Disclaimer: 'Bones' and its characters are the property of Josephson Entertainment and Far Field Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's note: This is my first Bones fanfic. I wrote this story after the second season's finale, but it took me some time to find the courage to post it. I hope I did justice to the show and its characters.
English is not my native language, and this story was written without the help of a beta. If you find any annoying writing errors in this fanfic, please PM or email me (instead of mentioning it in a review), and I will correct it immediately. Thank you!
It was dark in her office. Most people had left for the evening, and the Jeffersonian Institute was deprived of its usual daytime activity. Dr. Temperance Brennan was situated on the ground, surrounded by dozens of pictures. While some rejoiced in reminiscing about the past, Temperance stared at the pictures before her with glistening tears in her bright eyes. The knowledge that her team had all gone home allowed her to give into the feelings that had been bottling up for a couple of months now.
A tear escaped her long eyelashes, ran down her cheek and splashed on one of the photos, blurring a picture of her mother and her. Another drop of liquid followed the curve of her face and slid down her neck. Though she was perfectly capable of distancing herself from the most gruesome cases, to view the bodies she encountered as tools to discover the truth and not as human beings, she wasn't quite as successful when dealing with her own past. She hated showing weakness however. It was something she couldn't afford herself to be… weak, vulnerable, dependent. She had managed to be strong and independent for most of her life, always in control of everything she did, yet lately she felt that the strong walls she had expertly erected around herself were becoming more unstable and were slowly crumbling down.
"Why are you crying?"
A small voice startled her out of her reveries. She looked up to find a young boy standing in front of her. She had not heard him come in and was surprised by her own lack of vigilance, a quality she had always praised herself for, especially in her line of work. Being cautious had proven to be eminent in countries torn by violence, in which the noble work of identifying casualties of war was a continuous danger and often a threat to her own life.
Her features softened slightly when she saw the hesitant look on the boy's face. He apparently didn't quite know how to act around her. She couldn't blame him, for they had only met a couple of times and in each case it had just been for a few minutes. But there was an unmistakable compassion in his big brown eyes that reminded her of someone else she cared for and respected very much.
Temperance heaved a deep sigh, trying to put on the professional mask she had grown accustomed to so well. "I'm not crying, Parker," she said softly, attempting to reassure the child, though if she would be completely honest with herself maybe to reassure herself as well that she was all right… or at least going to be.
The boy looked skeptical. "Then why are your cheeks wet?" He walked over to her. As he stood before her, Parker said with a serious expression on his innocent face: "When I'm sad my mommy always wipes away my tears." Then with the tenderness of a child he brushed his hand over her cheek to catch the remaining tears that still lingered there.
Temperance closed her eyes for just a second, relishing the kindness of the young child that had decided her worthy of his affection. Even though she had often claimed not to be in need of emotional connectedness with someone, that her work provided her with enough satisfaction, she couldn't deny that this act of compassion from someone she had only met a few times raised a longing inside of her which she had long denied.
Her eyes flew open when Parker surprised her for a second time in just a few minutes by nestling on her lap. He acted like it was perfectly normal for him to so, yet for her it was a feeling that was completely alien. Despite her vast accumulated source of knowledge, despite a broad array of experiences with other cultures and its people, it was the touch of a child, this child, that made her painfully aware of what she'd been missing out on.
Obviously unaware of the stiffening of her body, the young child picked up a photo near Temperance's feet. "Who's that?" he asked curiously, holding the photo up and looking at it intently.
It was a picture of a young Temperance on a swing, her mother standing behind her. The young girl's face radiated with joy as her mother pushed the swing. It was obvious to any viewer that the girl was perfectly happy and carefree.
"My mother," Temperance answered him solemnly.
Parker traced the features of the woman standing behind the girl with his index finger. "Where is she?"
"She is dead." Her face lacked any expression, but a careful observer would notice the hint of sadness lingering in her voice and the brief flash of anger in her bright eyes. Though she had come to terms with the passing of her mother, she had a long way to accept the circumstances surrounding her mother's death.
"Oh." Parker seemed to need a few moments to think about that. He was young; he still had both of his parents and had not personally experienced the death of a beloved. But as young as he was, he knew what it meant. Tommy's mom died a few months ago, and his best friend still cried sometimes. So Parker knew that it meant that Temperance's mother was not coming back. It made him feel sad for her. He loved his mother very much and couldn't imagine her gone. Nor his father. "And where's your dad?"
"He's not… here." It was the truth, something she valued now even more than ever. Her whole life had been based upon a lie, a lie that she'd unraveled only recently. Even her own name, Temperance Brennan, proudly displayed on her doctorate, associated with best-selling books, wasn't hers. At first she'd felt as if someone had stolen her identity, as if she had lost a part of herself and didn't know who she was anymore. Soon the analytical part of her had taken over though, rationalizing that her identity wasn't based upon a name. Her name didn't define her. Her identity was instead a sum of genetic inheritance and the experiences she had gathered throughout life. She would never be Joy Keenan. It was Temperance Brennan who had become the woman she was today.
Parker's eyes widened in disbelief. He looked up from his place on her lap to see her face. "Don't you have any family here?"
A sudden lump formed in Temperance's throat as a reaction to the unwelcome feeling of loss evoked by his question. Silently cursing herself for letting her emotions get the better of her, she clarified to the young boy: "I have a brother but he's not here either. He's…unavailable right now. I've been told to have aunts, but I haven't located them yet."
Parker jumped up from her lap. Much to her own surprise, Temperance immediately found herself missing the contact. She eyed the child in front of her warily. Parker was obviously lost in thought. He seemed pensive of something, as if he was weighing its pros and cons.
Apparently the pros had prevailed, because after a few seconds the boy nodded determinately. "Dr. Brennan?"
Temperance was impressed by the politeness of the young child. Booth had raised him well. It wouldn't have surprised her if Parker had picked up on the name Booth usually had reserved for her. The FBI agent loved calling her Bones, and even though she'd often protested vehemently against his nickname for her, it had become something they shared, something like a ritual or a routine that characterized their relationship, and she had found herself growing accustomed to the name, reacting to it instinctively.
"We can be your family if you want," he offered good-heartedly. "I don't think daddy would mind." His face broke into a huge grin. "He likes you."
Warmth spread through her entire body at the child's words, and despite the melancholy feeling previously evoked by her memories and the pictures before her, a small smile curled upon her lips. "Does he?"
"He talks about you a lot," Parker explained in perfect innocence. "He says you're really smart, that you work with bones. He also calls you Bones sometimes, but it's his special name for you so he said that I can't call you that. Do you have bones of dinosaurs? I like dinosaurs. I have a Tyrannosaurus Rex at home. He's the greatest." Before Temperance could answer, Parker continued enthusiastically: "You can come eat with us at Christmas. And Thanksgiving if you want. You can watch me at soccer practice. Daddy comes and watches me on Saturday. You can come with him. I scored last week," he added proudly.
Temperance smiled again, caught up in the boy's enthusiasm and secretly amazed by the flow of the conversation. 'Booth must be exhausted after an evening with the child.' "You did?"
Parker's chest seemed to swell with pride, another act that made him remind her of someone else. The genetic inheritance from father to son was quite apparent. "A hat trick!"
"I don't..." Temperance started but halfway changed her mind as she deducted the meaning of his words by his proud stance and the enthusiastic glitter in his eyes. So instead of asking him what a hat trick was, she continued with an approving nod: "That is really good, Parker."
"Yup! So if you want…" Parker suddenly seemed shy, shuffling his feet. "…We can be your family. If you want of course. Maybe till your dad and brother come back or maybe till you find your aunts?"
Temperance wasn't often lost for words, but now she found herself incapable of forming any coherent response. Another tear rolled down her cheek. However, this time it wasn't because of sadness; it was because of this young boy who had captured her heart with his generous offering of a family.
Without any reservation on his behalf, Parker wrapped his small arms around her. "Don't cry. If I ask daddy he'll buy us both ice cream. Chocolate is my favorite!"
A soft chuckle escaped Temperance's lips. In an instinct she returned the hug, tightening her arms around the small frame of the child and holding him close to her. "Thank you, Parker," she said huskily.
As she looked up, through the shimmering of her tears, she noticed Booth standing in the doorway, a paper file clutched in his hand. He'd probably intended to drop the file off before spending a precious evening with his son. An inscrutable expression masked his face as he witnessed the scene of his partner holding his son in her arms. She wondered how long he'd been standing there, if he had heard what his son in all his innocence had offered her, and suddenly felt a little self-conscious, a feeling that was quite unfamiliar to the strong-willed doctor. She had always been cautious in demonstrating any hint of vulnerability, convinced as she was that it would only raise certain alpha male tendencies like Booth's drive to be overprotective of her, yet here she was, letting her guard down for anyone to see. But before she could say or explain anything, Booth smiled at her and nodded gently as if conforming his son's offering.
A family isn't restricted by the boundaries of genetics but is instead formed by the people that care for you. And as she held Parker in her arms and felt the warm, compassionate gaze of her partner upon her, Temperance knew that she was not alone.
Thank you for reading my first Bones fanfic. I hope you enjoyed it. Feedback would be very much appreciated! - Karin -