My first foray into Bones fanfiction! Again, this was written when I had a burst of inspiration and wanted to avoid doing homework.
"Shh, please baby. Go to sleep."
She shifted her daughter in her arms, bouncing her on her hip as she made yet another circle around the dark room, hoping that the motion would soothe the toddler.
It didn't. She sighed and rubbed the baby's back and continued walking. Normally she wouldn't mind staying up; after all, the poor dear had a fever and a double ear infection.
But it had been a long day, an as uncomfortable as the child might be, the mother was loosing a battle with the exhaustion digging into the core of her bones. The baby was growing heavy on the muscles that tugged on those bones, and the resulting ache made her acutely aware of every other unpleasant sensation. The whispy locks on the little girl's head, which she usually took such a joy in fingering, nuzzling, brushing—were matted with sweat and stuck unpleasantly to the crook of her neck, where her daughter burrowed her head while alternating between whimpering and all-out bawling. "Shh, sweetheart. You're okay."
A soft click made her turn around and clutch the child protectively, relaxing only when she recognized the familiar silhouette of her husband in the doorway. "You startled me."
"Sorry. Didn't mean to." He paused to shut the door before walking toward them. "How are my two favorite girls?"
The smallest of the girls in question immediately turned toward the voice of her father. "Dada!"
The largest of the two girls in question sighed with relief as her husband scooped up the little girl, who buried her face in his chest and clutched fistfuls of his shirt. She was about to thank him for taking over when he spoke gently to their whimpering daughter. "Hey now, what's the matter with my Joy?"
"Matthew!" The aching muscles were forgotten. She snatched the child back, and the crying resumed full force. "We talked about this." She hissed over the noise.
He rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. "Come on, Christine. We're bound to slip once or twice. At least we're at home."
"I don't care. You forced our seven-year-old son to repeat his new name a hundred times in a row."
"Honey, that's because he's seven. She's barely three. She's not going to notice one mistake."
"You know how intelligent she is. She picks up on everything. We have to be just as consistent with her as with her brother."
"True, true…" They were silent for a moment, and the toddler's crying again settled to a steady whimper. He spoke up again. "But come on, Christine…Temperance?"
"We made a deal, Matthew. Since I named the boy and you the girl the first time around, I'd pick for the girl and you for the boy this time. You don't hear me complaining about the name 'Russ.' "
"That's because Russ is a normal name."
"You have to admit it's relatively uncommon."
"But at least it's normal, and won't make him the target of bullies on the playground."
"Why would someone make fun of the name Temperance? It has a very pleasant ring to it, and 'Tempe' is likewise endearing."
" 'Tempe' sounds like a mispronunciation of Tampa. And Temperance is just so…cold. Puritanical. Do you want our child to grow up into a distant, stingy woman who doesn't know how to enjoy life?"
Christine's eyes flashed. "No Matt. I don't want our daughter to grow into a 'distant, stingy woman who doesn't know how to enjoy life.' Today we told our son that we have to change our entire lives just to stay alive. That if he messes up just once it could kill his entire family. We had to do that because of the choices we made. We knew that this crew was dangerous, but we took the risk anyway. If we had been more rational, hadn't let the allure of money and excitement seduce us, we might not be in this mess." Her voice lowered. "Passion is delicious, but too much will burn you alive. I want our daughter to be happy. But I also want her to be safe."
No one spoke. The only sound came from the little girl, whose sobs had become hiccups. After a moment or two Matthew gently took the child back from his wife. "Christine, it's late. Go to bed and get some rest. I'll stay with Temperance until she falls asleep."
Christine managed a small tight smile and kissed her daughter's forehead. "Goodnight, Tempe."
Matt reached out and squeezed her hand. "You know, the way you say it...it really is a pretty name."
Christine's smile brightened. She kissed him too and left.
The baby's hiccups were subsiding, and her eyes slowly began to slip shut. Ever so carefully Matt placed her in the crib—she would need a regular bed soon—and pulled the blanket up over the little body. He watched her sleep for a moment, tenderly brushed a tendril of hair from her forehead, and placed a soft kiss on her cheek.
"Goodnight, Temperance," he whispered. "Never forget that you're Daddy's joy."
Hope you liked :)