"Do we have a case?" Brennan asked as she opened her cell phone when Booth's name appeared on caller ID. She hoped that the answer was 'yes' so that she would have an excuse to leave the noisy club Angela had dragged her to because she thought Brennan wasn't having enough 'fun' in her life. Brennan had only agreed to go because Booth was spending the weekend with Parker.
"A case of what?" Asked a much younger voice than the one she was expecting.
Brennan's eyebrows jumped as she realized the owner of the voice. "Parker?"
"Parker's on the phone?" Said a slightly inebriated Angela. "Awww! He's so adorable. But of course he's adorable; he's Booth's kid. Will you tell him Auntie Angela says hi?"
Brennan frowned at her friend. "But you're not his aunt."
Angela laughed. "Please just tell him, Bren."
"Parker, Angela says hi," Brennan said. "Why are you on your father's phone?"
"He needs your help," Parker whispered.
Brennan strained to hear him over the music. "I'm sorry, Parker, but I couldn't hear you. Could you repeat what you just said?"
Parker spoke louder. "He needs your help, Dr. Bones."
If Booth needs help with something, why wouldn't he call me himself? "What does he need help with?"
"Something's wrong with him. He's not moving."
Brennan felt a wave of nausea as she remembered Booth lying motionless on the ice after suffering a concussion. I get nervous when you fall down and don't get up, she had told him when he woke up and wondered why she was standing above him. That had been a lie. She hadn't been nervous; she'd been terrified. "Is he unconscious?"
"No, I don't think so. But he's been on the couch for a long time now."
Angela poked Brennan's arm to get her attention. "What's going on? Is Booth unconscious? You know I love him dearly, but I swear if he almost dies on you again, I'm going to kill him."
"He's fine, Ange." Brennan breathed a sigh of relief. "Parker, your dad being on the couch for a long time doesn't sound like a cause for alarm."
"But I saw him crying. I've never seen him cry before." Parker started sniffling. "It's all my fault."
"It's not your fault," Brennan said soothingly. She realized that her statement might turn out to be untrue, but she felt that she needed to calm the child; maybe it was the 'maternal instinct' most people thought she lacked. "Tell me what happened."
"I was playing Modern Warfare 2--"
"Is that a board game?"
"No!" Parker laughed. "It's a video game. A really awesome video game. You're in the army and you get to shoot the bad guys and be a hero, just like Dad. I was playing it in my room when I was supposed to be asleep. Dad came in to check on me and he got really mad when he saw it. He said that war wasn't a game, that real people got hurt and sometimes died. Then he took it and walked away. I left my room later because I had to go to the bathroom and that's when I saw Dad crying on the couch."
Brennan was close to tears herself. "So that's why you called me?"
"He always smiles when you're around, so I thought you could make him feel better. So will you come over? Please please please with a cherry on top?"
"You don't need to give me a cherry." She was already paying her tab. "I'm on my way."
"Awesome!" He smiled his father's smile. Now that Dr. Bones was coming, everything would be okay. "Bye, Bones."
"Goodbye, Parker." Brennan hung up the phone and turned to Angela, giving her twenty dollars for a cab since they had driven to the club in Brennan's car. "I'm sorry, but I have to go."
"Why? You said Booth was fine."
"He's not injured or dying, but he still needs me. I'll see you on Monday."
"See you Monday." Angela smiled to herself as Brennan ran out of the club. Oh Brennan. You say you don't love him, but you're willing to run to his side whenever he needs you. Someday the two of you are going to stop lying to yourselves and each other. You'll get married and have ridiculously adorable babies and the world will rejoice.
And Hodgins will owe me fifty bucks.
Booth groaned when he heard knocking on his front door. People said that misery loved company, but company was the last thing he wanted right now. Maybe if he ignored his visitor, he or she would go away. Whoever it was probably had the wrong apartment anyway; he almost never had late night guests.
Thinking Booth hadn't answered the door because he hadn't heard her, Brennan knocked again. "Booth? It's Bones."
Bones? Booth found himself jumping off the couch at the sound of her voice. If Bones was coming to his apartment at this hour, something had to be wrong. His own problems could wait. "Are you okay?" He asked as he opened the door.
Brennan felt a swell of affection for her partner. His reddened eyes proved he had been crying, and yet he was worried about her. "I'm fine. Can I come in?"
"Yeah, sure. You can come in anytime, Bones." He led her to his couch and they sat down together.
After a few seconds of silence, Brennan spoke. "Are you okay?"
Unable to face her piercing eyes, Booth lowered his gaze. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Parker called me. He said--"
"Whoa! Stop right there, Bones. Parker called you? How does he even know your number?"
"I don't believe he does. He borrowed your cell phone."
"He took my phone?!"
Brennan put a hand on his arm. "Don't be mad at him. He was worried about you. He told me that you were upset so that I could try to make you feel better."
Booth was touched by his son's thoughtfulness and by Bones wanting to help him, but he didn't want to burden her with his pain. "I was upset earlier. But I'm better now. Really."
"You don't look like you're better," was her honest observation. "You don't have to lie to me, Booth. You gave me your gun and asked me to cover you during our last case. If you can trust me with your life, then you should be able to trust me with your feelings." Sensing his reluctance, she added: "Unless you'd rather talk to Sweets. I can call him for you if you--"
"Noooo. I'm not talking to Sweets about this."
"Then talk to me." She moved her hand to cover his. "Please?"
Booth sighed. He had a hard enough time saying no to her on a normal day-- how was he supposed to resist her now? "I saw Parker playing this army video game. It was way too violent for a kid his age. He told me Jared got it for him for Christmas. What the hell was my brother thinking? Anyway, the graphics and the sound effects brought back a lot of memories…very vivid memories of struggling to stay alive while my friends died right in front of me."
"Friends like Teddy Parker?"
"Yeah. And then I thought of my Parker in the army, doing the things I did, seeing the things I saw…it made me sick. He's my son, Bones. I don't want him ever suffering the way I did."
Brennan squeezed his hand. "He won't suffer like you did because you'll do whatever it takes to protect him. He's very lucky to have you as a father."
Booth grinned. "I guess he is."
Seeing how happy her words had made him, Brennan felt guilty that she didn't tell him more often how much he meant to her. "And I'm lucky to have you as a partner. You've helped me so much with my work and family, you've taught me a lot about people, and you've saved my life several times. I should really say thank you for everything you've done for me, but a 'thank you' seems extremely inadequate."
Booth was silent for a few moments as he committed his partner's praise to memory. "I should thank you too, Bones. Remember when we first started working together, I told you that I wanted to catch at least one murderer for every life I'd taken as a sniper? I couldn't have reached that goal without you. You're the best partner I've ever had, and you've saved my life as often as I've saved yours." His thumb absentmindedly traced circles on her hand. "You know…you're also the best friend I've ever had."
Brennan blinked back tears. "I could say the same about you."
"Can I ask you something?"
"You just did," she said with a smile.
Booth smiled back at her. "You are becoming quite amusing, Bones. I'm going to ask you something else. A favor." He took a deep breath. "Will you stay with me tonight? I'd really appreciate the company…if you don't have anywhere else you need to be."
She leaned her head against his shoulder. "I'm exactly where I need to be."
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.