Note the huge time jump here … let's set this about 23 years down the road from the current season, and a couple months after my chapter 21 ("Keeping a Secret"). It might be helpful to go back and read that chapter, but that's your call.
No spoilers, so read away! (And side note: Christine doesn't work for the FBI … but that gets explained in a later chapter.)
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones.
He was so absorbed in paperwork that he dropped his pen and nearly jumped when his office door swung open.
"Geez, Natalie. You scared me … " He took one look at his secretary's startled, flushed expression. "Something wrong?"
"You're needed in ballistics lab."
"You look like you've seen a ghost," he observed, quickly standing up to pocket his badge and reach for his gun as his poor secretary stood frozen in place. "Was there an accident? Everything OK?"
"Sir, it's Christine." She watched as Booth's face paled, and she quickly added, "All I was told is that she needs you right away."
Bolting out of the office, Booth left his gun on the desk, his legs carrying his mid-sixties frame much faster than usual as he sped to the side staircase. Within minutes, he had cleared several flights of stairs, hallways, and blew through keycard-access doors. As he entered the forensic ballistics department, bellowed instructions came from someone he didn't bother to recognize: "Agent Booth! She's in the lab. Go straight down and punch in. She's in the last door in that corridor. I'll be right back."
He kept running, sprinting until he had to stop again to swipe his access card. Yanking the door open, he took off down the short hallway, nearly missing the last door.
She was on the floor, back against the wall and feet firmly planted on the floor with her knees pulled to her chest — or at least as close as her 36 weeks pregnant abdomen would allow.
"Sweetheart, are you hurt?" He dropped to the floor immediately, noticing her flushed face and trembling lower lip.
Upon hearing the endearing moniker, Booth recognized Christine's wild-eyed, frightened expression — he'd seen it once before on her mother's face twenty-six years ago as they hurled down the road out of the middle of nowhere Virginia in his truck, moments before she screamed at him to pull over so she could deliver their firstborn.
"Hey." He swallowed and put on his best confident smile as he leaned to kiss Christine's forehead. "You're OK."
Christine shook her head desperately. "It's too early."
"You're fine. Just hang in there. Have you called the medics?"
"Yeah." Christine nodded. "Alex was in here with me … he left just a minute ago after he called."
"Alex. That's the name of that kid who yelled directions at me," Booth thought. "Remind me to punch him for leaving you here all alone."
"He was going to get help." Christine gave Booth a forced smile. "Please don't hurt him."
"He shouldn't have left you alone," Booth insisted. "Not when …"
A short gasp from his daughter abruptly interrupted Booth's complaining. Squeezing her eyes shut, Christine's brave facade rapidly crumbled as her fingers curled tightly against the cold, hard floor of the lab.
"Hey, shhhh. I'm right here." Booth immediately grabbed for his daughter's hand, pressing a reassuring kiss to it as he laced his fingers with hers. "Here, squeeze my hand. Hard, Christine. Good, that's it. How far apart are your contractions?"
Clearly fighting back tears, Christine sniffled and blinked her eyes a few times.
"Christine, your contractions?" he repeated.
"All over the place," she groaned.
"Less than a minute apart?"
She nodded, her eyes tightly shut again. "That's bad."
"It's not bad," he tried to reassure her. "Breathe, Christine."
"You're not," he gently corrected. "You're holding your breath. Gotta breathe, sweetheart."
"God, Dad, it hurts!"
"I know, and I promise, it'll help if you breathe better. Come on, give me a good, deep breath." He watched, waiting to see Christine's chest rise. "Good. Just like that. Now exhale. Do it again. That's it."
The door to the lab opened, and a woman rushed in, clearly out of breath.
"Thank God," Booth muttered, moving to give her room.
"Dad … don't leave!"
He squeezed Christine's hand reassuringly. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying right here —just want to let her help you."
"Christine," began the woman gently. "I'm Amanda. I'm with medical. I'm here to help you, OK?"
"Get me a damn ambulance," Christine sputtered through clenched teeth. "I'm not doing this here."
"Your partner told me he called one," Amanda replied, dropping to her knees by Christine's feet. "It's on the way."
"He's … not my partner," Christine promptly corrected, clutching Booth's hand tightly as she tried not to groan. "Just work on the ambulance."
"OK, but listen — there's a pretty bad gridlock going on, and we need to be prepared in case it doesn't get here soon. Can I check to see how far you are?"
"No." Christine made a face as Amanda put one hand on Christine's knee, close to her skirt's hemline.
"Christine, how far apart are your contractions?"
"Last one was about 30 seconds ago," Booth remarked. "She said they're all over the place, but they're all less than a minute apart."
Suddenly, the door swung open, and Alex, the same guy who had yelled directions at Booth earlier, popped his head inside. "Oh … good. There's two of you now."
"Listen pal, next time, don't leave a woman in labor all alone," Booth growled at the man, who paled and looked ready to flee the scene.
At Booth's threat, combined with the harsh throes of labor pains and the fact that a strange woman was about to be working her out of her skirt, Christine burst into tears. "I don't want to do this! I want you to leave!"
"Hey, buddy." Amanda jerked her head at Alex. "Out! Go stand outside and direct the medics. And see if you can get someone to bring us some water and towels."
"No," Christine wailed helplessly as Alex closed the door. "I want all of you to leave! Except Dad … I just want this to stop."
"Christine," Amanda placed a firm hand on Christine's shoulder. "Your dad is staying, and I'm here to help, but we need you to listen, OK? I need to check …"
Suddenly, the screeching howl of an alarm came blaring through the outside hallway. Booth muttered a curse, and Christine moaned, letting her head drop back against the wall as all three heard the telltale click of the door's locking mechanism.
"What the hell is that?" Amanda asked, glancing worriedly at Booth.
"Lock down drill."
Amanda groaned. "You can't be serious."
"Yeah." Eyes still closed tightly, Christine nodded. "Happens once a quarter."
"Ballistics department tests it on the first Monday of every other month," Booth affirmed, looking over at Amanda. "You don't have those?"
"We're medical … our drill times are different. And I'm part time, so I'm rarely in for them anyways. So no one in or out?"
"For how long?"
"Do you have the override code?"
Booth shook his head.
"Damn." Amanda sighed, and then looked back at Christine. "Christine, I'm sorry, but now I really need to check things ... just in case you can't wait."
"Fine." Christine huffed.
Booth quickly turned a few degrees, making sure his back stayed toward Amanda. He ran his thumb over Christine's knuckles when she slowly took a deep breath and closed her eyes again.
"Yeah … it's official. No way in hell is this baby waiting on an ambulance."
Shaking her head stubbornly at Amanda's diagnosis, Christine sucked in a deep breath as she prepared for another contraction to hit. "Well … no way in hell … am I doing this here."
"Yeah, you are, "Amanda corrected. "You've got about thirty seconds before I'm going to tell you to push."
"Chrissy." Booth leaned closer to his daughter's face, using her childhood nickname. "Baby, I'm so sorry, but this is happening."
"I don't want to!"
"I know," he soothed, stroking her cheek. "But we're going to do this, OK? I'm going to be right here, holding your hand the whole time."
"But Andrew," she began tearfully. "I've got to wait … he can't miss this."
"Christine, he's on a plane," Booth reminded. "You can't wait. Even if he wasn't flying right now, he couldn't make it in time."
"He's going to kill me … he'll be so disappointed."
"This is not your fault." Booth paused, watching as Christine's facial expression changed again. "Hey … good. Don't fight it. Keep squeezing my hand. You're doing great."
"I want to wait," she argued, her nails digging into Booth's palm as her body clearly insisted it wasn't waiting another minute.
One final look at Amanda, who shook her head, told Booth everything he needed to know. "The baby isn't waiting. You're going to have to do this right here. We're going to help, OK? Let us help you."
Folding her arms around her knees, Christine tried not to cry out loud. "Ohhhh God …"
"Agent Booth," Amanda put a hand on Booth's arm to ensure his attention, "she really needs to start pushing."
"Christine, you hear that? You gotta push."
"I don't want to!"
"I know you don't. Let me help you. I'm going to sit right behind you and help hold you up, OK?" He helped Christine lean forward just slightly from the wall, positioning her so that he was helping cradle her body against his chest. "You ready?"
"No." She shook her head, grasping his forearm in a death grip with one hand. "Dad, I really don't want to do this."
"I know. I'm sorry." Christine's tears began again, and Booth cringed as he felt his daughter fighting tears as she buried her face against his chest.
"Christine, that pressure you're feeling? Don't fight it," Amanda urged. "I want a good first push with the next contraction. No arguing. The quicker you push, the quicker you get this over with … and the quicker all that pain goes away."
"I can't …"
"Listen to me." Booth cupped Christine's face with one hand. "You can do this. You are strong and brave and you're ready for this. Your baby needs you to do this now. Don't be scared."
She sniffled and rubbed her hand across her nose. "O-OK." Taking a deep breath, she bore down and squeezed her eyes shut again. "Ohhhh …"
"Good job," Amanda encouraged. "Let's do it again in thirty seconds, OK?"
The next few minutes seemed to drag on until the words, "Christine, baby's crowning, it's go time," finally came from Amanda's lips.
"Baby girl, you're doing great," Booth soothed into Christine's ear. "You're so close. Make these next ones big, OK? You're almost done."
"I want it … over!"
"I know, baby. Just finish."
Christine let out a plethora of rapidly strung together curses, her nails scoring Booth's arm as she let out a piercing shriek.
"Good, Christine!" Amanda coached. "Shoulders are the worst … get those out and the rest is easy!"
A final cry ripped from her lips, and Christine's head thudded back to Booth's chest, nearly simultaneously with the sound of a loud squeak. "Is it over?" she gasped, her chest heaving as she struggled to get her breath.
"Yeah." Booth let out a welcome sigh of relief as the three heard a loud cry from the infant. "Good job, sweetheart."
"Oh." Christine's eyes welled up with tears, and she struggled to sit up a little more against Booth's chest, craning her neck to try to see her baby. "Dad …"
"I know, hang on just a sec. You sit tight, OK? Hang on and I'll bring you the baby. Be still – catch your breath." Booth slipped out from behind Christine to give Amanda a hand. "Everything look OK?"
"Yeah." Amanda grinned. "Good color and healthy lungs."
"Good." The worry lines between Booth's brows eased ever so slightly, and he quietly exhaled. "Tell me how to help."
Amanda was busy wiping the baby down with a blanket from the medical kit she'd brought in with her. "We need something else to wrap …"
"Dad?" Christine interrupted, sucking in a deep breath. "Aren't you going to tell me if you've got a granddaughter or grandson?"
Booth glanced down at the fussing infant, and then turned to grin at his daughter with excitement. "It's a boy!"
Christine let out a relieved laugh and gave her father a weak smile. "I know."
Booth had stripped off his jacket and given it to Amanda to wrap his grandson up for the ambulance ride to the hospital, so it was no wonder when Brennan gave him a curious look as he swiped his keycard to enter the platform, sans-jacket, tie askew, and dirty shirt. He remained quiet as he watched her give her newest batch of interns several questions before she finally turned toward him.
"What did you do … go play with Hodgins and his soil samples first before coming to see me?" she teased, glancing at the faint stains on his dress shirt.
"Hey Grandma." Booth watched as Brennan's playful expression suddenly turned to one of shock. He grinned, laughing as Angela squealed with happiness and Brennan stopped dead in her tracks.
"You heard me. Hey Grandma." He repeated his greeting again and crossed the rest of the platform to kiss Brennan's lips softly, not giving a damn that the entire staff was staring at them. "You and I? We're officially grandparents."
"But Christine hasn't called me." She looked so terribly confused as she pulled her cell phone out of her lab coat pocket to double check.
Booth had to try not to laugh at Brennan's adorably perplexed expression as he walked her off the platform to get away from the crowd. "That's because it happened very fast … I think she broke your record."
"She's all right?" Brennan asked anxiously. "And the baby?"
"Christine is fine. Baby is, too."
"We have a grandson, don't we?" she whispered, giving Booth a knowing, happy smile that he processed to kiss right off her face.
"Yeah, we do. He's wearing my jacket right now and I heard him cry and everything. Kid's got a killer set of lungs."
"You … what?" She looked at him, still utterly puzzled.
"Apparently she went into labor at work this morning — consulting for someone's case. Natalie jumped into my office and said Christine needed me. Within fifteen minutes, Chrissy had our grandson in her arms … we were on lockdown and kid couldn't wait for the paramedics. Had an FBI nurse deliver him right there on the floor of a ballistics lab." He smiled as he pulled Brennan into a tight embrace. "Christine did great, Bones. She was a champ."
"I'm so glad you were there, but I hate I missed it," she admitted honestly.
"Trust me, I wish you had been there. I don't think she ever anticipated having to deliver while holding her dad's hand. I even had to give the nurse my jacket to keep him warm, and kiddo left part of a handprint on me." Booth pointed to one of the spots on his shirt and smiled wryly. "You know, Christine is just like you … certainly knows how to have a dramatic delivery."
Brennan punched Booth's arm playfully. "I couldn't help it! Christine came out of nowhere."
"As did our other two …"
"Christine's was by far the most dramatic."
"Eh, I don't know about that." He placed a sweet kiss on her forehead. "You ready to go meet him? I promised Christine I'd come get you and come right back."
"Oh yes." She hesitated. "Wait … Andrew."
"He's coming. I put out a request and someone's grabbing him at the gate. He might even beat us to the hospital."
"Then we better hurry." She was practically pulling Booth toward the exit.
"Don't you think we need to give them a few minutes?"
"Nonsense. The minute Andrew gets there, he'll want to hold the baby and not let him go. Angela informs me that as the grandmother, it's my right to spoil him and hog him immediately upon his arrival."
"I think we've got a bunch of years ahead of us to do that, Bones."
Shout out to my bestie Anna, who caused me some oh-so-happy tears today with a baby #2 announcement. (Anna losing baby #1 at the end of last summer was the prompt for some of my angst earlier in the series — losing a baby is hard anytime, but it is especially devastating at 31+ weeks.) This is for you, my dear. May you carry #2 safely and soundly all the way … and have a far less eventful delivery than what I have just written here!