This is a post-ep for 'The Salt in the Wounds,' but anything up to that point is fair game. It wasn't my favorite episode, but I have a feeling this episode is going to be a turning point for so many reasons… Enjoy!
Booth exited the Royal Diner, cell phone in hand. He dialed a number and waited for the woman to answer as he walked toward his Sequoia.
"Rebecca, it's me."
"Seeley, is something wrong?" his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child asked.
"I need to speak to Parker."
"It's late, Seeley. Parker's already in bed."
"Please, Rebecca," Booth pleaded.
Rebecca sighed. "I don't know."
"Come on." He paused. "I just really need to hear his voice," he finished, deflated.
"Okay," she agreed upon hearing the pain in his voice. "But don't keep him up too long."
"I won't," Booth said, grateful to have a few minutes to speak with his son. He heard rustling as Rebecca made her way to Parker's room and shook him gently in an effort to wake him up.
"Parker, honey, wake up. Daddy's on the phone, and he wants to talk to you."
Parker mumbled sleepily but took the phone from Rebecca.
"Hey, Bub!" Booth said with a smile, even though he knew Parker couldn't see him. "How're you doing?"
"I'm sleepy, Daddy."
"I know. You can go back to sleep soon. I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you and that I love you."
"I love you, too, Daddy."
Booth smiled again. "Thanks, Parker. So how's school?"
"S'okay," Parker mumbled, sleepiness making his eyelids droop and his speech slur. "Did really good on my last Science test."
"Well. You did well." Booth laughed to himself, suddenly sounding like his other favorite person.
"I'm so proud of you! Hey, you can tell me all about it on Saturday. I'm still picking you up before your baseball game, right?"
Parker's breathing changed and Booth knew it wouldn't be long before the boy was asleep again.
"Love you, Bub."
"Love you, too, Daddy."
Booth heard Rebecca take the phone from Parker and waited for her to come back on the line.
"Hey," Rebecca said. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I am now. Am I still picking him up on Saturday?"
"Yeah, he'll be ready."
"Okay, see you then."
"Hey, Rebecca," Booth interjected before she could hang up. "Thank you."
They hung up and Booth pocketed his cell phone. He neared his vehicle and noticed a familiar figure leaned up against the driver's side door.
"Bones? What are you doing here?" He felt, rather than saw, her smile.
"I rode with you, remember?"
"Oh, right," he said as he unlocked the door with the remote. "You haven't been out here long, have you?"
She pushed away from the door and made her way around to the passenger's side and got in.
Booth stared at her.
"You didn't answer my question."
Brennan sighed and rolled her eyes. "No, I've only been out here a couple of minutes. I came out of the restaurant and remembered that I rode with you. I thought about calling a cab, but I saw you and Clinton through the window. It appeared as though you were finishing up, so I just decided to wait on you."
Accepting of her answer and pleased that she hadn't voiced that she could take care of herself, he started the vehicle and pulled out into the semi-crowded D.C. street.
"So, um, do you want to talk about what's bothering you?" Brennan asked.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Bones. I'm fine." He'd just talked to Parker--he should have been fine. Unfortunately, the case still bothered him.
"Your posture indicates otherwise. Your hands are tightly gripping the steering wheel." She motioned toward his hands with her left one, then lightly touched his jaw. "And your jaw is clenched. That indicates tension."
"You've had more sessions with Sweets, haven't you?" he asked, trying to lighten the mood.
"A few, although Sweets would say that tension isn't a solitary emotion, but rather a complex blend of multiple emotions and expressions. Is it my fault?"
"Is what your fault?" he questioned, confused by her rapid change of subject.
"Your tension. I upset you by talking about those girls feeling as though they didn't need the fathers of their children."
"It's not just the girls who need to take responsibility. These guys who can't keep it in their pants need to own up to what they've done. It takes two to tango."
"Why are you talking about dancing, Booth?"
"I'm not!" Booth sighed. "It just means that two people are involved in creating another life. It's not immaculate conception."
"Yes, Bones, sex."
"So that's what you and Clinton talked about?"
Booth nodded. "Basically. I told him that sex wasn't just fun and games. That sometimes there are consequences. In Clinton's case, four consequences. He didn't think about the future and that those girls might one day change their minds and want him in their lives--or want child support. He was happy to do the deed, then go back to being a kid without a care in the world."
"And you gave him a lesson in responsibility," Brennan stated.
Booth let out a wry laugh. "I presented him with the facts and told him that it was his decision as to which man he'd be in the future."
"I know I've said this before, but you're a good man."
"Yeah, thanks, Bones," he replied solemnly.
"You're not like those boys, Booth. You accepted your responsibility as a father, and you make sacrifices to ensure that Parker has the best life possible."
"Yeah, but I'm still a man."
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked. "Oh, I get it," she added quickly before he could respond. "You are upset about that comment I made."
"Well, I'm not putting it on my favorite quotes list."
"What I should have said was that the men who don't take responsibility are the ones women can't count on. And that the good ones are few and far between, but there are still some of you out there."
They pulled to a stop at a red light, and he tilted his head as he looked at her. Though barely visible in the D.C. night, they held each other's gaze. Then he smiled and reached for her hand.
"Thanks, Bones," he said as he gently squeezed her hand. "Apology accepted."
Any verbal response died on her lips as a horn blew behind them, indicating that the light had turned green. Her hand slid from his, and the moment passed. She closed her eyes and sighed softly--she'd referred to their exchange as a 'moment.' She mentally replayed her earlier conversation with Angela, as well as the conversation she'd just had with Booth, and suddenly, she wasn't so sure she wanted to live her life in moments.
Thanks for reading!
A/N: Did anyone else notice in the last episode that Booth and Brennan's new eatery is across the street from the Royal Diner? It was implied in this episode, too, but I'm just curious to see if anyone noticed it before.