A/N - This is my effort at a Max Keenan meet Hank Booth fic. I thought it would be an interesting little facet to explore. I just had to write it. I know I haven't updated my other fics in a few weeks but I am working on them. I wanted to get this one out of my mind and finished so I could focus a little better. Hopefully I'll get something up for my regular readers soon.
I hope you guys enjoy this. It's meant to be fun. Hopefully it will turn out that way. It's going to be a 2 or 3 shot depending on how long winded I get.
I appreciate all the feedback and reviews I can get. You guys are great. Please keep letting me know what you think.
Thanks to Stef for being my idea bouncer, MickeyBoggs and Thnx4theGum for proofing for me. You ladies rock!
Disclaimer - I do not own Bones.
Everyone loved the day after Thanksgiving for different reasons. Some people loved it because it was a bonus day off of work. Some people loved it for the shopping. Still others loved it for the calm that followed the storm of Thanksgiving preparations and Christmas decoration hanging.
The Jeffersonian staff was no different than the rest of the world despite their inflated IQs and high profile jobs. November 26, 2009 found the team at their favorite day after Thanksgiving activities. Angela Montenegro was lost in a large mob at local specialty shops looking for the best deal on the most amazing and unique Christmas gifts possible. She wasn't rich like most of her little work family. She and Booth were the brown baggers in their crew. She decided a long time ago that despite the lack of money she would still find the perfect gift. Part of that search required hauling herself out of bed at 3 am to get to the stores early. She loved every minute of it and was oblivious to everything except price tags and sale announcements.
Cam was the exact opposite. She did everything she could to avoid retail stores from the middle of November until December 27. She still loved Black Friday, though. It was the primal display of male strength that pulled her in. Nothing said a great day like back to back football games. Pro and college, they were all there. Heck, if she tried hard enough she figured she could even find a peewee game on somewhere to watch. It didn't matter what form it came in, she loved it. She'd handle her Christmas shopping online later. All day one could find her camped on her sofa staring at her plasma with Michelle close beside her.
Seeley Booth hated shopping and even though he loved football, it wasn't why he loved the day after Thanksgiving. He loved it for the family. Normally, he conceded Thanksgiving Day to Rebecca as long as he could have Parker for that Friday. This year, however, was different. Rebecca had taken Parker to her grandparents' home in Vermont. She'd used the "Seeley, this might be their last year" excuse. It, of course, worked and he spent Thanksgiving Day with his grandfather, Hank Booth.
When he first learned Rebecca was taking Parker he was upset. He quickly lit up when his partner, his Bones gave him the idea of getting Hank out for the night and spending time with him. "You know, Booth," she'd said. "Now that you understand his needs and won't be tied up with a case, you will be better prepared to deal with him," she finished.
The idea of springing his Pops from the assisted living facility changed what would have been an awful, miserable holiday into an enjoyable occasion immediately. Booth loved Pops and knew that giving him a nice Thanksgiving would make his year.
On Thanksgiving Day, Booth and Pops spent the morning preparing a nice meal together. It was nice and Pops was quite complimentary of Booth's new flat surface stove. He said it cooked much better than the hunk of junk that caught on fire. Thankfully, Brennan had agreed to come over for lunch. She was hosting her family at 6 PM but had already finished the preparations. She had no issues with ordering everything so all she had to do was set her table and await the delivery around 5. It left her plenty of time to have a nice lunch with Booth and Hank.
That's exactly what the lunch was, nice. It was family. They laughed. Hank shared stories from the war and even shared a few stories about Booth as a child.
"You know, Temperance," he'd said. "Shrimp here; he was quite the little pistol. This one time, he told Jared that he had made some blue Kool Aid. The little runt took a huge swig before he realized it was Windex," he laughed hysterically as he recounted the events of the day. "His grandmother threw a fit and withheld pie from Seeley here for a week. I've never seen a boy mope as much as Seeley did that week."
"At least I know how to punish him if he gets out of line," Brennan said. "Booth, you do realize the danger of ingesting ammonia containing cleaners, right?"
"Bones, I was 12. I didn't even know how to say ammonia," he retorted.
She nodded slightly. "I suppose that is a valid argument," she said as she took one last bit of the cheesecake she was finishing off. "A person of average intelligence wouldn't be expected to know the periodic table of the elements at age 12," she finished.
Booth just laughed. "Let me guess, Bones. You knew the periodic table by that age," he teased.
"Uh huh," she answered while taking a sip of coffee. "I actually learned it at . . ." she paused. "That was a rhetorical question, wasn't it?" she asked. She was still working on learning all of the social cues from him.
He smiled at her with the smile he only gave to her. "Yep, but you know what, Bones? Since you are a genius, I'll let that one slide," he said as he gave her a squeeze on the shoulder while standing to clear the table.
They worked on clearing the table and washing dishes as a trio. Brennan and Booth bickered in typical Brennan / Booth form. It was what they did.
Truth be told, they did so much more than that. They bickered. They solved crimes. They laughed, cried, and loved. That was what they did.
Hank just watched the interaction before him. They were just like his late wife and himself. They were always at each other but you could always tell by the look in their eyes that the love was genuine, pure. They were meant to be together they just didn't know it yet. He knew they would both come to their senses eventually. After all, he knew and has always taught his boys that everything happened eventually.
Brennan hated when it came time for her to leave. She loved her family; she'd relearned how to love them over the last couple of years. She hadn't completely forgotten what happened, how they'd hurt her but she pushed through it and learned to love them for who they were at the moment and not hold what they had done against them for the rest of her life. The thing was, though, the years that were lost still separated them in some ways. It was hard to understand each other.
That was not true with Booth. They understood each other completely. She'd probably deny it if someone asked her but she felt more like a part of a family with Booth and Hank than she did with her biological family. She wasn't sure when she came to believe Booth's words about more than one kind of family but she believed it all now. She believed it in her metaphorical heart.
While Booth and Hank hated to see Brennan go, they looked forward to the following day. Brennan had given Booth season tickets to the Capitals for his birthday this year. She'd mainly given them to him knowing that they played to Flyers several times during the regular season. Today, however, they weren't playing the Flyers but Booth and Hank didn't care. They were both just looking forward to the time together. Loving food at sporting events must have been genetic because neither of them could stand to wait the entire 18 hours until they headed for the rink.
Dinner with Brennan's family was quite comfortable. Max, Russ, Amy, Emma, and Hayley were all there. The food was excellent and as a family they cleared the table and took care of all the dishes before heading to the living room to chat. Russ shared stories about their childhood and Max elaborated as necessary.
The girls had taken quite the liking to their Auntie Temperance over the past couple of years. As the adults talked, they kept crawling into her lap and kicking her in the stomach as they did so. Brennan's reactions completely confused herself. It was uncomfortable yet comfortable at the same time. Each time she would feel the pain of Hayley's chocolate boot in her thigh, she somehow knew she was loved. It was a feeling that she was finally getting used to. Booth had spent over four years trying to teach her how to accept love.
Booth's efforts were not in vain; she was learning. She allowed him to do things for her, to get close to her. He understood that in order for someone to be capable of giving love, they had to be able to accept love.
Obviously, Booth had been very successful in teaching his partner to feel loved. She was completely incapable of avoiding talking about Booth. No matter what conversation their little family got into, Brennan somehow related it to Booth. The story of her falling out of a tree at 10 and Russ having to carry her all the way back to the house because she was quite confident that she had a greenstick fracture of her left ulna. "You know, Tempe," Russ said as he recounted the events of that day many years ago. "I never understood how you could have been right about your arm," he laughed as he spoke. "I guess now we know since you have like 12 degrees in boneology," he kidded with his baby sister.
She threw her head back and laughed a little bit. "You sound like Booth," she said. She didn't quite understand why everyone found it so amusing but it really didn't matter to her.
The night continued on and around 8:30 everyone prepared to leave. She kissed Emma and Hayley and promised Russ that she would see him soon. Max was the last to leave and as he did he pulled his baby girl into a big hug.
"Thanks for tonight, Baby," he said. "It was really nice to have everyone in the same room again," he went on. "That was our second Thanksgiving to not have orange in the family picture," he kidded.
"I know, Dad," she agreed. "It's good to have you back."
He gave her a kiss on the cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow, Baby," he said as he went to leave.
"Wait, what?" she didn't mean to sound completely startled but her plans for the following day consisted of skeletons and not family togetherness.
"Oh," he laughed slightly at his daughter's reaction. "I'm running the enrichment camp. Don't worry," he reassured her. "We'll be over in the main museum for the day. We shouldn't even step foot in the lab."
Brennan breathed a sigh of relief at his final words before leaving. She closed the door, locked the dead bolt, and headed straight for her bedroom. The day had taken a lot out of her and she quickly collapsed onto the bed. Thanksgiving was over and honestly it was the best one that she had had in years. She spent time with her biological and selective family. She felt like part of a family for the first time in quite a long time. Sure, they'd spent the holidays together last year but they weren't quite a family yet.
As much as Brennan loved Thanksgiving Day this year, she couldn't wait to get started on the day after. Angela and Cam both had the day off, Booth was going to a testosterone laden event, and all of the interns had traveled home to their various parts of the country. The only other person who would actually be in the lab was Hodgins. He usually stayed relatively quiet playing king of lab. At least that's what Angela claimed he did when things were quiet in the lab. Brennan never really took the time to investigate for herself.
Temperance Brennan loved working with Booth solving crimes. She had to admit, however, that she savored any opportunity to spend time working in modular skeleton storage. Her job had two facets. One was solving crimes, giving families the resolution they longed for. The other facet was less personal and more mysterious – identifying remains that no one else in the world could identify. She didn't get to work on these remains often enough so she seized any opportunity. That's why she loved the day after Thanksgiving. She could delve into a skeleton or ten and lose herself in the mystery.
That particular day, she pulled the skeleton of a teenager who was found in a field just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just over a decade ago. Initial dating on the remains and soil samples dated skeleton to the Civil War era. Her job was not to identify the skeleton, even though that might be possible. It was to authenticate the remains as a soldier in the war. Her determination would mean burial in a military cemetery with honors or burial in a public cemetery as a no one. She took her job very seriously. This man, she'd already determined that he was between the ages of 16 and 20, deserved her undivided attention. She was thankful she found the day to give him that.
On the other side of the lab, Jack Hodgins was completely engrossed in why he loved the day after Thanksgiving: experimentation. The old phrase, 'When the cat's away, the mice will play,' was his motto on this day every year. He loved having free reign of the lab. He could do whatever he wanted and as long as the damages were minimal he could have everything back to normal by the time everyone else walked through the sliding doors come Monday morning. He had the means to take care of anything except for major structural damages.
Recently, a murder investigation had Hodgins' interest captivated. It was a relatively cold case that Booth had picked up. Brennan identified cause of death very quickly. It was a massive blow to the chest by a relatively hard, circular object. They knew what happened but they didn't know how it happened. The entomologist wished he had Zack to help him with this one. He was amazing at determining how things like this happened but asking him for help was out of the question. Hodgins would be forced to figure it out on his own. He was a smart man, maybe not a Savant like Zack, but still smart.
Hodgins lost himself in building a launcher for hockey pucks. He had figured out the force and velocity required to do the damage to the victim's chest and a hockey puck seemed to be similar to the size, and shape of the mold of the injury Brennan made almost a week earlier.
He worked to weld some sheets of aluminum together and modified a motor to launch the pucks, two at a time, from the catwalk to a target he set up close to the entrance to the Ookie Room. He set up an automatic radar detector and linked it to his laptop so that he didn't have to traverse the stairs to read the display after each launch. He already set the computer to automatically run the calculation and he was so close to getting the velocity exactly correct. He'd been thankful for the lack of interruptions. Not only did it allow him to completely geek out over his contraption, it would minimize the collateral damage. He'd never quite recovered from hitting Angela in the head with that turkey in the spring. Because of that event he opted to limit his risky experiments and keep others safe.
He knew he was close so he took his wrench and adjusted the spring to add just a little more power behind the launch. He quickly flipped lowered his safety glasses and pulled the lever launching the two pucks toward the target.
At the very moment he pulled the lever, he realized something he failed to do earlier. He didn't lock the door at the back of the lab close to the Ookie Room.
"Oh no," he yelped as he realized that the only course of action he could take was to alert the person coming through the door. There was really no time to stop it. He only hoped he could get his message across.
He jumped into action and yelled from the platform, "Stand back!" he then realized who entered through the door. "Dr. Brennan?" he knew she was at the lab, somewhere but hadn't seen here since 7 am when he saw her head to limbo using her REGULAR route down the stairs near her office.
"Dr. Hodgins?" was all she managed to get out before the impact.
"Booth!" he uttered in typical fashion as he flipped open his phone. He was currently headed toward the rink with his Pops. He hated taking calls but with his job you never knew what would happen. If it was just a new case he'd just bump it to the forensic techs and start on it Saturday night after he dropped Pops back off at the assisted living. Sure, those techs weren't as good as Bones and catching everyone from the scene was a pain but he wouldn't give up his time with Pops for anything.
He listened for just a second. "What? Where?" he stammered and his voice conveyed obvious concern.
Hank immediately whipped his head toward his grandson and waited until he flipped his phone closed. "Seeley, what happened?" he asked.
"Pops, I'm sorry. Going to have to detour, maybe I can get someone to give you a ride to the game," he turned around immediately and flipped on his siren. He didn't use it much, but this was an emergency.
Hank was quite concerned. What would make his grandson react this way? "Seeley, damn it, you need to tell me what happened."
Booth ran his hand over his face. He was terrified. "It's Bones. Apparently there was an accident at the lab," he let out a huge breath. "She's at DC General and I'm not sure if it's serious or not."
Hank now knew why his grandson was so beside himself. He was the same way when the love of his life was hurt. It didn't happen often. Generally speaking, he was a good protector but there were times when he wasn't there and things happened. He always held himself responsible for those things and beat himself up over it. If there was one trait he wished he hadn't passed on to Seeley it would be that. His grandson always had the tendency to hold himself responsible for events that were out of his control.
His son, on the other hand, had not inherited that trait. He never took ownership for his mistakes. There were always excuses. Jared was somewhere in the middle of the two of them. He seemed to take ownership for some things if the consequences didn't inconvenience him. If, however, the consequences meant pain, Jared blamed someone or something else. Those boys were polar opposites in Hank's opinion. Jared was egocentric and Seeley carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Each side brought with it a set of problems but Hank knew that for Seeley those attributes meant that he would love, and love deeply forever. He was confident that the person who would receive that love was Temperance Brennan. He just hoped his grandson would eventually admit it and tell her. Hell, if he didn't do it soon, Hank figured he might as well tell her for his grandson.
Those thoughts flew through the elder Booth's mind quickly and he knew he had to talk to his grandson if for nothing else, to keep him calm and keep him from rolling the vehicle over.
"Who called you?" he asked. It was a very direct question.
"Her dad," Booth spoke sharply. He wasn't mad at Hank but his voice just displayed his displeasure with the current situation. "He and Hodgins are at the emergency room with her. He said . . . " He had trouble forcing the words out. "He said it knocked her out for a few minutes and that she was pretty confused when she came to," Booth went on in spite of his desire to shed a few tears. "He . . . Ummm ... He said they were going to rush her up for a cat scan right away"
"Seeley, she's got ovaries of steel. I'm sure she'll be fine," Hank attempted to console his son. He didn't know that for sure but parents always did their best to protect their children.