-) Sometimes It Rains (-
God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.
Have you ever noticed how hollow rain sounds when it beats down on the hood of your car? Or how isolated you are when you're trapped in your car because of a thunderstorm? It almost seems as if you're the only person alive---the only one who's there to listen to hundreds of rain drops splattering down. Booth wasn't aware of this. He hardly noticed the flood outside. His gaze was fixed on the streams of water pouring down his windshield, but his mind was far away. Hands fiddling with the worn out stuffed rabbit, he reminisced about the person the toy belonged to---Parker. What was going to become of him?
Three hours ago he had gotten a call from Rebecca. He had nearly driven off the road when she had filled him in on her whereabouts---the hospital. She had been in tears, hiccups and sobs interrupting her every five seconds, when she told him the reason she was there---Parker. His grip on the plush bunny tightened as he pictured his son lying in a hospital bed. Cancer---his little boy had cancer.
He felt like shouting, screaming, kicking, and punching---everything...anything...to keep the tears at bay. His world had come tumbling down when Rebecca had uttered "Parker" and "cancer" in one sentence, but he refused to cry. He felt the tears stirring around inside of him, but he fought against releasing them. They were a sign of weakness. If he dared to cry, it would be like admitting he was powerless. For the sake of his son, he couldn't allow himself to break down. He didn't want to---couldn't--- imagine how empty his life would be without his son. He'd be devastated---living a life without a purpose.
After Rebecca's call, he had driven to her place to pick up some of Parker's things. If his boy had to stay in hospital, he'd better be comfortable. He had been struck by the state of Parker's room. It looked like its occupant could return any minute. Instead Parker was now condemned to a clinical hospital room for at least several weeks. A flash of lightning quickly followed by a roll of thunder didn't shake Booth from his paralysis. The falling rain effectively created a dense curtain of water insulating Booth from everything else. He lost himself in memories of Parker happily running around, of Parker being glued to the TV-screen on Saturday mornings, of Parker giving him a firm hug after Booth had read him a story…
Even in his blurred state of mind, he had realized he needed someone to catch him when he fell and to shelter him from the inevitable pain. So he had called her---the one person he was sure could keep him grounded throughout the upcoming weeks of misery. But now that he was sitting in his SUV, in the far corner of the parking lot in front of the Jeffersonian, he couldn't bring himself to leave the safety of his car. He needed more time to compose himself---just a few more minutes alone with his memories.
Across the parking lot, behind the glass panes of the entrance doors, Brennan observed the car, which was barely visible thanks to the torrential pour down. Ever since she had seen Booth pull up, she had been standing there. Booth seemed unwilling to leave the car and she hesitated to go to him. Not because of the rain, but because she didn't fully know how to be there for him. What do you say to your partner whose child has been diagnosed with cancer?
Angela came up behind her. Sighing, she stood beside Brennan. "How long has he been there?"
"Nearly an hour."
"Poor man." Angela shook her head and then glanced at Brennan. "Why are you still here?"
Brennan bit her bottom lip---a sign of uncertainty and nerves. "I don't know what to say."
"We've been over this, Bren." Placing a warm hand on her shoulder, Angela gave her an encouraging smile. "You'll know the right thing to say or do when it's time."
Brennan nodded, tightened her grip on the coat she was holding and stepped outside. As she stood watching him from under the small porch, she saw him staring off into the distance. Rain was coming down so hard it splashed against the legs of her trousers. Silently wishing he left his doors unlocked, she lifted her coat above her head and ran into the rain. By the time she had crossed the parking lot, jumping over deep pools and weaving through parked cars, her hair and clothes were damp. Fortunately, the door opened allowing Brennan to quickly dive into the car, where it was warm and dry.
Booth didn't say a word. He didn't even acknowledge her presence. All he did was cling to the stuffed bunny in his hands. Brennan breathed out a deep sigh, busied herself with folding up her coat, and waited. She didn't know which words were appropriate, so she figured it was for the best to let Booth have the first say. She watched the rain assault the windshield and felt the wind batter the sides of the SUV---all while she waited patiently.
"There was blood in his urine." Booth finally broke the silence, his voice barely louder than the rain beating down on the car. "That's how they…" He drew in a shaky breath. "How they discovered the tumor in his left kidney."
"Wilms' tumor," Brennan supplied, nodding her head in understanding. "Also known as nephroblastoma."
"The name doesn't matter, Bones. There is…" Booth leaned his head back and drew in another shaky breath. Brennan could hear the pain in his voice as he continued. "There is a tumor inside my son, Bones. He's got cancer."
"It's a cancer they can cure, Booth." Her tone was gentle as she tried to give him some sort of comfort. "How much has the tumor developed?"
"They caught it early enough. By surgically removing the kidney, they can remove the cancer." Brennan deliberately avoided all eye contact. Discussing diseases and diagnoses was something she was good at. Science was her comfort zone. But she knew very well she couldn't remain objective if she dared look at her partner. How could she give a clinical medical explanation and detach herself from his pain when she saw it whirling around in his eyes? "He might have to have some chemotherapy afterwards, but then he should…"
"Eighteen weeks," Booth interrupted her. "He has to undergo chemo for eighteen weeks afterwards."
Against better judgement, Brennan turned her head to see Booth staring down at the stuffed animal he was still clutching. "You should have seen his room, Bones." Booth lifted his eyes to meet her gaze. The pain that shone from them took her by the throat. The strong Booth she was familiar with---the one that didn't hesitate to do everything in his power when someone needed help---was now losing the struggle against the sorrow that was slowly engulfing him. "Toys all over the floor, cartoons playing on the tv, a half-eaten fruit cup...All waiting in his room. Waiting because Rebecca had to rush off to the hospital." He returned to staring down at Parker's toy. "I shoved a couple of his things in a bag and got out as fast as I could. I couldn't…"
Hesitating briefly, Brennan reached out and took Booth's hand in her own. The last time she had offered comfort in the form of a touch he had responded gratefully. She hoped it would do the trick again this time. Brennan was aware she couldn't possibly understand how Booth exactly felt, but she could at least try being there for him. It was the only way she knew---the way she had learned from him.
Booth's breath hitched as he stared at their linked hands. Then he gave a gentle squeeze. "He's my flesh and blood, Bones. He's my son. I don't want…" The tears he was holding back were evident in the strangled tone of his voice. "Why him? Why cancer? He shouldn't be hurting like this. Not him. Not Parker. Not my little boy."
Brennan noticed how his shoulders began to tremble. She recognized the signs---trembling shoulders, strangled voice, watery eyes. He was going to break down any second now. Carefully letting go of his hand, she took the bunny from him and placed it on the dashboard. Booth automatically followed the toy with his eyes, choking back sobs. "Booth?" she tried as she softly touched his shoulder.
His gaze flicked from the dashboard to her worried expression. "Bones, I'm-" He shook his head and surprised the both of them with his next move. His arms slid around her before he pulled her close in a desperate hug. Burying his nose in her hair, he murmured, "I'm scared."
Usually she was the one initiating hugs. Whenever she was scared or seriously wounded she would grab him in a tight embrace. Because it was Booth this time seeking comfort in her arms, she froze up. All the other times she had received consolation---now she had to give it. With a look of concentration on her face, she brought her arms up and gently wrapped them around his broad frame. As time passed and the rain kept pelting down, Brennan gradually relaxed and began to feel more comfortable with Booth hanging on to her. One of her hands began to stroke his back when the first sob wracked his body.
"Everything is going to change," he whispered. "I don't want that to happen."
The hand that had been stroking his back cradled the back of his head. "Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. Parker may have cancer, but he's still your son. Nothing can change that. Nothing can take that away."
Astonished by her statement, Booth pulled back a bit. He studied her for a moment before he slowly nodded his head. "I guess you're right. He's my son, cancer or not." Letting go of Brennan, he went back to staring out the window. "If you don't mind me asking, where did those deep thoughts come from?"
"I have my moments." Upon seeing some of the pain edged in his face fade away, she added, "If he's as stubborn as you, he'll pull through this. Parker's a strong kid, Booth."
"I know he is. And Bones..," He gave her a sideway glance. "Thanks." Then he took the fluffy bunny from the dashboard and placed it in her lap. "Hold on to this, will you? Parker expects this to arrive in one piece."
Cradling the toy against her body like she had done moments ago with Booth, she nodded and watched him turn the ignition key. The rain hadn't lessened during their emotional exchange, but Brennan knew things would soon clear up---both the weather and Parker's situation. Besides faith in Booth, she had faith in the future. Science never failed. Parker was strong. He'd win the battle against cancer. The sun had to come out sooner or later. That was the most logical outcome if you added up all the facts. It was just a matter of time.
The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. Because no matter how heavy the downpour, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away.
Author's notes: Alright, which one of you has bunny-napped my inner fluff bunny? I'm writing one sad piece after another, what's up with that?! Maybe it's the music...Which brings me to the idea behind this one-shot. Jemb and I sort of challenged each other at writing a one-shot based on the same song to see with what we would both come up with. The song we picked is Rain by Jon Heintz. We're thinking about turning this into a monthly challenge. If you're interested in joining our little challenge, PM either Jemb or me. We'll fill you in on the challenge details then. I believe more information can be found in Jemb's entry (which should be posted before or after my story).
Oh right, I'm supposed to explain how the song relates to this story. Well, the setting is quite obvious (the rain and all). When I listened to the song for the first time, I immediately had this picture of Booth sitting in his car, lost in thought, while rain poured down. Afterwards it sort of evolved to a hurt/comfort piece. The most obvious reason for why Booth would need comfort was Parker being hurt. Throw in some elements of The Graft in the Bone, The Solder in the Grave, all those hugs they've shared, and voila, you've got Sometimes It Rains.
Thanks M for giving this a proof-read. As you can see, I obviously liked all the suggestions you made. We should do this more often! hehe