A/N : Hey people!! I'm back!! Back, with a new story based on a case again, in which I planned to mix fluff, fun, angst, suspense, and of course, BB friendship, & romance. I hope you'll like is as much as Bloody Waters! At first, I wanted to call the story "Here we go round the mulberry bush", like the song I'll use in, at least, the first chapters. But it sounded weird so my beta (who's back with me of course!) and I decided to go with a more traditional title.
Of course, I don't own anything (if I could only own Booth, though… I'm not asking much, am I?), except Chloe and some other characters I invented.
Good reading !
Chapter 1 : So early in the morning
"Here we go 'round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush…"
Chloe sat straight in her bed and began to untangle her long blonde hair with her fingers. Like every morning, the sound of his heavy steps upstairs had woken her up. She shivered, thinking of him, and stopped humming. If he heard her, he could… No, she preferred not to think about that. Her fingers unconsciously brushed the most recent bruise on her left arm. No, this would not be happening again. She'd be a good girl, she'd do what he expected from her, and hopefully she'd be able to go out this day.
"Here we go 'round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning…"
There were mulberry bushes in the forest, lining the path. She wondered if the fruits were already ripe. Not that she was starving; she always had enough to eat. He even forced her, when he found that she hadn't eaten enough. But the mulberry bush… It reminded her of her grandmother. She had taught her how to pick the ripest berries, when they were dark and not red. The red ones were useful to make jam, though. Her grandmother always let her lick the spoon and the pan.
She moved her thin fingers to her mouth and brushed them against her lips. The memory of the hot, sweet jelly caused her to smile, first. But soon, tears of melancholy began to fill her eyes. She'd never see her grandmother again.
The sound of the door being unlocked made her startle, and she sniffed, wiping away the few tears that had managed to slide down her cheeks. When the door was pushed open, the light coming from upstairs obliged her to narrow her eyes.
"Come on, Becky", the rough voice barked. "Today you're having breakfast with me. Upstairs."
Brennan put her cup of coffee back on the table and huffed. It was Saturday morning, it was sunny outside, and yet, she wasn't in the mood for anything. She was feeling sleepy and, to be honest, slightly depressed. The fact was, although she wouldn't have admitted to herself, she was feeling awfully lonely these days. Even though she kept repeating to herself and the others that she didn't mind being alone, she couldn't deny that her personal life was a total disaster. She sometimes wondered what it would be like if she had left with Sully. Maybe it would have been a good idea, after all.
No. Not really.
She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. Booth had taken a week off. He had gone to Florida with Parker. Plenty of amusement parks, white sand beaches… Everything was present to make the few days he was allowed to spend with his son perfect. What's more, they hadn't had a case for so long… Not that she hoped that somebody would discover a dead body soon, but she missed Booth being around. She missed the field work, she missed interviewing suspects, she… Woah. No, wait… Had she just confessed that she missed Booth? No, huh, total nonsense there.
Okay. She really did miss him. She missed their heated debates in the Diner while eating fries and cherry pie; she missed their arguing in the car, she missed him showing up at her door with take-out Thai food. She missed his friendly ears when she felt the need to talk about her dad, she missed his point of view, although she would never hold back her counter-arguments, she missed his pieces of advice, even if she would never admit to putting them into practice.
Yeah, Booth was really a good friend, more than all the guy friends she had had in her life. Somehow, it was natural. Partners were meant to be friends. They spent so much time together, as part of their job. Well… It sometimes went beyond the working hours, but that's what partners do, don't they?
She stood up, annoyed by her own thoughts, and turned the music on before heading to the bathroom. A quick shower and she'd go visit her father at the Federal Detention Facility.
"No, Daddy, leave me alone, I wanna sleep again!"
"I'm sorry, buddy, but you gotta get up, our plane leaves in an hour and a half. I'm sorry I have to wake you up so early but I couldn't book another flight."
"No, I don't wanna go!" Parker whined instead of co-operating. "I wanna go to Seaworld again!"
"C'mon, Parker, look back at everything we did this week. You're a lucky little boy, you know. You'll have a lot of things to tell your friends when you're back at school."
"But I don't wanna go back school, and I don't wanna go back home."
Booth sat beside his son and smiled at him.
"I know; me neither. But, hey, we can't stay here forever. Your mom would miss you, don't you think?"
Parker seemed to think about it during a moment, then nodded. "I think I'd miss her too."
"Right. So why don't you get up now, and I'll buy you a donut when we are at the airport?"
This time, the five-year-old didn't have to be asked twice. He jumped out of the bed, followed by the tender gaze of his father who, for some reason, was glad they were leaving muggy Florida and would be back to boring DC in a few hours.
The visiting room was cold and austere, as usual. But despite the environment and the ridiculous orange suit he was forced to wear, Max Keenan was all smiles. He wouldn't admit that life in prison wasn't always pleasant. But he had done this for his daughter, and there she was, standing in front of him. He couldn't ask for more. He had been waiting days to see her.
He stood up and opened his arms to her. She sighed but approached him and, wrapping her arms around him, she gave him the hug he was clearly expecting.
"How've you been, honey?" he asked cheerfully.
She shuddered, sitting down on the chair in front of him.
"I'm okay, as you can see."
He chuckled. Same old Tempe…
"By this, I meant, what have you been doing this week?"
"Routine, you know. The usual work."
"Booth is on vacation, isn't he?"
"Yep. He's in Florida with Parker. He's coming back today, I guess."
Max Keenan's eyes narrowed and his lips curved in a slight, mischievous smile.
"What?" Brennan asked, raising her eyebrows.
"You miss him, don't you?"
"What? Why do you say that?"
"Oh, c'mon hon. You could at least admit it. I can hear it in your voice."
"What are you trying to say, Dad? There's nothing to be heard in my voice. I can bear him being on vacation for one week."
"Meaning that you can't bear him being gone for a longer time?"
"What? No! Stop it, Dad, it's annoying! What's your point?"
"All right, all right, don't be so touchy. So, do you have plans for tonight?" Max said, thinking it was about time to change the subject.
"Angela wants us to go out together. Just girls, I mean. Hodgins wasn't really happy with that, but I'm pretty sure she'll find a way to convince him to let her go without him for the night."
"That's a good thing. You should…"
"… go out more often, yeah, I know. That's what Angela said, too."
"I think I'd love that Angela."
"It's difficult not to love Angela", she stated, getting to her feet. "Look, I gotta go now, my karate class starts in twenty minutes. Do you need anything?"
"No, thanks. Seeing my daughter was way enough to please me."
She hesitated, then decided to plant a kiss on his cheek. Max smiled. He was finally managing to win her over. Not a day did he regret to be in jail. Whatever his sentence would be, his daughter's visits were enough to make him happy. She was beginning to get used to him, to accept his love and somehow, to love him back. Each time she had come to see him, their conversations had become more intimate. She didn't call him Max anymore, she called him Dad. He knew she had almost forgiven him. And he also knew that Booth had his part in this.
She turned around, her hair moving slightly. God, she looked so much like her mother.
"I'm pretty sure he misses you too."
Finding nothing to retort, she rolled her eyes before leaving, letting out an annoyed sigh. Of course, Booth didn't miss her. He had been waiting for so long to spend this week with Parker. For sure, he was thinking of anyone but her.
The sunlight outside made her blink. It was only ten in the morning and it was already pretty hot. As she was heading to her car, her cell phone rang in her purse. It had to be Angela. She wasn't really in the mood for going out tonight, but she knew that her friend wouldn't leave her in peace until she'd agreed. However, when she quickly glanced at the screen, she was surprised to see that the caller ID said 'Booth'.
"Hey Booth. Already back?"
"Hey, Bones, look, I've got a favour to ask you", he said, sounding agitated.
"What is it?" she asked, opening the door of the car and throwing her bag onto the passenger seat.
"Well, taxi drivers are on strike today, can you believe that?"
"I wasn't aware of that."
"You should watch the news sometimes, Bones", he teased.
"You too, obviously", she retorted in the same tone.
"Yeah, well, whatever… I really, really want to avoid calling Rebecca, 'cause you know, she'd…"
"Yeah, I understand. You're afraid that she'd decide to shorten your time with Parker."
"Exactly. So, I was wondering if you could…"
"You want me to pick you guys up at the airport."
"Exactly. But if it bothers you, I'll just…"
She laughed. "Of course not. What time will you arrive?"
"We've already arrived, actually."
"Oh, okay, I'm on my way, then."
As she turned on the ignition, she realised that she was smiling.
Booth loaded the bags in the trunk, huffing with tiredness. Parker was already sitting in the back seat, seeming kind of excited about this change of plan.
"I owe you, Bones. I really do, you know."
"Well, it's no big deal, right? I just had to skip my karate class."
"Woah, I'm sorry for that."
"Oh, don't be. I didn't really want to go, anyway", she said in a tired voice, settling herself in the driver seat.
He fastened his seat belt and looked at her with concern.
"Yeah", she reassured him with a slight smile.
"In Florida, we went to Disneyworld, and Seaworld, and to the water park", explained Parker in a rush. "And I met Mickey, and he gave me a kiss on the cheek!"
"Who's Mickey?" Brennan asked. "Is he one of your friends?"
Booth laughed at his partner's ignorance about Disney characters. "He's a mouse, Bones. Mickey Mouse."
"So, you guys met a mouse?"
"Well, not a r…" He stopped himself, remembering that Parker was in the car. "Yes. We met a mouse."
He winked to a puzzled Brennan who decided that she'd probably understand later.
When they reached their destination, she helped Booth carry the bags into the house, the little boy running and jumping around them.
"Are we going to the zoo tomorrow, Daddy?"
"Yes, Parker, we'll go to the zoo tomorrow."
Booth crouched down and rested his forehead on his son's.
"I promise. Now why don't you go playing in your room?"
"Okay! Is Doctor Bones staying with us today?"
"No Parker, I gotta go back home now", Brennan replied, knowing how Booth cherished his rare moments alone with Parker.
"You could stay and I'd show you my new remote-controlled car!"
"Another time, maybe."
The five-year-old stepped closer to Brennan and looked up at her, tilting his head back to beg a kiss. The anthropologist was surprised, at first, but then she leaned down and she offered him her cheek. When it was her turn to give him a kiss, she couldn't help noting how soft and smooth his child skin was.
"Good bye, Doctor Bones!"
Brennan watched him prancing towards his room, an amused smile playing on her lips, while Booth's gaze was directed to his partner. Had she just been touched by his adorable son? He couldn't help thinking how cute it was to see her like this. One day, he'd manage to change her mind about having children. One day, he'd succeed.
"I think I should go now", Brennan announced, startling him out of his reverie.
"Oh… Don't you want a cup of coffee?" he asked, trying to postpone the moment she'd leave more than attempting to be polite.
"No, I'm fine, thanks", she replied, slightly shaking her head.
Booth followed her to the door and leaned against it.
"I'm dying to eat a cherry pie. In Florida, they are awful. We should go to the Diner, one of these days."
"Sure", she answered with a smile before leaving.
But to tell the truth, it wasn't really the delicious cherry pies that were missing in Florida. It were the classy forensic anthropologists.
"This is the way we wash our clothes
Wash our clothes, wash our clothes
This is the way we wash our clothes
So early Monday morning…"
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Tues... no, wait. Thursday. Let's do it again. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Chloe knew the days of the week by heart. She had learnt them at school. At first, she had managed to remember which day it was, counting on her fingers. But now, she had been there for so long she had sort of lost all notion of time. She didn't even know how old she was now. She was five when she had arrived. Was she six now? She knew the months of the year, too. And today was pretty hot, although it was still early. It had to be July or August.
And Saturday. Yeah... The sun seemed like a Saturday morning sun.
The bright August morning sun shone over the trees of Browne State Forest. Her hands on her hips, Pamela Grant let out a deep sigh of contentment. The smell of wood and leafs, the smooth breeze. Perfect weekend. Perfect place to unwind. She tried not to think about the Monday to come. The inescapable and never-ending jams in the center, a stressful presentation at work. Jeez, she would have become crazy without these little weekend escapades.
"Pam, where's Sammy?" her boyfriend's voice asked, his head protruding from the tent.
"I don't know, I thought he was with you", she replied, glancing around. "Aw, that dog… Why does he always feel the urge to run after birds like a cat? Sammy!"
"Sammy, heel! Heel!"
But Sammy was far from paying attention to his masters' calls, for he had found something that was definitely worth ignoring their orders. He gave himself away, though, when he wasn't able to hold back a yelp of satisfaction, and soon, he felt a firm hand grabbing his collar.
"Sammy, you're really…"
Pamela never found the right word to tell her dog how pissed she was when he ran away, for the second her eyes shifted to his marvelous discovery, she screamed, loosing every hope to relax during the weekend.
A/N : I'm very curious to know what you thought of this first chapter, so click the button and let me know!