The test confirmed it. You're the father, Booth. Christine is yours."
"What…" He was gob smacked. "How? Bones, how did that happen?"
"You were there."
"Not that. You were already pregnant-"
She shrugged. "Likely I received a false positive. We went away that weekend. Our intercourse was unprotected. During that time you impregnated me."
He made a face. "Lets just say I got you pregnant. Saying it like that just sounds… weird. So." His mind was trying to absorb the information. "She's mine? Biologically I'm her father? Really?" At last the excitement was spreading to him. His eyes lit up like fireworks. "You hear that? I'm your dad." He kissed the top of Christine's head. "I'm your dad!"
The two parents shared joyous laughter. Brennan kissed him. "We're a family, Booth."
"We're a family." He echoed.