LOVE IS GOOD
A/N: I always wondered what Brennan was doing with Booth in the diner when it was supposed to be his weekend with Parker. I assumed that he had asked her to be there at the same time he'd arranged for Parker to be dropped off. And he wanted her to stay. I thought that was really sweet, so I took it and ran with it. Here's the result!
"Faith and hope, right?"
"Angela threw in love too."
"Love is good."
They exchanged a knowing look. She quickly averted his affectionate gaze and focused on the cup of coffee in front of her.
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
At the sound of his voice, Temperance looked up to see Booth's face light up with joy.
"Look what I did!"
Booth pulled the four-year-old into his lap and gave the diorama a cursory glance.
"Wow! Look at that!"
He looked up to see Rebecca waiting near the doorway of the diner.
"Um,…listen. You stay here with Dr. Brennan, okay? I'm gonna go talk to your mommy, alright?" He shifted Parker onto the chair and placed a light kiss on his head. "Alright?" He patted his head as he left the table, and touched Temperance's shoulder as he said "Thanks."
Tempe suddenly felt awkward being left alone with Parker while Booth talked with his ex. After wrapping up the case the previous afternoon, they had stayed at the lab until after 10 o'clock finishing up paperwork over Thai food. She recalled their conversation at the end of the night:
"Don't stay here all night, Bones."
"I just have a few things to wrap up. I'll be out of here in about an hour."
"Well, don't spend your whole weekend working. You know, you really should think about taking up some new interests. Have a little fun?"
"Why? What are your plans this weekend?"
"I'm taking Parker to the zoo tomorrow. This is our weekend together."
"That's great, Booth."
"How 'bout you?"
"Well, I'd planned to come in tomorrow and catch up on some ID's of World War II soldiers. And I received an email from the professor of anthropology at Georgetown about an exciting lecture on,…."
He held up a hand to interrupt her. "Hold on a minute, Bones. Sounds like we need to work on your definition of the word 'fun'. You're coming with me and Parker tomorrow."
"But, Booth,…it's a family thing. You get so little time with him as it is. It wouldn't be right to interfere with that bonding time."
"No 'buts.' Meet me at the diner at 9 tomorrow."
"Fun Bones. Fun."
"Fine. I'll see you at 9."
So, there she was, just as promised. Parker was excitedly explaining the different animals in his zoo project, but she couldn't focus on his words as she kept turning around to watch Booth talking to Rebecca. She had seen Parker a few times in the past year, but had never met his mother. Tempe was suddenly very curious about the attractive blonde woman.
After a couple of minutes the bells at the door chimed in the background signifying Rebecca's exit. Booth returned to the table and threw a few bills down to pay for his and Bones' breakfast.
"Ready to go to the zoo, Bub?" He easily lifted the boy's solid weight into his arms.
"Yeah! Is Dr. Brennan coming?" Parker gave his father a hopeful look that was not lost on Tempe.
"Yup, she sure is. And you know what? She knows all the animals!"
After Booth paid for the entry to the D.C. Zoo, Parker surprised Tempe by placing his small hand in hers. The four-year-old's eyes were trust-filled and his smile warm and relaxed.
"I wanna see the baby giraffe," he declared. Looking up at his new friend, he asked, "What's your favorite animal at the zoo, Dr. Brennan?"
Booth noticed their joined hands and smiled. He unfolded the zoo map and pretended not to listen to their conversation.
A wistfulness appeared in the anthropologist's expression as she answered, "Well, I haven't been to the zoo since I was a little girl. But I always liked the snakes."
"Me too!" The boy looked to his father who was standing nearby, but did not relinquish his grip on Tempe's hand. "Daddy! Take us to see the snakes!"
The three of them walked past an interactive habitat called Lory Landing in which visitors entered an aviary filled with hundreds of lorikeets.
Parker tugged at his father's hand. "Daddy, come on! Let's go in there!"
Booth didn't budge. Tempe immediately picked up on his unease. She rested a hand on his forearm and offered, "I'll take him."
He nodded his thanks and stood outside watching nervously as the brightly-colored birds flew around in search of the cups of nectar in the visitors' hands.
Parker squealed with excitement as one bird landed on his head. Tempe laughingly came to his rescue and carefully transferred the lory onto her arm. Once all their nectar was gone, they rejoined Booth outside the aviary.
On their way out of the Birds of the Rainforest section, Parker strayed off to look at the large koi pond.
"Dr. Brennan, do you have a quarter?" The boy yanked on her sleeve and gave her a hopeful look.
"You're in luck!" She dropped two shiny coins into his hand. Moments later his tiny palm was filled with little brown pellets.
As Parker crouched near the edge of the pond feeding the fish and ducks, the two adults took a seat on the nearby bench.
"So, birds, huh?" She kept her gaze on the boy in front of her, subconsciously concerned for his safety.
"Never liked 'em." His shoulders tensed and fists clenched inside the pockets of his leather jacket.
"Probably some deep-seated emotional trauma, but psychology's not my thing."
"Thank God!" He laughed with relief that she was dropping the subject.
Her eyes followed a pair of swans gliding across the water.
"Did you know that swans mate for life?"
He turned to regard her with a suspicious smile. "I thought you said monogamy is not in the interest of the species."
Tempe turned her scientific eyes toward her partner. "For us. Humans. Higher primates."
"But it works for swans?" His voice was filled with incredulity and humor.
"And wolves and penguins. Actually over 90 percent of birds mate for life. But only about 3 percent of mammals are monogamous."
"And you know this how?"
"In graduate school I did a study of the polygamous practices of the Yanamamo of the Amazon. It was quite fascinating how the males would engage in a breeding competition within the tribe."
"Yeah, well, there are a few of us humans left on the planet that believe in 'mating for life'!"
"Like you and Rebecca?" As soon as the words were out of her mouth she regretted them. "Sorry."
"Look Bones, this is just another one of those times we'll have to agree to disagree, alright?"
Parker was sitting on a pile of hay next to a large docile sheep in the petting zoo. Tempe stood next to him with her arms folded across her chest wondering silently at the sensory appeal of the tactile nature of this enclosure.
"Pet it, Dr. Brennan."
She squatted down and gave the sheep's wool a gentle pat.
"No, like this. Soft." The little boy smoothed his hand over the oblivious sheep's back.
She did as instructed, and was rewarded by a miniature version of the famous Booth charm smile.
Booth stood a few yards away taking in the scene before him. He marveled at how natural she was with kids, and couldn't fathom why she was so vehemently opposed to being a parent herself. She had an innocence about her that children related to. That she used big words did not detract from her genuine interest in communicating with and understanding the young members of her "tribe".
His reverie was interrupted by a wet nose nudging his arm. He jumped back at the sight of the friendly llama that had been persistently following him around the pen. Booth walked at a brisk pace toward his companions and attempted to conceal himself behind Brennan.
"Are you hiding, Booth?" She laughed at the sight of her macho partner cowering behind her back.
"What? No!" He straightened out his shoulders and puffed out his chest a little for show. "This is great, isn't it Parker?"
Suddenly he let out a surprised gasp. "Great! That's just great!" A goat was chewing on the sleeve of his brown leather jacket. He hitched a thumb over his shoulder, "I'll just meet you two outside."
Moments later Booth was using hand sanitizer and paper towels in an effort to remove the goat drool from his sleeve.
Temperance noticed Parker beginning to yawn due to his relaxed state with the cuddly creature. Without giving it much thought, she moved to pick him up and carried his limp body out of the petting zoo.
Outside the gate, Booth met her eyes and silently conveyed his gratitude. He carefully extricated the boy from her arms and shifted him into his own. "Time to go home, Bub."
Parker lifted his head from its resting place on his daddy's shoulder and began to pout. "But we didn't see the baby gorilla!"
Tempe immediately pulled out the map. "It's on the way toward the exit, Booth."
"Fine. But after that we're leaving, okay?"
"Oh-kay" came the sleepy response.
Temperance squinted at the information plaque inside the gorilla habitat as Booth lifted Parker up against the glass for a better look.
"I can't see him, Daddy! Where is he?" His curious eyes searched the trees and grasses of the enclosure.
"Right there, with his mom. See?" Booth pointed at the glass.
"Actually, it's mother is deceased. Another female of the clan responded to the biological imperative to care for the young of her species."
Booth was glad she used the word deceased and not died because Parker didn't have a clue what she was talking about. He was too busy wiggling around in his father's arms trying to get a good view of the tiny ape.
"That doesn't mean she's not his mother, Bones. You and I both know that there's more to being a parent than genetics."
"Yes, I do know that. And I suppose that there is some merit to the correlation of the gorilla's social practices to our own, since we are all higher primates."
He smiled at her convoluted attempt to tell him he was right. "So, if you and I were to you know, then you're saying you'd feel anthropologically compelled to care for my son as your own?"
"Yeah. I guess so." Her brow creased with confusion at the hypothetical turn of his conversation.
"Why do you ask?" Tempe's hands went to her hips, her posture demanding an explanation.
"Oh, it's just an example for the sake of the argument." His enigmatic smirk annoyed her.
"Good to know."
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