Okay, so apparently I can't be clear to save my life…sorry! What I meant about being bad with sequels is that I don't ever get around to writing them. So yeah…let's just see how far we get with this one, shall we? Cheers to all!
BTW mendenbar, that Furby kept me up all night humming a stupid song. What in the world did you teach it? Oh, and green is my favorite color, so if you don't mind...
Seeley couldn't remember feeling more excited. He looked over at Parker who was currently putting the finishing touches on the closet door. He was standing on a paint-splattered tarp in similarly decorated overalls, his blonde hair hidden beneath his backwards ball cap.
"Bub, you're doing great. Just spread that glob of paint out, will you? It'll dry faster that way." Parker smiled, white paint speckled all over his face, and he glided the brush over the offending area. Seeley turned back and finished the last touch up with his brush.
"I'm done Dad!" the boy exclaimed, stepping back to admire his handiwork.
"Alright, roll that tarp up quick and put it out on the back porch. Bones and Alan will be here soon!" The boy scrambled to comply, hurling all of his supplies to the center of the tarp before folding it up into a manageable size. Seeley looked at the room one last time, seeing that everything was in order, before following his son out into the living room. He scribbled a quick note – We're done - on a post-it note and put it on the outside of the door before he went to change. As he emerged from his room, he heard his son's footsteps.
"They're here!" Parker cried out, bounding over to his father as the key turned in the lock and Tempe led Alan through the door.
"Stay off the furniture," he warned, taking in the Parker's paint-covered attire, and he nodded quickly.
"Looks like you two have been busy," Temperance smiled. "Guess you're done?" she held up the green sticky and smiled at him knowingly. Seeley smiled back as she chanced a glance at the boy beside her, and he seemed both confused and excited.
"Yep! Alan you have to close your eyes okay? 'Cause it's a surprise!" Parker rushed to his new brother's side and made sure his eyes were closed firmly before leading him carefully to the hallway. Seeley shook his head and followed as Temperance put the groceries on the counter before joining them. As she surveyed the room she couldn't help the audible gasp that escaped her lips; they had really outdone themselves.
"Okay!" Parker shouted. "Open your eyes!" Alan's eyes popped open, then widened as he took in his new room.
"Wow," he breathed. "This is great." He turned around, looking at everything. "It's all mine?"
"Yep," Parker answered with enthusiasm, "And it's right across from my room!" As if to demonstrate the point, Parker pulled the older boy out of the room and into his. Tempe looked at the loft bed (complete with dino sheets) in the corner, a small desk underneath to conserve space. A dresser sat on the opposite wall with an array of dinosaur figures strewn on top.
"It looks great, Seeley," she said, stepping closer to him. He put an arm around her waist and pulled her against him, kissing her soundly.
"What did you guys do this morning?" She settled herself against him and shrugged.
"Well, after Alice's plane left we grabbed some lunch then went to Jack and Angela's. Apparently he and Zach had some 'cool new thing' to show him, so Ange and I just chatted for a while."
"Bones, it was bad enough you got Parker that microscope set for his birthday," he groaned. "Now you're unleashing the bugman and boy genius on the other one?" She leaned in closely, her voice a mere breath against his ear.
"He's my son, too." She felt him react immediately to her words as his hands tightened around her waist and his breathing became shallow. Whirling suddenly, he switched their positions and pressed her against the doorframe.
"That," he said huskily, "was unfair, Dr. Brennan." He leaned in and kissed her soundly, intending to steal her breath.
"Eeew!" Parker's voice cried out from beside them. He clamped his hands over his eyes as Alan pulled him back into his room. Seeley was laughing when he pulled away, happy to see the same amusement in her eyes overshadowing her doubt. The past few days had gone by in a whirlwind with meetings, and paperwork, and shopping for Alan. Seeley was glad for the pace, as it gave Temperance little time to actually think about what she'd agreed to. But once it hit her, he knew they were going to have a long talk. But for now, he would enjoy the time.
"Ah, the joys of parenting," he proclaimed. "Let's go see a movie!" She laughed and pushed him away from her, amazed that he could switch gears almost as quickly as the boys did. "Boys, get your shoes on! We're going to the movies!" Twin expressions of joy erupted from Parker's room as they heard them scrambling to find their footwear.
"The movies?" Temperance asked.
"Well, we have to let the paint dry anyway," he gestured back to Alan's new room.
"What are we going to see?" Alan asked as he and Parker emerged from his room.
"Harry Potter!" Parker shouted.
"No," Seeley answered. "It's too scary for you to watch in the theater and besides, I don't know if Alan has seen the first five movies."
"Five? How many of these Harry Potter things are there?" Temperance asked, and Seeley looked at her in wonder.
"You're in the book business, Temperance," he shook his head, "And you've never heard of Harry Potter?"
"You said movies," she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Yes, but they were books first. You ever heard of JK Rowling?" She shrugged and he made a note to let her borrow Parker's collection. "How about Bedtime Stories? It's supposed to be a good film for kids."
"Okay," Parker agreed, his enthusiasm for Harry Potter forgotten. Parker had traded his paint covered overalls for jeans and a long-sleeved Superman shirt, leaving the hat backwards on his head. He and Alan grabbed their coats as Seeley began ushering them out the door.
"Wait," Temperance said. "I have to use the restroom," she explained as all three turned back.
"I'll get them in the car," Seeley answered, pushing the boys out the door as she made her way back into the hallway. Moments later they were on their way, Parker chatting happily about their morning spent painting and decorating Alan's room.
"And Dad says when I'm a little older, I can have a loft bed too! I think it's really cool!"
"Hey, you two will have to camp out in Parker's room for the night," Seeley told them. "We have to make sure the paint's dry and the fumes aren't bad in there."
"Okay. Hey we can build a fort!" And plans were off on construction of the greatest fort they could imagine. Temperance listened idly as even Seeley jumped in with a few suggestions.
"Couldn't you just duplicate the 'fort' you built at Christmas? As I recall, that was pretty vast." Seeley stole a sideways glance at her before returning his eyes to the road.
"Bones, you just don't understand forts," he told her.
"We can teach you!" Parker added, his enthusiasm skyrocketing at the thought of actually teaching the 'smartest person in the whole wide world' something new. She was about to protest – she really had to get some work done after all – but one look at her partner's smiling face and the hopeful faces of the two boys in the backseat, she caved.
"Fine." A chorus of cheers erupted in the SUV, including one from the supposedly grown man sitting next to her. "But only to make sure your construction is structurally sound. Wouldn't want it collapsing on your heads in the middle of the night." She crossed her arms over her chest and pointed her gaze out her window, ignoring the disbelieving grin Seeley was shooting her.
"So, what did you think?" Seeley asked the boys as the foursome exited the theater.
"It was cool," Parker said, instantly recalling the neat effects. "I'm hungry." Temperance laughed and ruffled his ball cap side to side.
"When are you not hungry," she replied, earning her a seven-year old's version of the Booth charm smile and a tiny shrug.
"Who wants McDonald's?" Seeley intervened before Temperance reverted to her childhood days and actually stuck her tongue out at his son. Both boys perked up immediately and agreed, but Temperance shook her head.
"Booth, that is completely unhealthy," she remanded, but he just slung an arm around her shoulders and tucked her against his side playfully.
"Yeah, but it's Saturday. It's kind of the point."
"'Sides Bones, they have salads. Mom gets them all the time," Parker added helpfully.
"Yeah Bones, they have salads," Booth mimicked. "Come on. We just finished painting a room, then we went to the movies on a Saturday afternoon. Let's complete the picture of Americana."
"McDonald's is fine," she said, "but no soda," she compromised.
"You heard her boys," Seeley said triumphantly, "Sprites for everyone!" They piled into the car and drove away, the boys singing happily to the Disney CD Seeley had in the car for them to listen to.
"Hakuna Matata!" Parker was shouting happily as they made their way back into the house.
"Alright, enough!" Seeley cried out in desperation. "I can't take that song anymore." Parker shared a quick look with Alan, and both boys opened up their mouths at the same time.
"What a wonderful phrase!" they bellowed off-key.
"Alright! That's it!" He reached forward and grabbed Alan in a bear hug, clamping a hand over his mouth. Parker shrieked at his brother's plight and moved forward to begin pummeling his father's thigh in an attempt to rescue Alan. Surprised, Seeley dropped Alan momentarily, but it was enough for both boys to dart away into the hallway, singing the rest of the chorus in triumph.
"Wash your hands!" he cried after them as he started dishing out the food, setting various boxes of nuggets or cartons of fries on the table.
"Are you sure you can handle both of them?" Temperance asked, her surprise only a bit evident in her voice. Seeley turned to her and smiled softly.
"Are you kidding? I only wish I got to do it all the time," he said, returning to setting the table. But her hand on his shoulder stopped him and he turned back around to face her. In a move that surprised both of them, she leaned in and kissed him softly, her hands moving to intertwine in the hair at the nape of his neck.
"You are a wonderful father," she told him when she pulled back. She had found out very quickly that this, above all others, was the compliment he treasured most. His arms moved to circle her waist as he pulled her to him, hugging her close.
"Thank you," he whispered in her ear. Before he pulled away, however, he bent his head and kissed her shoulder where the collar of her sweater didn't quite cover. "For what it's worth, Temperance, you're a great mom." Then he saw it – the flash of doubt in her eyes – and he knew it was time. Leaving their food on the table, he grabbed her hand and started back for his bedroom, only pausing to poke his head in the boy's bathroom, where they were currently trying to wash all four hands at the same time.
"Boys, food's on the table. When you're through, throw your trash away and you can watch TV for one hour. Bones and I have to talk, so only interrupt if it's really important. Parker, you remember what that means?" The younger boy nodded vigorously as he tried to shove his still-soapy hands under the cold stream.
"Booth, I don't think –" But he cut her off by pulling her into his room and shutting the door softly.
"No, we need to do this now. I was wondering when this was going to happen. Honestly, I expected it sooner." He stared at her, letting her step away from him and turn her back. She needed some space to collect her thoughts, so he stood patiently while she gazed out the window.
"It all just happened really fast. You know I don't do things without thinking about all possible consequences. I weighed the pros and cons and came to my decision. I guess I just…didn't think about what to do next. I'm not fit to be a mother." As she said the last sentence, she turned to face him in her certainty.
"Could have fooled me," he said gently. "Temperance, look at me. When Parker was born, I had no clue how to be a dad. Honestly, a lot of it's common sense – like don't leave them alone, don't make things too hot, don't drop him," the last one got a small smile from her, and he took a small step forward as he continued.
"And a lot of it I had to learn on the way. I didn't know he was allergic to peanut butter because I wasn't there the first time he reacted to it. He likes regular milk over chocolate milk, God knows why. I know he can't sleep unless someone tucks him in and checks for monsters; and on stormy nights I can expect a visitor sometime after the loudest thunder clap. Parenting is an adventure, Temperance – it's an experience and I promise you you'll love every minute. You just have to trust yourself."
"But…there's no manual!" she exclaimed, and he let out an involuntary laugh. When she glowered at him, however, he schooled his features and held up in hands in an apologetic fashion.
"I'm sorry, Bones, but that was just…" he shook his head ruefully. "No, they don't come with manuals, and there's no one way to do it. Parenting is a unique experience that's different for each child." He could still see the hint of doubt in her eyes, something was still bothering her, so he crossed the remaining distance between them and crooked his finger under her chin, turning her eyes to his. There, he thought as he pinpointed the last of her worries.
"Temperance, I want you to listen to me. Look me in the eyes and really listen to what I'm saying." When he saw that he had her attention, he moved his finger to brush the hair behind her ear. "You are not your parents. You will not do to Alan what they did to you. You've proven that already when you signed those papers. We're in this together now, really together," to make his point his other arm came around and pulled her against him. "Come on," he coaxed with a smile. "We haven't found anything yet we couldn't do as a team, Bones." At last she softened against him and he saw the last of her fear fade. She closed the distance between them and laid her head on his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his mid-section. But she pulled back just as quickly, still adjusting to this shift in their relationship. Sensing her need to return things to normal, he gestured to the door.
"Why don't you go see if they've destroyed the kitchen yet? I'll be out in a minute." She smiled her thanks and glided out the door. He watched her go, admiring both the view and the woman. She's amazing, he thought as he moved to the bathroom, and instantly realized that the word was completely inadequate.
As he entered, a flash of yellow drew his gaze to the mirror. Glancing over, he smiled at the yellow post-it note placed prominently on the glass. He recognized his partner's handwriting even at a distance, but as he neared the note his heart began hammering. There, on the simple note, were the three words he'd waited almost four years to hear from her mouth.
You are amazing
Okie dokie folkies! (Wow I sounded like my crazy aunt just then...) This is the "unofficial" end to the fic. However before people get all up in arms and demand more from me (because some of you are just that crazy), I will compromise with you. I could leave this story open, and update it when inspiration strikes for a new chapter. OR I could write and post a sequel. It's up to you. Mercy me, I am diplomatic (anyone who's followed my other chaptered stories can attest). So get to voting people. Oh, and let me know what you thought of the chapter/story while you're at it. :)