Hello readers! In case anyone's wondering, this was the Parker-themed story that I mentioned back in one of the author's notes for Snowed In (which I'm working on a sequel to, by the way.) This is set in the future, after Booth & Brennan are together. I hope you all enjoy it!
Disclaimer – The characters of Emma and Parker's teacher are mine. The rest belong to Hart Hanson, Fox, and Kathy Reichs.
Eight-year-old Parker Booth walked with his second grade class through the exhibits of the Jeffersonian Natural History Museum. Most of the other children had never been to the museum before and were listening to the tour guide closely, staring at everything with awe. Parker, however, was bored.
"You don't look like you're having a good time," Parker's best friend, Emma, said. She and Parker hung around the back of the group.
"It's okay, I guess. It's kinda boring. My dad's girlfriend works here, so I've seen this stuff loads of times. Once even at night when it was just us here," Parker said.
"Yeah, I go here a lot, too. My sister's studying history in college, and she comes here for research sometimes, and I go with her," Emma said. "Who's your dad's girlfriend? Have we seen her today?"
"No, she's an antapologist, so she works in a really big science lab. It's Dr. Brennan," Parker said, mispronouncing Brennan's occupation. "My dad works with the Jeffersonian, too."
"I thought your dad was an FBI agent?" Emma asked.
"He is, but he works with Dr. Bones to catch the bad guys," Parker said.
"Dr. Bones?" she asked.
"Yeah, Daddy's girlfriend," Parker said.
"Why do you call her Dr. Bones?" Emma asked.
"'Cause Daddy always does it," Parker shrugged.
The tour guide led the children into the museum's cafeteria, which had been set up to accommodate the children that day. The kids gathered around the teacher and the tour guide in a big group, waiting for instructions. Parker and Emma made their way to the front of the group.
"Okay, boys and girls, we're going to take a break for lunch. If you'd like pizza, please get into the first line. The second line has chicken nuggets. The tour will continue in an hour, and please remember to use your indoor voices," the teacher told them.
Emma and Parker joined the line for chicken nuggets. They got their food quickly and sat down at a table near the exit door.
"So what exactly do your dad and his girlfriend do here?" Emma asked.
"Tempe does something with bones to find out who the bad guys are, and then Dad goes out and arrests the bad guys and puts them in jail," Parker said. "I know they work together, but I don't really get why. Their jobs sound too different to me."
"Do you know anyone else who works here?" Emma said, more interested in this than she had been in anything else all day.
"Sure, lots of people!" Parker exclaimed. "There's this guy named Jack who works with bugs and slime. He's really cool. We raced beetles once."
"You can't race beetles," Emma said.
"Sure you can! We did," Parker said.
"Did you win?" Emma asked.
"Ah-huh! And then he's married to Tempe's best friend, Angela. She's an artist with the coolest computer ever!" Parker exclaimed.
"What's so cool about it?" Emma asked.
"There's pictures and stuff, but there's no screen!"
"That's impossible!" Emma said.
"No, it's not! I've seen it. She showed it to me when I was in her office for a really long time because Daddy and Tempe were fighting in Tempe's office one night, and Angela said that they needed to be alone. But they looked all happy when they came to get me, so it must have been a nice fight," Parker said.
Emma giggled. "Grown-ups are weird sometimes. What else can Angela's computer do?"
"Well, that day I was in there 'cause they were fighting, she showed me what I might look like when I'm 16 on it!"
"No way! That doesn't make any sense," Emma said.
"But it's true! She can do it. It's like magic," Parker said.
"Magic isn't real, Parker," Emma said.
"But it really is true," Parker said.
"Prove it!" Emma challenged.
"Okay, I will!" Parker accepted.
"How?" she asked with a skeptical tone of voice.
"We're at the Jeffersonian," Parker reminded her.
"We're at the museum! Anthapologists work in labs," she said, also mispronouncing Brennan's job.
"I know the way," Parker shrugged. "I've been here lots, remember? Let's go."
"But the teacher," Emma said, looking over her shoulder.
"She's not looking. Come on! We've seen the museum. This will be more fun!" Parker encouraged.
"We won't get lost?" Emma asked.
"No!" Parker promised.
"Okay, let's go," Emma agreed.
Parker and Emma threw their trash away and quietly left the cafeteria. Parker grabbed her hand and led her to a side exit of the museum.
"This way," he said, opening a door.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"'Cross the gardens," he said.
The young friends began to make their way through the gardens. They were about a quarter of the way there when security stopped them.
"Are you kids with the tour?" the man asked.
"Umm…no. We didn't have school today, and our babysitter dropped us off here. We're 'posed to go to Daddy's girlfriend," Parker lied. Emma was silent.
"That was very irresponsible of your babysitter," the man said.
"Uh-huh," Parker agreed, even though he wasn't quite sure what irresponsible meant.
"Who's your Daddy?" the security guard asked, getting down to the kid's level.
"Agent Booth of the FBI," Parker replied proudly.
"And he told you to meet him at his girlfriend's office?" the man asked.
"Yes," Parker said.
"Follow me. I'll take you kids to Dr. Brennan," he said, beginning to walk away.
"You lied to him," Emma whispered.
"He would've made us go back to the museum if I hadn't!" Parker replied.
"Good point," Emma agreed.
Temperance Brennan was sitting at her desk in her office. She was tapping her fingers impatiently against the case file she was reading. The body of an exhumed ten-year-old should have arrived an hour ago. Brennan was aware of the fact that it was currently the hour most typically used for lunch, but she wanted her bones.
"Dr. Brennan?" the security guard said, tapping on her open door.
"Yes?" she asked, looking up.
"Tempe!" Parker shrieked, running to give her a hug. She closed her arms around the little boy's body and looked up at the security guard with a confused look on her face.
"They said Agent Booth told them to meet you here," the man told her.
Brennan had no idea what he was talking about, but decided not to ask. "Okay. Thank you," she replied.
"Have a good day," he said, leaving the kids with her.
Emma climbed onto Brennan's couch and picked up an artifact from her table. Brennan instantly jumped up from her desk.
"Oh! Um, can you not touch that, please?" she said, taking it from her hands.
"Sorry," Emma said, looking a little scared.
"Tempe, this is Emma," Parker said, joining his friend on the couch.
"Parker, what's going on?" Brennan asked.
"The tour ended early, and Daddy said that if that happened to come to you, and he'd pick us up from here," Parker lied.
Why didn't Booth tell me about this? Brennan wondered. She trusted the boy, so she accepted his explanation without further questioning.
"And Emma?" Brennan asked.
"She didn't believe me about racing beetles with Jack or Angela's magic computer," Parker said.
"It's not magic, Parker. Those pictures you see in the Angelator are just holograms," Brennan explained.
"Told you it wasn't magic," Emma exclaimed.
"Dr. Brennan," Zack said, entering her office. He froze when he spotted the two little heads on her couch. "Oh. Who are the rugrats?"
"I don't know what that means," Brennan replied.
"The kids," Zack clarified.
"You remember Booth's son, Parker, and this is his friend, Emma," she said. "Kids, this is Dr. Addy. He's an anthropologist, too."
"Hello," Zack nodded. Emma waved.
"Is my body here, Zack?" Brennan asked.
"They're bringing it onto the platform now," Zack said.
"It's about time," she sighed.
Brennan grabbed her blue lab coat and pulled it on, trying to fasten the buttons and quickly walk of her office at the same time. Zack cleared his throat to stop her, and she turned, confused.
"What?" she asked. He pointed to Parker and Emma, who had gotten up to follow Brennan.
"What does she mean her body's here?" Emma asked Parker.
"I don't know. Nobody will tell me," Parker said.
"Oh," Brennan sighed. "Okay, kids, follow me. Zack, I'll be right there. Don't start without me."
"Yes, Dr. Brennan," he said and exited the office.
"Where are we going, Tempe?" Parker asked.
"Angela's," she answered.
"Yay!" Parker exclaimed as they left her office.
"Okay, I need you both to look towards the wall. Don't look at the center of the room," Brennan said.
Brennan made sure their eyes were covered and used her body as a shield between the second graders and the half-decomposed body. They entered Angela's imaging unit, and she told the kids it was alright to uncover their eyes.
"Angela!" she called.
"Yeah, sweetie, what's up?" Angela said, coming into view. "Hi, Parker!"
"Hi, Angela! This is Emma," Parker said.
"Hey," Angela nodded with a smile on her face. "What's going on, Bren?"
"I need you to watch them," Brennan said.
"Why?" Angela asked.
"For some reason, Booth decided to send them to me, and I wasn't expecting them, and the body just arrived," she explained.
"Oh," Angela replied. "I'll take care of them. Go solve the case."
"Thanks, Ange!" Brennan said, running out.
"What does she mean her body's here?" Emma asked Angela. Angela chuckled nervously.
Special Agent Seeley Booth was getting ready to go into a meeting with Director Cullen. Cullen wanted an update on the case he and Brennan were currently working on. Booth was wrapping up an e-mail to a colleague when his cell phone rang.
"Booth," he answered, expecting to hear his girlfriend's voice.
"Agent Booth, this is Mrs. Hill, Parker's teacher," the speaker said.
"Yes, hi. Is there a problem?" Booth asked.
"Well, yes. There is," Mrs. Hill said.
"I thought his Jeffersonian trip was today," Booth asked.
"It is. We're in the museum cafeteria, rounding up the students to continue the tour right now. Agent Booth, Parker is missing."
"He's what?" Booth asked, making sure he heard correctly.
"We can't seem to locate Parker and another student. Her mother has also been contacted," Mrs. Hill said.
Booth's stomach dropped. "If you don't mind me asking, who's the other student that's missing?"
"Emma McIntyre," Mrs. Hill said. "She and Parker have been hanging out together all morning. It's my understanding that you work with the Jeffersonian. Is there anything you can do?"
"I don't know, but I'm going to try. Keep me updated," Booth said.
"I will, Agent Booth," Mrs. Hill said.
"Thanks," Booth said.
"And you the same if you hear anything," Mrs. Hill said.
"Definitely," Booth agreed.
"Thank you, Agent Booth," Mrs. Hill said and hung up.
Booth immediately dialed a contact in security at the Jeffersonian.
"Yeah, it's Booth. Lock down the museum. No one gets in, no one gets out. Do you understand?" Booth asked and paused as the man responded. "No, the labs are fine. Just the museum. There are two missing children."
Up Next: Parker and Emma hang out with the Squints, and Brennan finds out what's really going on.
Feedback is greatly appreciated!