A/N: This is a one-shot I wrote for a challenge at teh BY. I adore Parker!
Disclaimer: Bones isn't mine. This is for entertainment purposes only.
DOES MY DADDY LOVE ME
I think one of the worst places for a kid to be is on a wooden bench next to the principal's office.
I swung my feet back and forth, not wanting to see the secretary giving me a pitiful look. I knew I looked bad. My cheek hurt where Chase hit it. He wasn't sitting with me because he was in the nurse's office getting his nose taken care of.
I looked at my knuckles. Some of Chase's blood was still there. I remembered how it felt when I hit him in the nose. It hurt my hand, but I know it hurt him more.
And now I'm waiting for my mom or dad to come to talk to the principal. I'm trying not to be scared about that. My mom had a big meeting today. If she had to leave to come to school, she was gonna be mad at me.
And Dad…my dad's the strongest and bravest man in the world. He works with the FBI and catches bad guys. If he finds out why I hit Chase…I don't want him to know. I don't want anyone to know. Just remembering what Chase said makes me want to cry. And I can't cry. I have to be brave, like my dad.
It was Dad. He had on a suit with the Scooby Doo tie I got him for Christmas. Bones was right behind him.
I like Bones. She's the smartest person in the world. She knows all about science. She doesn't get grossed out by things like dead bodies. Unlike the girls in my school, who scream when then see a squashed frog on the playground.
"Parker? What happened?" Dad's kneeling in front of me, his hand on my chin, looking at my face.
I swallowed. "I – I got into a fight."
Bones is standing next to Dad, a slight frown on her face. "That doesn't sound like you, Parker."
"Bones, tell the secretary I'm here, okay?" Dad moved to sit next to me.
She nodded and went to the desk. Dad put an arm around me. "Why did Chase hit you, little man?"
I gulped. I didn't want to answer that question. I went back to watching my sneakers swing back and forth.
"Parker?" My dad's voice got a warning tone in it.
The door opened and Principal Fletcher stepped out. "Mr. Booth? I'd can see you and Parker now."
"Okay," Dad said, his arm still around me as we got up. "Bones, you want to come in?"
I was shaking a little as we walked into the office. Principal Fletcher shut the door behind us. Dad sat next to me in one of the chairs in front of the desk, and Bones sat next to him.
"Why aren't Chase's parents here?" Dad asked. "Shouldn't they be here?"
"They'll be here shortly," the principal said. "But given that Parker started the fight, I thought we should chat first."
"What?!" my dad shouted. Bones raised her eyebrows. I swallowed, feeling tears in my eyes. I blinked real hard. I didn't want to cry in front of Dad. I wanted to be brave like him.
"Parker," Dad said, his hands on my shoulders. "what's going on? Is what Principal Fletcher's saying true?"
I closed my eyes tightly. I nodded.
"Why, Parker?" I heard the disappointment in his voice. "Why would you start a fight?"
I gulped. It was harder to keep the tears back. "I don't know," I whispered.
"Parker," Principal Fletcher spoke up. "I know it isn't like you to start a fight. Some of the other boys said Chase was teasing you. They said it was something about your dad?"
Oh, no. The guys told on me. I couldn't stop the tears now. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to hear Chase's words again. "I – I don't wanna say it."
I didn't want to say it. I didn't want Dad to hear it. I didn't want to know if Chase was right.
"Parker?" Dad pulled me into his lap. "Parker, what's wrong?"
"What does the other child say?" Bones asked.
"He said Parker hit him for no reason," the principal said. "Of course, if he were taunting Parker he probably wouldn't admit it."
"Parker," Dad's hand was smoothing my hair. "What'd he say?"
I shook my head. "Nothing," I muttered.
Dad put his fingers under my chin and gently lifted my head so I had to look into his eyes. "Little man, you know how we talk about telling the truth?"
I sniffled. I knew. God says not to lie. And Dad says so too. I wiped my face and stared at his tie.
"Chase says…he says…that you don't really love me."
I felt Dad catch his breath. I sniffled. "Parker, you – you know I love you."
I took a shaky breath. "I told Chase that. He said…he said if you really loved me you'd live with me and mommy and be with me all the time instead of only seeing me sometimes. He said Brent didn't love me, he just pretends so Mommy will like him, and I don't have a daddy who loves me."
Dad wrapped his arms around me. I felt his lips on my head. "Parker, what he said isn't true. You know that, right?"
"But…" I started crying again. "But why don't you live with Mom and me? Why can't I see you all the time? Don't you want me to?"
"Buddy, of course I do," Dad said. He pulled me back so he could look into my face. I saw his eyes were wet, which scared me. My dad is brave. He never cries.
His voice shook a little. "We've talked about this, right? Your mom and I…we just can't be together. We love you – I love you so much – but-but we decided it would be better for us and-and you to do things like this."
Dad was crying. I felt awful. And yeah, we did talk about it. But Chase's dad lived with him and could talk to him whenever he wanted to, and I couldn't.
I hated that. Mom and Dad knew I hated it. So why did they leave it like that? Maybe Dad was pretending to love me. Just so he could say he was a good dad.
I'd buried my face in Dad's chest. Now I turned my head so I could look at Bones. She was calm like she is when she studies bones and stuff. "What?" I sniffled.
"Chase is incorrect about your father," she said. "I can give you evidence to that effect."
She nodded. "First off, your dad always talks about you. When we're driving, or eating at the diner, or at the Jeffersonian. He is constantly telling us what you're doing in school or in sports. And he always sounds proud of you."
I wiped my face. That was something, but still, maybe…
"Also," Bones continued, "I know he works extra late some nights so he can coach your team. He's asked me to help him from time to time with it. And whenever you call him on the phone? No matter what else has happened, he smiles. Your voice makes him happy."
"It does?" I asked. I'm thinking about what Bones is saying. She's treating me like a grownup, and she's talking all serious about evidence. So I think about it.
"I know that he doesn't live with you," Bones said. Her voice got a little softer then, but still serious and calm. "But I see his face and hear his voice every time he can't see you because your mother is being dif – has to change her plans. He's always disappointed. He wants to spend time with you."
I frown. Bones doesn't lie to me – at least I don't think she does…
"And…" she hesitates and then puts her hand on my back. I try not to flinch; I mean, she's smart and everything, but she's a girl. And I don't want cooties.
"You know how much your dad likes the hockey player Lucky Lucy?"
Huh? I never heard of a hockey player named that….
"Luc Robitaille, Bones," my dad says with a sigh. It's the same voice he uses when he has to repeat something to me.
"Oh," I say. As bad as I feel, I can't help giggling a little. I mean, Bones is so smart but she doesn't know who Lucky Luc is?"
"Well, anyway," Bones said, giving my dad an annoyed look. "I found out that Lu – the hockey player was going to be in the area for about an hour. I made arrangements for your father to meet him for coffee."
My eyes widened. I pulled back so I could look at my dad. "You really got to meet Lucky Luc?"
My dad was smiling a little. "No, Parker, I didn't."
I was confused. "But Bones said…"
Bones spoke up. "Your dad was appreciative, but he told me your soccer team was playing during that hour, and he had to be there. So, he didn't get to see this hockey player he likes s much."
I felt my jaw drop. "You gave up seeing Lucky Luc to see my soccer game?" I asked my dad. "But you see lots of my games!"
"Not enough of them, little man," Dad said, running his hand through my hair. "You are way more important than Luc Robitaille."
"So you see, Parker," Bones said, looking at me very serious, "this boy Chase is completely wrong about your father. The evidence shows that your father loves you more than anyone."
I looked at my dad. He was looking at me, like he was studying me. I think he was waiting for me to say something.
I sighed. "Chase is a jerk."
Principal Fletcher cleared her throat. "Parker…"
"Yeah," my dad said, looking a little embarrassed. "You shouldn't call someone names, Parker."
"I know." I'd forgotten I was in the principal's office, and I was in trouble.
Principal Fletcher had her hands folded on her desk. "Well, I need to talk to Chase and his parents, but I think that considering that Chase provoked you and that you've never started a fight before that we can be somewhat merciful. You aren't going to start other fights, are you?"
I shook my head. Dad spoke up. "I'll discuss this with his mother as well." He looked at me with a serious expression. "Just because you aren't in trouble here doesn't mean you're off the hook with your mom and me, understand?"
I nodded. I figured I was in trouble with my parents. I just hoped it wouldn't be no TV for a week.
"Parker, why don't you have your dad walk you back to class?"
I nodded and slipped off dad's lap. I held his hand and reached over to grab Bones' hand. She looked surprised. I figured if I hadn't gotten cooties from her by now she didn't have any.
As we walked out of Principal Fletcher's office I saw Chase sitting with what I guessed was his parents. He had a wad of tissue on his nose.
I couldn't help it. I said real loud, "I can't believe you gave up seeing Lucky Luc to see me play soccer!"
I saw Chet's mouth drop open. I managed to hide my smile until we were in the hall.