|Bones and Soul
Author: Amilyn PM
Self-contained shorts. Booth's broken arm. Angela&Bren TMI. Angela&Bren w/baby. Booth&Max talk family. AU Booth wanting baby. B&B tell Max ab baby. Bren's birth&grief. A&H preg again. Bren grad. Russ leaves, Russ&Max confrontation. No warnings.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - T. Brennan & S. Booth - Chapters: 11 - Words: 6,241 - Reviews: 52 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 43 - Updated: 04-04-12 - Published: 06-17-09 - id: 5146162
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Paying the Piper
by Amy L. Hull
Thanks to some1tookmyname for a quickie beta.
A pinch between his shoulders. Again. He'd learned to recognize it those eight months in prison.
Russ spun around. He froze in a defensive stance.
The man facing him spread his hands. Smiled.
Russ's elbow hit the pavement hardest. He moaned through an aching jaw.
"What the hell were you thinking, leaving her alone like that?"
It was a voice Russ had long since given up hearing again, until that message on Tempe's machine a few months back.
Dad kicked him in the hip. Hard enough to notice, not hard enough to hurt much.
"First you leave her when she's fifteen," Dad's voice squeaked. "Then, after all this time knowing it's dangerous, you let her search?"
Russ scrambled to his feet. "Come on, Dad, no one tells Tempe what to do, or not to do. You told me that when she was five years old. You were proud of it."
"She does get that from me." Dad grinned.
This was surreal. He'd figured Mom and Dad were dead years before Tempe's FBI partner brought him to Washington DC to identify the family car. And here was Dad. Older, a little odd-looking, but still protective, still demanding. Still Dad.
All these years. Fifteen years he'd been without a family, and Dad was alive. And smiling.
Then Dad was on the pavement and Russ's hand throbbed like the son of a bitch Dad was. Heat burned through Russ's belly, hands, and face and flowed from his throat. "You left us. I was nineteen. I had no job, no money. Nothing. And everyone-everyone-told me the best thing I could do was to let someone else take care of Tempe. What did you expect me to do? How did you expect this to turn out?"
"You ungrateful little-" Dad lurched head-first into Russ's belly, tackling him to the ground. "We were protecting you both! I expected you both to stay alive!"
"Unlike Mom, huh?" The words tasted as bitter as they sounded.
"What happened to her-and worse-could have happened to you and Tempe." Dad's sounded ragged. "We couldn't be the cause of that, no matter what. And we knew that at least you had each other." Dad's eyes narrowed, and he looked more dangerous than Russ knew was possible. "Or so we thought."
"There were bills, Dad! Bills and a house we had no legal right to. You weren't dead, you weren't anywhere, and I knew. I knew, Dad, that it had something to do with the Keenans, with who we had been."
"Then you knew that leaving was us sending the same message I gave you when you were five years old," Dad roared. "Take care of your little sister! You knew it was dangerous and-"
Russ leaned in and roared right back. "What was I supposed to do, Dad? Tell her? Tell her she used to be called Joy? Tell her that her whole life was a lie, right down to our birth certificates? Shatter the memories that were the one stable thing she had left after you and Mom ran without a word?"
Dad sat back. He looked old. An old man with a vicious right hook.
"You were gone, I was useless, and the police couldn't help. But DCFS could."
"You called the police?"
Russ stared at his father's incredulity. "Yes, we called the police, Dad. You and Mom were missing."
"Well, that was your first mistake. Of many." Dad's lip actually curled when he said that.
Russ clenched a fist. Almost hit Dad again. "Look, there was nothing that could help me. I was nineteen, a legal adult. But all I could do was get a job that wouldn't even support me, let alone both of us. DCFS promised they could take care of Tempe. They promised, Dad." He looked away. "And then she wouldn't talk to me for fifteen years."
"I didn't talk to either of you for-"
He whirled on his father and growled, "That was your choice, Dad. I did the best I could for my sister, and I lost her anyway."
"It was the same with you two and your mom. I lost you all."
They sat in silence for several minutes. Dad climbed to his feet and held out a hand.
"Look, son, I didn't come to dredge up old grudges. I came because I need you to help me. We've got to convince Tempe to give up looking for me."
Russ looked up, squinting as the sun came over Dad's shoulder. He took Dad's hand and let the older man help him up. "Dad, remember what we just said? Tempe doesn't give up on anything once she's started."
"I know. I taught her that."
"You did. In more ways than one." He looked Dad in the eye.
The old man didn't look away, then clapped him on the shoulder. "We'd better get started then."