Finish one story, start another one...that's how it works, right? Anyway, I've had this idea floating around in my head for a little while and I finally decided to write a story about it.
This story takes place after The Critic in the Cabernet.
Hope you like it :)
Brennan rolled onto her side and sighed as she watched the clock change from 7:04 to 7:05. As she lay there, thinking about the rest of the day ahead, she heard an echoing of soft babbling in the baby monitor on her bedside table. She pulled the comforter up to her chin and snuggled into the sheets. She fought back a yawn and blinked her eyes open, squinting as she adjusted to the light that managed to leak in from her bedroom window. She groaned when the babbling became louder. She'd been awake since a quarter after four and the last thing she wanted to do today was remove herself from the warmth of her bed and face the rest of the day, a day that she knew may just be the worst day of her life, not even the worst day so far.
She let out a sigh and reached over, switching off the baby monitor before peeling off the sheets and swinging her legs around, planting her bare feet on the hardwood floor. She shivered and heaved out another deep sigh. She rubbed her eyes and stood up, walking into the bathroom. After taking care of the pressure in her bladder, slipping into her bathrobe, and stepping into her warm and cozy slippers, she headed down the hallway to the nursery.
Brennan pushed open the door and all the stress that had been weighing her down for the past several months, seemed to disappear the instant she saw the smile on her son's face. "Good morning, RJ." The babbling started up again, even more animated. "We're going to see Daddy today." She lifted Ryder out of his crib and set him down on the rug, while she prepared his bottle. She picked him up again and sat in the rocking chair, the eight-month-old on her lap. She smoothed down his brown hair and slipped the nipple in his mouth, keeping her hands on the bottle until he took over. "Someone is very hungry this morning, huh?"
Ryder stopped sucking and turned his head in his mom's direction. He smiled at her and giggled when the smile was reciprocated. He started sucking again shortly after.
She sighed, leaning against the green cushion and gliding back and forth. She kissed the back of her son's head and looped her arms around his middle, stroking his legs while he drank. She sniffled and tears subconsciously fell down her cheeks.
He stopped sucking once again and twisted on his mom's lap. He patted her left cheek and gave her a grin.
Most days that grin would make her smile, but today, it just made her cry harder. Her chest tightened to the point where it was painful to breathe and the tears that had just been trickling down her face earlier, now came down in sheets.
He nuzzled into his mom's chest and gripped his bottle, resuming sucking up the rest of his breakfast.
She closed her eyes and let her fingers slide through his hair. His warmth was a comfort to her, especially today. During particularly bad days, and over the past two years, there had been plenty, she'd lie down on her bed and place him on top of her chest. He'd fall asleep and the feeling of his beating heart would calm her and give her the strength she needed to keep going.
He dropped the empty bottle into his lap and burped.
The two of them sat there for a few minutes before she picked him up and carried him over to the changing table. Just as she smoothed down the tabs of the fresh diaper, the phone rang. She sighed. She had no desire to talk to anyone today. She grabbed the phone and answered it without checking the Caller I.D. Whoever it was, she didn't want to talk. "I can't talk."
"Well, good morning to you too, Sweetie."
Brennan transferred the phone to her shoulder and picked Ryder up, setting the infant on the circular rug in the middle of the room. "Ange, I'm not in the mood to talk."
Angela could tell her best friend had been crying just by the way Brennan's words caught in her throat. "I just wanted to check in on you."
"You don't sound fine." Angela heard Brennan sigh. "I'm not fine," she admitted, in hopes her best friend would confide in her.
"I'm fine, Ange."
"Sweetie, you don't have to pretend. It's me, your best friend. I know you're not fine. No one expects you to be. You're human, Bren."
Brennan swallowed. "I'm not talking about this right now." She paused. "I have to go."
"Bren, wait—." It was no use. Brennan already hung up.
Brennan grabbed a pair of camouflage-printed cargo shorts and a t-shirt with a lion in sunglasses and a camo-printed shirt. She had scoffed at it when Angela showed it to her at the store, after all, in reality, a lion would devour a small child, but the more she stared at the outfit, the more it reminded her of Booth. She dressed her son and as she went to put his monster pajamas in the hamper, something caught her eye. She picked up the framed picture on the dark-stained dresser and clutched it. The image began to blur as new tears formed. In the beginning, she could compartmentalize, but as the days became weeks and the weeks became months and the months became one year and then almost two, it was impossible to put her feelings in a box and tuck that box away deep in her subconscious.
She missed him. She missed everything about him. His wild socks, his 'Cocky' belt buckle, his laugh, the way the skin around his eyes would crinkle when he smiled, his smile in general, the sound of his voice, his eyes, the way his hand would always find the small of her back, the simple touches, sitting across from him at the diner, sharing a dinner of takeout food while doing paperwork together in her office or his, the way he always knew the right thing to say to make her feel better, and the way he would battle her for the last word in their "discussions"—everything, even the things that infuriated her.
The phone rang again, but she ignored it. The only person she wanted to talk to today was lying in a hospital bed with an intubation tube in his trachea. She sighed, cursing her overactive tear ducts. She was normally better at holding herself together, but these past two years have been the most difficult years she's had since her stint in the foster care system. The only thing keeping her from crumbling was her son, their son, but today, even he wasn't much help.
"Ma-Ma!" Ryder scooted across the rug on his butt and stopped at her feet. He threw his arms in the air and looked up at her, his brows furrowed.
She put the picture down and hoisted Ryder up, resting him on her hip. She gave him a kiss on the top of his head and just stood there, listening to his babbling. He loved to talk. He loved to smile. He loved to laugh and giggle. He was just a happy-go-lucky little boy.
"Da-Da," he jabbered, wrapping his tiny arms around his mom's neck.
Her knees buckled and she had to grab onto the edge of the dresser to keep herself from collapsing. She nodded, trying to get her breathing under control. "Yes, Bud, we're going to see Daddy today," she choked out. She sat down in the rocking chair, feeling a bit lightheaded, and closed her eyes. The silence was interrupted by the phone ringing again. She groaned. Didn't everyone know what today was? Didn't everyone know that she just wanted to be alone, that she didn't want to talk to anyone but him? Frustrated, she stood up, setting Ryder down in her place. She picked up his stuffed lion (a gift from Cam) and handed it to him, before walking over to answer the telephone. "Angela, I already told you I didn't want to talk," she said, not checking to see who was calling.
"Uh, Dr. Brennan, this is Dr. Jurzik, is this a bad time?"
She swallowed. "Oh, I apologize, Dr. Jurzik. I thought you were—no, this isn't a bad time. Did something happen?"
"Yes, that's why I'm calling you."
Her chest tightened, tears pooled into the corners of her eyes, and she had to lean against the changing table to keep herself upright. She was too late. She wasn't going to be able to say goodbye to Booth before the doctors disconnected the ventilator.
"Dr. Brennan, are you still there?"
She cleared her throat and swallowed hard. "Yes, I apologize again, Dr. Jurzik. What were you saying?"
"When a nurse came in to record Seeley's vitals, he squeezed her hand."
A gush of air escaped her and the tears that she had been trying to hold back, finally spilled over her bottom eyelid.
Without missing a beat, Dr. Jurzik continued. "While it is common for comatose patients to experience these types of spasms, I ordered a new set of brain scans just to be sure."
She was afraid to ask him what these new scans showed, so she stayed silent, figuring that the doctor would explain the results to her without being prompted to do so. She was right.
"While the results aren't definitive, they're promising. The scans showed a pretty significant increase in brain activity from his last scan, which was taken early yesterday morning."
"Does that mean he could regain consciousness?"
"There are no guarantees, of course, but there is a greater chance of him waking up."
She blinked, turning to look at the infant, who was now sucking on the ear of his stuffed lion. "Thank you for calling me, Dr. Jurzik."
"Will you be visiting Seeley today, Dr. Brennan?"
She nodded. "Yes. I visit him every day."
The doctor laughed. "Yes, I know. I was just confirming. I hope you're bringing the little guy with you. He brightens up these place."
"I was planning to, yes." She paused. "In your professional opinion, what are Booth's chances of regaining consciousness?"
"It's hard to say, but about 75 to 90 percent." The doctor paused. "I was just informed by a member of the staff that you were planning on disconnecting Seeley's life support machine today? Is that correct?"
She nodded. "Yes, that is correct. Booth's request was that after two years, if he hadn't regained consciousness, he wanted to be taken off of life support. It's only been six months since he was put on the ventilator due to his reclining health," she chokes out, "but almost two years since—." She couldn't finish.
"I'm sorry, Dr. Brennan, but I have to go. I have a surgery to perform. I will see you later."
She sighed. "Thank you, Dr. Jurzik."
"You're welcome, Dr. Brennan. For your sake, I hope Seeley wakes up."
She hung up the phone without uttering a goodbye. Her chest ached, the tears were falling faster, and she was having difficulty breathing. She sank to the floor, looked up at the ceiling, and not for the first time in the past two years, she prayed, even though she still didn't believe in God. She knew miracles didn't exist, but she needed one, desperately.
By the way, this story will be mostly fluff, though there will be some drama thrown in for good measure.
Should I keep going?