Title: The Homeless Man in the Landfill
Disclaimer: Still not mine. Only playing, no infringement.
Rating: MA eventually which you can read on my website. For it will be M rated.
Author's Note: Thanks for the great response so far! I apologise to Renee who feels this story is dragging and boring – agreed it's a step away from the smutty one-shots that I would usually write and there will be more of those, too. I appreciate you taking the time to tell me what you thought. In the mean time, I hope those of you who have liked it so far will continue to do so. :)
Friday 19th December
"I'm not good at this kind of thing," Temperance complained, slipping the shiny red bauble unto the tree. "It looks lopsided." The fir tree's point reached an inch or so above Booth's head and seemed to tilt ever-so-slightly to the left. Brennan planted her hands on her hips and sighed. "There's too much weight on that side, Booth. Who taught you to decorate a tree, anyway?"
Booth, strands of silver tinsel wrapped around his shoulders like a sparkly feather boa threw her an indifferent glare. "Where I come from, Bones, the point of a tree is not to have a perfect show-room ornament like you'd see in a catalogue." He wiggled the end of the tinsel at her face, touching her nose. She had started to get used to the impromptu displays of affection that he would sometimes extend to her. Taking another bauble in her hand, she caught a glimpse of herself in the reflective plastic and she was surprised to see that she was smiling easily.
"What is the point then?" she asked.
"It's a family thing, Bones. An activity that brings everyone together and unites, even if only for a little while." Booth draped the tinsel around the tree, careful not to obstruct the twinkling glow of the dainty fairy-lights that Brennan had painstakingly twisted around the branches. "It was the only time my family would be fully united, you know." Brennan threaded golden string unto the baubles, resting on the edge of an armchair. Her fingers stilled and she wondered whether to urge further details from him. "I always wanted 'tree days' to last forever. My dad is a big guy, as broad as he is tall... cumbersome and not always well co-ordinated. My mother was a dancer in her younger years and she used to joke that my dad would never have made a dancer, but man, when he decorated the Christmas tree he would be so careful not to break the ornaments. We had ceramic ornaments, you see..." He turned a cradle decoration over, placing it on an empty branch.
"Booth..." Brennan touched his arm, her skin hot enough to seer away the memories of his childhood – good and bad. He blinked away the past and visibly straightened before her. "I can understand why you would miss that aspect of your life. I never imagined I would enjoy decorating a Christmas tree as much as I am." She realised that Booth would believe she had missed his point entirely – which was exactly what she wanted him to think, for when Seeley Booth felt he was wearing his heart on his sleeve or that someone was 'getting' his emotions, he would inevitably close up, again. Brennan found that she didn't want him to and that she was surprised by her psychological manipulation.
"Yeah..." he replied slowly. "Okay! Decision time... angel or star?" Brennan eyed the modernised golden star, carefully shaped as to appear abstract and the porcelain-faced angel, with her silken white dress, ringed halo and shiny blonde ringlets.
"Well... they're both religious symbols..." Booth dropped his arms in resignation.
"It's for Christmas, Bones. That's Christ-mas." Temperance took the angel from his right hand and smoothed her dress down before placing her atop the tree. "That was my choice too," Booth beamed. He deposited the star back into the box and drew his arms around her. "Thanks for inviting me over," he murmured in her ear, his lips brushing across her skin. "It's nice to share the season with someone special." Brennan pressed her cheek to his shoulder, the warmth and sincerity of his words washing over her.
"Is that what I am? Someone special?" He leaned back.
"What? Of course you are, Temperance. You should know me better than that, right? I wouldn't have entered into this, if it weren't something real." Her smile was watery and she nodded.
"Right." She agreed.
"Right... good. Yes. Beer?" He released her and she watched him disappear into her kitchen, wondering how people as socially fluent as Booth or Angela would describe 'something real' to a girl like her.
Friday 19th December
Lance Sweets had begun to doze in the uncomfortable plastic-covered armchair when a noise from the hospital bed roused him immediately. Emotional fatigue aside, Lance straightened and settled his gaze on the small frame that shifted beneath the pale green blankets. "Lucy?" he whispered, leaning forward.
His elder sister did not focus on him at first, her dark green eyes levelled on something beyond his head. "Luce?" He shuddered when she finally looked at him – a cold glare of intense anger, disappointment and dare he admit it, hatred.
"Where's mom and dad?" she asked gruffly, her throat dry.
"They went home to rest." Allie and Owen Sweets had been shattered when he had arrived in Middlefield that morning. His mother, at fifty-four had looked at least a decade older and her eyes had been haunted by the image of her only daughter. "Luce-"
"Don't start the bullshit, Lance." Lucy snapped at once. "How many more times are you going to sweep back into town trying to play the hero?" She was twenty-six but her body was frail and when she tried to elevate herself, Lucy's arms buckled and she fell against the mattress, cursing in frustration. Lance stood, advancing towards her despite her venomous tone. "Get off me!" she snapped as he persisted anyway.
"Do you need something to drink?" he asked pouring her a glass of lukewarm water from a plastic jug on the bedside cabinet. When she did not accept it, Lance left it beside her and retreated to the armchair again. "Are you going to be bitter every time I come to visit?" he asked, adapting his patient psychologist tone. His sister had long since been immune to it and merely stared. "I guess you can't give mom and dad a single happy Christmas, can you Lucy? Everything in life has to be entirely about you, otherwise you make these selfish plays for attention." Lance gestured to the thick gauze bandages that had been wrapped around her wrists – wrists that were already so scarred and battered from the many previous attempts Lucy had made upon her own life.
"Go to hell, Lance. Not everyone can be a golden child, you know." Lance glanced down at himself – straight-laced attire despite being only just a kid in the eyes of most. His navy blue tie had been loosened by around lunch-time but otherwise, he represented professionalism perfectly. Lance Jeremy Robert Sweets PhD. That was what his father liked to call him after a bourbon or two.
Neither of his parents had ever questioned why their brilliant young son had been so hell bent on pursuing a career in therapy. It had never occurred to either of them at their daughter, who had harboured suicidal tendencies since she was sixteen, had filled him with an anxiety and a need to cure her. Someone had to find the root of his sister's problems and if only he could do it, he would.
"You never tried to be a golden child, Lucy. For the past ten years you've done nothing with your life except mope around in self-pity." She had resented him since those early days too, when he aced every subject he tried while she stuck behind, struggling with problems that most other people had to struggle through on a daily basis.
Until he joined the FBI and met people with the severe issues, Lance had always felt some measure of sympathy for Lucy. Now, after ten years of feeling that same sympathy and receiving only icy retorts in response, Lance felt only that his sister was selfish and he hated himself for it.
"Why don't you go back to DC and play Boy Genius somewhere else. You can't get into my head, Lance. I don't want you in my fucking head!" She tapped her forehead hard, her green eyes so bright with fury they were almost electric. "You can tell mom and dad to get lost, too."
Lance closed his eyes, surprised at the emotion that rose in his chest. Getting to his feet he strode to the door and, entirely breaking his own character he glanced over his shoulder at his sister and said, "Merry fucking Christmas, Luce."
There will be B and B smut in the next chapter as well as more about Charlie and the other characters. I hope you liked this insight into Lance and why I thought he could have picked his chosen career. Please review and let me know!