Booth bounded up the steps to the platform "Bones, I need your help with something, and I need the whole squint squad."
Brennan wiped her hands on her lab coat and turned toward her partner. "Is there a case, Booth? I thought you were on vacation." Her eyes widened at his t-shirt and shorts. "Obviously you are not prepared for a case."
"What?" Booth scoffed. "I'm always ready, Bones. Clothes don't make the agent, you know."
Her eyebrows rose. "Then why do you save certain suits for certain days?'
"I…I don't…" Booth sputtered. "Stop trying to change the subject, Bones."
She rolled her eyes and turned away from him. "What are you doing here, Booth?"
"I told you already. I need your help. It's Parker's birthday, and I want to give him a surprise."
"And you expect us to help?"
Booth was taken aback by her question. "Well…yeah, I guess I kind of did." His voice grew quiet, and he turned away. "Sorry to bother you."
"No, wait!" Brennan caught his arm. "I meant…you actually want us to help?"
Booth met her eyes, then looked down to where she was still grasping his arm. "Yeah, Bones…I want your help. I've talked Cullen into letting Parker be an "Official Junior Agent", and I thought it might be kind of fun to fake a case, just to let him be in on some action."
Brennan's eyes widened. "Like undercover!"
"No" he chuckled. "We'll still be ourselves, but we'll just fake a case."
"Don't be disappointed, Bones" he laughed. "I'll even let you be the one who solves it."
"No…" Brennan shook her head seriously. "You're the father. You should be the one who solves it." Pulling a deep breath, she looked around, then clapped her hands. "Attention. Attention…Could I have everyone's attention please"
Everyone in the lab turned in her direction and she frowned. "Oh, no…" she pointed at some security guards and interns. "I did not mean you. I meant…"
Booth laughed. "Squint squad…Bones' office….please. We've got a case to plan."
Brennan smiled and led the way.
Two nights later, Booth looked in the rearview mirror at his son. "So what do you think, Parker? Wong Foos for supper, right?"
Booth grinned at how everything was coming into place, and he was pleased that Sid had agreed to go with the plan. What he didn't know was that Brennan had paid Sid double the money he'd made the year before on that night to close the restaurant, except for them.
But as far as Booth was concerned, this was going to be nice. "So, Parker, I wanted to talk to you about something."
Parker's brow furrowed a bit, and he looked away from the window. "Okay."
"Well, you're a junior agent now."
Parker nodded, patting the badge in his pocket. "I know, Dad. With the FBI, like you."
"Yeah, like me, bud" Booth hid a smile. "But I gotta tell you, that's a big responsibility. You need to take it seriously"
"I know, Dad" Parker interrupted to repeat.
"Yes…like you, Dad."
Booth looked in the mirror again and noticed his son WAS serious. Pride slid through his heart, and he smiled.
Booth was surprised to see the restaurant empty when they arrived, but he just escorted Parker to a table and sat down.
Within minutes Sid had brought a bowl of rice and some chicken and egg rolls. "Happy Birthday, young Parker" he added as he placed a whole apple pie in the center of the table.
"Dad! A whole pie!" Parker's eyes grew wide. "How are we ever going to eat all this food?'
Booth laughed. "We'll figure out a way, I'm sure" He looked up. "Thanks, Sid."
"No problem, Agent Booth" Sid bowed a bit before he walked away.
Booth looked across the table to see Parker frowning at the food. "What's the matter, Parker?"
He looked up. "How does Sid always know what we want? And how did he know it was my birthday?"
Booth chuckled and shrugged a shoulder. "Sid…he just knows, bud. He's just that good…"
Parker smiled. "Wow…"
"Agent Booth…and Parker Booth, the son of Agent Booth" Brennan's voice spoke up. " I am so surprised to see you" she recited her practiced lines. "This is quite a surprise. Seeing you here. Booth. And Parker."
Booth rolled his eyes at her and shook his head. "Well, hello, Bones…I didn't know you were coming here tonight. Parker, did you know?"
"No" he giggled. "But you can eat with us, if you want, Bones. You can have some of my birthday pie, too, if you want."
"Oh, I don't…"
Booth cleared his throat and Brennan started. She blinked a couple of times and caught his look. "I mean…thank you Parker. Happy Birthday' She smiled as she sat beside Booth and handed Parker a present.
"Ah, Parker. Bones got you a present!" Booth smiled in genuine surprise. "Bones, you didn't have to do that."
She just smiled and looked across the table. "You can open it, Parker."
Parker tore the paper and pulled out the tissue paper. "Socks, Dad! Like you!"
Booth watched as his son pulled out several pairs of brightly striped socks, and a new surge of pride shocked his system. It was like it was HIS birthday or something.
"Thanks, Bones" he nudged her shoulder with his then leaned back in his chair. "Well, I guess we know what we're going to get Bones for her birthday this year, don't we, bud?" he grinned. "Yep, Bones…for sure, you also need some striped socks."
"Yeah, Bones…for sure" Parker smiled, and Brennan just laughed.
They ate their food and Parker told them about his school and the new pet turtle he had.
After awhile, Booth nodded toward Sid, and he came over and started clearing the space.
"So, Sid" Booth began, "How's the restaurant?"
Sid picked up his cue. "Well, Agent Booth…I have to say…nah, it's not important."
"Nonsense" Brennan spoke up, this time her voice not sounding quite so rehearsed. "We want to hear about it. Right, Booth"
"Sure…I do… what about you, Parker?"
The boy nodded. "Sure."
Sid tossed his towel over his shoulder and sat by the boy. "Well, it's a bit of a mystery, really, so maybe you can help me. Although…"
"What, Sid?" Parker asked him.
He sighed. "It's really a matter for the FBI. Something only agents should hear about it.
"I'm an agent" Parker spoke up, pulling out his badge. "See?" He looked to Booth. "Right, Dad?"
Booth sat back and opened his palms. "He's right, Sid. He just joined today."
Sid eyed the boy carefully. "I see. A junior agent?"
Parker nodded solemnly. "Yes."
"I see" Sid nodded, "I see. Well then…I'll be right back…I'm going to get something to show you."
After he walked away, Parker looked to Booth again. "Dad…what's wrong with Sid?"
"I don't know, bud. Bones…do you know?"
"No, Booth" she answered. "I don't know. But I think it's a VERY good thing that you both are here."
Parker nodded. "And you too, Bones, right? I don't have a partner, yet, but…we can all three be partners, can't we, Dad?"
Booth smiled and looked at Brennan. "What do you say, Bones?"
She smiled and nodded. "I agree."
Sid came back with a file and sat beside Parker again. "Now, I need to know that you can all keep a secret."
"We can" Parker spoke up, and Booth and Brennan nodded.
"Well, here's the problem." Sid began. "I've been noticing that every day when I take out my trash, the next morning, my trash cans will be knocked over."
"Hmmm…" Booth frowned. "Are you sure you don't knock them down, Sid?"
"Booth…I'm SURE!" Sid insisted, and Brennan held up her hand.
"Wait a minute. I'd like to see the crime scene, please" she spoke up, pulling on some latex gloves. She handed some to Parker. "Do you want a pair, Parker?"
The boy looked to his dad, and Booth looked at Brennan, an unamused arch to his brow. "I'd love some, Bones" Booth drolled.
"Me, too, Bones" Parker held out his hand with a smile, and Brennan smiled as well.
As they followed Sid outside, Booth pulled out his small notepad and pen, and then handed one to Parker. The boy flipped the top pages over and nodded.
"So Sid…how long have you been noticing this problem?" he asked, and Booth looked to Brennan with a quick smile.
Sid kept his cool though and nodded. "About two weeks ago. I used to have a big dumpster. Ain't no one who could knock that over. But…the problem was that it was so high up, that I couldn't always reach it to throw the trash away. So…" he shrugged. "I got these smaller cans. But…" he motioned to the evidence.
"This IS a mess." Brennan reached in her bag for her fingerprinting supplies. "Parker, can you help me, please?"
"Sure" the boy moved over to her quickly and very carefully held the baggie open for her to pick up the particulates. "I'm glad no one is dead" he whispered to her, and she smiled at him secretly.
"Me too" she whispered back, then glanced up to see Booth smiling at her. This cut her concentration for a moment, but she shook her head and stood, wiping her hands on her pants. "I think we should take this stuff back to the lab."
"I think so too, Bones" Booth nodded and tucked his notebook back into his pocket. 'Sid…if you'd mind, I'd like to ask you a few questions."
Sid raised his eyebrows, and Parker pulled on Booth's sleeve a bit.
"Oh, that's right" Booth nodded. "WE'D like to ask you a few questions."
"Am I a suspect?" Sid wanted to know.
"It's just our job" Parker spoke up, and Booth barely managed not to laugh and ruffle his head. Instead, he just put his hand on Brennan's back as they made their way through the restaurant. "Bones, we'll meet you at the lab when we're done, okay?"
"Hey, Dad?" Parker asked him as they drove toward the Hoover Building.
"Is Sid going to meet us there?"
"Yeah, Parker" Booth looked back as he waited at a red light. "He is. Why?"
Parker shrugged. "Well, what if he doesn't come? What if he gets away?"
"Whoa, whoa!" Booth held up his hand. "Sid's not a suspect. Innocent until proven guilty. Remember when we talked about that?"
Parker nodded, and Booth continued.
"We're just going to ask him a few questions. But let me ask you this. What does your gut say?"
Parker was silent for a moment.
The boy nodded seriously. "I feel like he can be trusted, and we should let him drive himself."
"Good" Booth nodded. "Me too." He hid a smile. "And after we do that, we'll go see Bones at the lab."
"Yeah" Parker grinned as he looked out the window.
Hodgins, Cam, and Angela gathered around Brennan at the lab. "So, is Parker into it?"
Brennan nodded. "Yes, very much. "
"Is Booth?" Cam laughed, and Brennan nodded. "Yes, he really is. He even wore gloves."
Angela laughed and went with Brennan as she moved to put on her lab coat. "Parker's cute, isn't he?"
Brennan nodded. "I suppose so. I'd never say that to him, but, yes…he's very cute."
"You think Booth was like that when he was a boy?"
Brennan didn't answer right away as an image of a boy with dark eyes and a big smile crossed her mind. "Yes, I think the evidence supports that."
Angela just smiled at her.
Booth and Parker sat on one side of the table. "Tell us again when you got the new trashcans."
Sid shook his head. "Man, I told you. Two weeks ago."
Booth opened his palms, "Relax, relax. We just have to ask these questions."
"How often do you take the trash out?" Parker asked him
"Every night. "
"Hmmm…" Booth stood up and leaned across the edge of the table. "And every morning, the cans are knocked over."
Sid sighed. "Every morning."
Booth looked back at Parker, stumped. The boy shrugged.
Booth stood and motioned for Parker to follow him, and they walked into the observation room.
"Never talk in front of a suspect, Parker. Bones and I come in here to talk."
"Sid can't hear us?"
Booth nodded. "Yep, and he can't see us too. What do you think we should do?"
Parker bit his lip. "I think maybe we should go to the lab. See what Bones has for us."
Booth put his hand on his shoulder. "Sounds like a good plan."
As they walked outside of the observation room, they ran into Dr. Sweets.
"Oh, hello" Sweets faked. "What are you doing here?"
Booth nudged Parker. "What do you think?"
Parker nodded. "I trust Dr. Sweets."
Sweets smiled genuinely. "Awesome."
Booth cleared his throat and Sweets straightened his shoulders.
"Is there a case?"
"Yes" Parker answered. "We're on our way to the lab."
"Cool, can I come?"
Booth nodded. "Sure, why not? We could be looking at a serial trash stealer."
"Fascinating" Sweets said as he followed them to the elevator.
"What have you got for us, Cam?" Booth slid his ID card through the slot and motioned for Parker to follow him.
Cam looked up from her microscope and waved them over. "I've found something interesting, but I think Dr. Brennan wants Parker to look at something. It's over here, on the table."
Parker followed Brennan as she circled the lab table.
"What do you see, Parker?"
He stopped and looked. "It looks like some rice, but it's brown."
"Well, it's probably fried rice, Parker" Booth spoke up, and his son nodded. "I think you're right, Dad. But what's all this other stuff?"
"I think I can help" Angela spoke up, and they all turned. "Follow me."
Booth, Brennan, Parker, Sweets, Cam and Angela all walked to the Angelator. Angela picked up her controls and the display morphed into a replication of the back of Wong Foos. "Here's what I'm wondering. I think that maybe the wind knocks over the cans…like this."
She pressed a button and what looked like wind moved over the display, knocking over the cans.
"What do you guys think?"
"Parker?" Booth asked.
The boy nodded. "Well…it's possible…but what about all the trash?"
"What trash?" Cam asked.
"The trash Sid throws away every day." Parker answered.
"Ah…I didn't think of that" Angela nodded. "If it was the wind…then the trash would still be there, wouldn't it."
"Yeah" Sweets spoke up. "So I think it is a serial trash thief."
"And I think I can help figure out who it is" A voice spoke from the doorway, and they all turned to see Hodgins, a smile on his face. "Follow me."
They all gathered around Hodgins' table, and he displayed some petrie dishes. "Come here, Parker…take a look into the microscope."
The boy did, then looked up again. "Rice"
"Yes" Hodgins nodded. "Now look again"
Parker waited for the next slide. "It looks like a worm"
"But it's not a worm, right?" Booth asked Hodgins. "Because it just looks like a worm because it's so magnified."
"That's right, Booth." Brennan nodded, moving in to look for herself. "Parker, what else could it be?"
"Hmmm…" Parker walked around a bit. "Something long and thin, thinner than a worm…a toothpick?"
"Ah, excellent guess…" Cam spoke up, "but was this straight like a toothpick?"
"No" Parker frowned. "And it was too dark."
"What could it BE?" Angela asked.
"Hair" Parker looked up. "I think it's hair."
The adults looked around. "It's possible." Cam shrugged.
"But WHOSE hair" Booth wanted to know.
"Sid?" Brennan suggested.
"No" Parker held up his hand. "His hair isn't this long. It…it must really be a thief."
"Awesome" Booth spoke up, and everyone turned to him in surprise.
Booth grinned. "You know what that means, don't you?"
"What?" Parker asked.
Booth nodded and rubbed his hands together. "A stakeout."
Booth passed Parker the binoculars. "See anything yet, bud?"
Parker held them up to his eyes and moved closer to the window. "Not yet. Bones, do you want to try?"
"Sure, Parker" she took the binoculars "Thanks."
Booth watched as his partner, a multi-million dollar doctor of science, held up a pair of binoculars to pretend for his son's birthday.
"Parker, can you do me a favor?" Booth asked him.
"I want you to put on your ball cap as a disguise, and give Sid a secret message. Tell him "It's Hairy, but we're on it."
Parker nodded and opened his door, quickly walking to the restaurant.
Booth immediately pulled his partner around by her shoulders to face him.
"Booth" her eyes were curious. "Are you okay?"
Now that he was alone with her, he felt fear rising up in his throat, but he still had to ask. "Why are you doing this, Bones?"
Her brow furrowed and she pulled back a bit. "What?" She looked around and gave a nervous laugh. "Why am I doing this? Because it's Parker's birthday. And…"
"And what" Booth swallowed.
"Because…because you asked me to."
Booth' s fingers tightened on her shoulders and he pulled her very close, pressing a kiss on her forehead. "Thank you, Bones."
She stayed close to him, and moved her face up a bit, her cheek brushing against his. The childlike nature of their case warred with the very adult male grip his hands were using on her shoulders. "Booth…I…"
"I gave him the message" Parker said as he opened up the back seat. "He said okay."
Booth pulled back and smiled at his son. "Thanks, bud. This is one crazy birthday, isn't it?"
Parker's face lit up. "It's so crazy!"
Brennan looked at him and smiled too, then turned to Booth. "Thanks for letting me come along."
After about thirty more minutes, they watched as Sid moved out the back door to place his trash in the trash cans. Sid was subtle about it, and gave the customary nod in the direction of the SUV.
"Okay" Parker rubbed his hands together. "The trash is in place. Now we just wait."
"Hopefully not TOO long" Booth sighed.
"I don't think we'll have to wait long at all, Booth" Brennan smiled and pointed. "Look."
"What?" Booth peered out the front windshield. "I don't see it."
"Of course!" Parker leaned up and smacked his hand against his head. "I can't believe I didn't think of it."
"What?' What?" Booth held back a smile. "I don't get it."
"It's so easy, Dad. LOOK!"
"Well, let's go!' Booth opened his door, and his partner and son quickly followed.
"Is he dangerous?" Brennan asked, walking behind Booth and Parker.
"I don't know yet. Careful Parker…let's just watch for a moment."
"I think he has tags, Dad" Parker observed, and Booth squinted to look. "I think you're right." Hmmm…
"Does Sid have a dog?" Brennan asked, and Booth shrugged.
"I'm not sure. Parker, do you know?"
Parker shrugged and stepped around Booth. "He's never said anything about a dog. Maybe we should just ask him."
Booth put his hand on his shoulder. "Maybe."
They walked inside the restaurant and motioned for Sid to come over.
"Well…is it a thief?" Sid asked.
Booth nodded to Parker. "Go ahead, son."
"Sid, do you have a dog?"
Sid nodded. "Sure…I keep him upstairs at my place with me." He wiped his hands on his apron. "Why?"
Parker looked at Booth and Brennan, and they nodded to him. "Well, do you let him out at nights?"
"Sometimes…what's going on?' Sid wanted to know.
"Well…we think your dog is the one knocking down your garbage cans."
Sid laughed and shook his head. "Well, I'll be darned. I bet you're right." He shook Parker's hand, then Booth and Brennan's. "Thank you so much for helping me solve this case."
Booth shook Sid's hand with thankfulness. "It was our pleasure, believe me." He stepped back and stretched his arms up. "But I think this has been an exciting enough birthday. Parker…ready to go home?"
Parker looked at the adults, then frowned. "Yeah, I guess so…"
Brennan watched as Booth's face contorted in confusion, and she followed both Booths as they walked to the SUV, their shoulders slumped.
With a sigh she got into the SUV with them.
"Parker…is something wrong?" she asked him, and Booth looked at her in surprise.
"Is the case over?" Parker asked.
"Yeah, it's over." Booth nodded. "You solved it. That's good, right?"
"And now we're just…going home?" Parker wanted to know.
Booth looked at his partner again. "Yes, we're going home."
Parker nodded and looked out the window. "Oh"
Booth eyes met Brennan's and he looked almost frantic as he tried to figure out what had gone wrong.
Brennan turned in her seat. "Parker, was there something else you wanted to do?"
Parker turned toward her. "Well…isn't there paperwork?"
"What?" Booth looked in the rearview mirror.
"Paperwork. Right, Dad? You say that when a case is done, you and Bones go to the diner, or maybe to your house, and you do paperwork, and you have pie."
Booth's mouth turned up in a wry grin as he tilted his head. "I totally forgot about that."
"Me too" Brennan smiled. "It's a GOOD thing you are here, Parker."
Booth nodded. "AND we have your birthday pie, Parker, so we can have that as we go over the case, right Bones?"
Brennan looked at him surprised. "Oh…um, yes." She was invited?
"You're coming, right, Bones?" Parker asked.
"Yes, of course. Thanks for asking" She smiled.
Booth smiled at her and looked back to see Parker back to his happy self, smiling.
"This was one crazy birthday, Dad."
Brennan watched Booth's face as Parker replayed the entire night's events for him. The way his smile reached his eyes could only be described as love, she realized.
She blinked when she realized Booth was looking at her now with that same look with something extra. Her open palm stretched out toward him along the seat, and Booth took one hand off the steering wheel and grabbed her hand for a moment.
More than a moment, actually. The rest of the trip home.