A/N: Okay, so I couldn't help myself. It's snowy here and I've been spending too much time bathed in the glow of the lights on my tree watching cheesy Christmas movies.
Many thanks to ProfeJMarie for helping me get this idea on track. Funny thing is, she doesn't have too much more of a clue what's going to happen than the rest of you do.
I'm going to hammer away on the next installment and see if I can get it up tonight. Hopefully, I'll be able to pull the whole thing together in 8 days and have the final chapter up on Christmas Day. Hmm, maybe I should get jsq to help me with one of those outlines she's so fond of. *wink*
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones.
A Bones Christmas Carol
A young man in army fatigues and a middle-aged woman with dark hair walk through double doors and into a white washed waiting room. His eyes twinkle with a hint of mischief and his hair is the color of wet sand. Her dark eyes hold trepidation and she worries her lower lip with her teeth. They sit across from each other in pristine chairs under the warmth of bright florescent lighting.
He looks at her as she sits with her hands folded in her lap. She reminds him a little bit of his mother. He misses his mother, especially at this time of year. Homemade cookies and the hum of Christmas carols in the kitchen. The chatter of friends and family as she scolds that they'll ruin their supper and to wait for dessert.
She smiles at him. Her children are older than the man across the room. She has a boy and a girl. She hasn't seen them in years. She wonders what they are doing right now. If they're happy. If they have families and people who love them.
He leans towards her and rests his elbows on his knees. "You wouldn't happen to know what we were called in here for, would ya?" he asks her.
There is a hint of an accent to his voice that she's unable to place even though she's well traveled. She studies him for a moment and looks at the patch on the left side of his shirt. Parker. "None, I'm afraid," she replies as she lets her attention drop to an imaginary piece of lint on her shirt sleeve.
They sit in silence save for the tapping of the young man's boot against the tiled floor.
He looks up at her again. "I'm Parker, by the way. Edward Parker, but folks back home called me Teddy." He gets up and outstretches a hand to her.
She takes it with a smile and admires his strong grip. Up close, she can tell he appears to be even younger than she originally thought. "Ruth Ke - well, Christine Brennan."
He drops into the seat next to her. "Sounds complicated," he says as he leans forward in his chair.
She sighs heavily. "I wasn't always a good person. Sometimes I wonder how I ended up here."
He smiles at her. "He's always watching. He knows His stuff."
Her brow furrows. "I was wondering if after all these years they realized they made a mistake," she says, her voice quaking with uncertainty.
"Master plan and all," Parker replies. "How'd you get here?"
"I was murdered," she says. Her eyes cloud. She bites at her lip again and rubs her hands on the legs of her slacks. She doesn't like to think about that.
"Me, too, I guess you could say. Casualty of war." He leans back against the wall. "They ever send you back?"
She turns to look at him. Her face is tight and awash with confusion. "Back? I didn't know you could go back."
He shrugs. "Neither did I," he tells her. "Couple years ago, they sent me back to help my Sarge and get him to help me clean up some unfinished business with my girl."
"Oh," she replies as she listens intently.
"Yeah," he says, shaking his head. "Sarge is a great guy, but he doubts himself, you know? He's always blaming himself and thinking he's not good enough. He actually thought he was responsible for my death! Do you believe it?"
"Given what you've just said about him, I suppose I do..." she says.
"Anyway, he was in a real jam and I helped him fight his way through. He told my girl that I loved her for me. I never got the chance. Well, I suppose I could have told her, but I was young and well..."
"Do you think we're here for something like that?" she asks him. Was there a chance she'd get to see her children?
He shrugs again. "Who knows? I hope Sarge is on the right track now. There was this pretty lady scientist. He said she was his partner, but the way he looked at her..." he shook his head. Suddenly, he snaps up. "Wait," he says, his eyes going wide. "Did you say your last name was Brennan?"
Christine's hands rise to her mouth. Temperance? No. It couldn't be. It had to be a coincidence.
An older man with a kind smile enters the room. His long, white robe trails the floor. "I see the two of you have had a chance to get acquainted."
Parker returns the smile. "Hey, Pete," he says as he stands up.
"Teddy. Christine." He glides toward them and extends a hand to a door that appears in the wall to his left. "He'll see you now."
The new room is a grand cathedral. Gleaming stained glass lines the walls and allows streaming pools of color to stretch across the glossy floor.
"Teddy," a booming voice says from somewhere in the distance.
"Yes, Father?" he replies, his head bowed as if in prayer as he listens.
"It appears that Seeley Booth did not learn the lesson you were trying to teach him the last time."
Parker's head comes up. "You mean - ?"
"No. He didn't tell her that he loves her. Not then and not any one of several chances later."
Parker's face contorts like the big kid that he is and he begins to defend his Sergeant. "Sarge is a good guy, he just must have - "
"I'm afraid not, Teddy. He took a chance nine months ago, but didn't say the actual words when they would have mattered." There is a sadness to the voice.
"I'm sorry," the woman says. "I don't understand. What does this have to do with me?"
The voice chuckles. "Everything, my child. The woman Seeley Booth is in love with is your daughter. And, what's more, she loves him too. She's just too broken and scared to realize it."
"Why?" Christine asks. "What happened to her after we left? Is she all right?"
"She's very successful, but all of you, even Russell, left her. She had a difficult time. She's afraid she isn't worthy of love. Especially from someone like Seeley."
Christine glances at Parker. "Sounds like they're quite the pair," she utters softly.
"They aren't in peril, are they? I gotta tell ya, I don't quite have my sea legs after the last one," he says with a goofy grin.
"Not this time, Teddy," comes the voice. "But if they don't get together soon, their child will come into the world too late, if at all."
"Sounds ominous," the kid replies.
"Temperance. A mother?" Christine says in awe.
"I'm afraid the situation is becoming quite grave. They're already a year behind schedule. And much the way the serpent tempted Eve with fruit in the garden, Seeley has been tempted beneath a fig tree by a different kind of reptile."
"Seriously? A fig tree? That doesn't sound like Sarge." Parker chuckles.
A scene is displayed before them. It's a Christmas party. A man stands off to one side of the room talking to a woman who has long blonde hair. Whether he is conscious of it or not, however, his eyes keep drifting to the brunette in a red dress.
"She's beautiful," Christine mumbles as she sees her daughter for the first time in years.
"Sweetie, you should go over there," Angela says to her, a hand coming down to rest protectively on her swollen belly.
Brennan tugs at the pleated skirt of her dress. She had been hopeful that Angela was right - that the strapless scarlet cocktail dress with it's sweetheart neckline would bolster her confidence.
It had been several weeks since he told her he was "with someone now" - as if she hadn't already known - but the words still ring in her ears. Thankfully, they hadn't had a case since so there was no need to face him.
"I don't know if he told her, Ange," she tells her friend softly. She grabs a champagne flute from a passing waiter and drinks most of it quickly. "I don't want to cause trouble for him."
Angela puts her hand over the top of Brennan's glass. "Seriously, Bren," she says. "I'm all for a little glug-glug-woo-woo, but this is the office Christmas party."
Brennan blinks, her expression owl-like. "Coming wasn't a good idea," she says. She gestures to Booth. "What's he doing here, anyway?"
Angela's smile fades. She remembers a time not too long ago when the partners were inseparable. "Coming was mandatory," she reminds her. When had she become the mother hen? "And he's here because, as our liaison, he's always been invited." She watches as Brennan's mouth falls open and looks across the room.
Hannah Burley and Seeley Booth stand under the mistletoe near the door to Brennan's office. Brennan watches in horror as Hannah tosses her strawberry blonde ringlets over her shoulder and leans into Booth. She gulps when Booth's hands plant themselves nearly on the blonde's ass. She tears her eyes away and runs from the room without stopping to grab her coat as their mouths collide in a hungry kiss.
"Oh, baby girl," Christine sobs, wiping away the tears born of her daughter's pain.
Parker shakes his head. "Always the blondes, huh, Sarge?"
He clears his throat. "I'm leaving it to the two of you to right this situation. It appears these two need a little push before it's too late..."