A/N: I'm breaking from my schedule to post this. Hopefully, a short chapter for Love on the Inside will be up tomorrow.
This is another song-fic. Based on Draw Me a Map by Dierks Bentley. I just saw him in concert and this song really got to me.
Warning: Character death. Some info you might need to understand this fic: Established B&B in the future. Parker is 18. Logan is 7. Olivia is 2.
Draw Me a Map
The snow had started to fall again. Cursing at the sky, he wants it to stop. His children won't be able to enjoy a snowfall anymore without the memories weighing down on them.
He curses almost everything in his life now. Damn his cold bed that would forever be empty now. Damn the house that seemed to echo without her.
And it's his fault.
He begged her for her help on the Jackson murder case. Carrie Jackson had been raped and murdered at seventeen years old. For some reason, this case hit her hard. She sobbed for the life that didn't make it past high school and she went home that first night of the case and hugged their daughter tight. After that, she had been determined to find who had killed Carrie. Her body had been discovered in a sewer in a bad part of town. Why she had been there, her parents and friends couldn't answer. She had been despondent and having problems with her family. Her friends hadn't talked to Carrie in a while and thought she was acting out for attention. She had been cut from the varsity basketball team and she was failing most of her classes. Carrie began falling in with the wrong crowd. Drugs and sex were part of her new daily routine. It didn't take long to find Carrie's new hang out. It was the same old bar with the same old neon POOL sign in a bad part of D.C. They had walked in, asking about Carrie and looking for anything that could help them. The bartender told the partners that Carrie had been hanging out with Blake Nolan lately. Nolan had worked for him previously but was fired after he started a fight with another worker. The owner allowed Nolan to continue to spend time at the bar, only because now he could make money off of Nolan. Nolan was trouble, bad news to anyone who associated with him. When he looked up Nolan's file, his jacket was thicker than her father's. Possession, armed theft, grand theft auto, the list went on and on. The bar had no surveillance. The fake, plastic cameras installed to psyche out anyone who attempted to rob the bar were all that were available. The only bit of security was the deadbolt on the front door and the baseball bat behind the bar. Carrie's body gave plenty of someone else's DNA for pathology to work with. It matched Nolan's. They went to the bar, the POOL sign flickering ominously. Nolan was there, sitting up at the bar. And when he noticed the two of them advancing, he dove toward a biker with a holstered gun on his hip. Nolan pointed it between the two, deciding who to aim for. The agent pulled his gun, trying to push his wife out of the way. She went for the baseball bat instead, feeling vulnerable without a weapon of her own. Nolan took a shot, and so did the sniper. Nolan was incapacitated and the other officers on the scene escorted him to the hospital. He ran to his wife, but she was already gone, Nolan's shot better than his.
And her luck ran out.
He places a rose on her casket. He wants to blame someone. He blames Nolan for being a good shot, for killing Carrie Jackson. He blames the Bureau for letting them continue to work together after they got married. He blames God for not sparing her. He blames himself. He is her husband, her best friend and her partner. He is supposed to protect her. It's his fault she is dead. It's his fault Parker now hated science. It's his fault Logan cried for his mom every night before falling asleep. It's his fault Olivia would never remember her.
He looks back at his children amidst the falling snow. Olivia sits on Parker's hip, her head buried in his neck. Logan stands behind Max's legs, hiding himself from reality.
It's a reality he doesn't want to face either. His partner, his best friend, his wife, and the love of his life is in that casket. He never got to say good bye. His last words to her were 'get back!' and while that wasn't out of anger, only out of concern for her safety, he wished the last thing she heard was not a gunshot and his shouts, but his voice telling her how much he loves her.
He runs a hand through his hair and as the tears fell, he thinks back on the life they had so recently created together that was all over so quickly.
It was déjà vu for him all over again. While waiting for the stick to turn, those words popped out of his mouth again. He was turned down. Again. But this time was different. She begged him to stay. Begged him to be a part of her life now matter what happened in the next few moments. It was positive. They were going to have a baby.
It wasn't until their son was four did things really change. Mommy, Logan asked, why aren't you and Daddy married. She couldn't give a good reason. She could only give reasons why they should be married. She had always said that marriage was something you needed a reason to enter into. Logan eventually became that reason. Parker was his best man, the teenager thrilled to have that honor, and Logan carried the rings down the aisle. Despite all the anthropological complaints she gave Angela throughout the whole process, Max escorted her down the aisle in a white dress that made her skin glow. Little did they know that that glowing skin was really because someone they hadn't invited was attending the wedding as well.
Olivia arrived soon after the wedding. Seven months later, their uninvited guest decided to appear. She was a complete surprise. While Logan looked just like his father and brother, Olivia was a perfect replica of her mother. Her fierce blue eyes shocked her father. He was already wrapped around her little finger.
That was two years ago. Would Olivia remember her mother when she grows up? No, he believes. Angela and Cam can only do so much. She needs her mother. They all do. But he knows better than anyone that wishing isn't going to help the situation. It's not going to bring her back. Neither are the past few nights he's spent at the bar. That damn neon POOL sign still flickers. They've cleaned up her blood. The place has gone back to normal. After his children are asleep and when his friends that are staying with them, Angela and Cam, are too tired to fight with him, he leaves. He loses some cash in a pool game, drinks half a bottle of tequila and then makes his way back home, to the swanky part of town where his wife bought them a house. Somewhere safe for the kids. He started the night she died and had gone every night since. Cam had told him that she was only going to put up with his backtracking until after the funeral. She had done the autopsy and released her body to the funeral home. Buck up, Seeley, she told him with more malice than she intended, I just cut open my friend to figure out why she died, why her kids are without her now. You're still here, Cam spat, you can still help them remember her.
And she was right. He stopped going back to the bar and got his gambling under control once again. His kids needed him. And so did the team. They couldn't go back to the way things were, but they sure as hell were intent on trying.
So that morning, after turning on the Christmas tree lights and making enough hot chocolate for everyone, and while Parker helped Logan put on his suit, he dressed his daughter in a simple dress. In doing so, he realized he was going to have to learn how do put Olivia's hair in a ponytail, discover which dance studio was the best, and prepare for the time when his little girl would turn into a woman. He would have to do it alone.
He was going to have to do everything without her, but for her. She wouldn't be there to oversee their grades or to pick out a tie for Logan's first middle school dance or to make sure no one breaks Olivia's heart. These things were up to him now. To make sure things are the way she would've wanted it.
So as he and his children watch the cemetery workers lower her into the ground next to Christine, he holds his daughter close and looks into her eyes. His daughter's eyes will haunt him, but she and her brother all he has left of her.
Cam and Angela take the kids to the car and he promises he'll be there soon. He needs some time with her before she's truly gone. He waits until he's really alone, no Angela or Cam, no cemetery workers, no kids.
"I'm sorry," he says, tears falling. He does nothing to stop them. "I know I shouldn't blame myself. Nolan did this to you. But still…I blame myself. I couldn't protect you. And that's the price I have to pay, is losing you."
He pauses, wondering if he should tell her about their children. "Parker doesn't want to work at the Jeffersonian anymore. I think Max is the only reason he actually still has his job. And Logan…he cries himself to sleep. He won't let anyone tuck him in until you do. And Liv walks around the house looking for you. I just need to know…I need to know if it'll ever get better. I need to know how to fix this, Bones."
He cries for a while. He wonders if she really can hear him, despite all the lectures from her about how the dead don't possess that ability.
"Bones, I love you. I know you know that, but I want you to hear it again. I love you. Just do me a favor," he requests, "tell me how to get you back. Or how to get to where you are. I need you. I can't do this alone."
He walks back to the car where his friends and family are patiently anticipating him.
But he lingers. Just outside the car, he waits for the answer he'll never receive.