Disclaimer: Bones? Mine? Maybe in Booth's coma dream, but certainly not in reality.
A/N: I always thought that Rebecca and Brennan connected on a certain level in 2x05: The Truth in the Lye. I wish that we'd seen that relationship developed a bit more - there were certainly opportunities for it (*cough*Booth's 'death', not to mention his tumor and subsequent coma*cough*). At any rate, this is set at some point mid-Season Six. Add some angst, a dash of compassion, a pinch of Parker, and voila! This fic was born.
When she comes to pick Parker up from his afterschool enrichment program at the Jeffersonian, Rebecca isn't surprised to see Dr. Brennan chatting and laughing with her son. That's become a common enough sight that it isn't truly remarkable, although she's still amazed that such a seemingly cold, clinical woman loosens up so much around children.
No, she's not surprised to see Dr. Brennan and Parker together. What does surprise her, however, is how tired Dr. Brennan looks. The last time she saw the woman look this – pardon the pun, bone weary – was when Seeley was shot a couple of years ago. Now, as then, she covers it up pretty well, but her exhaustion is obvious enough to the observant eye.
"Rebecca!" Dr. Brennan says, looking up from Parker and throwing her a genuine smile, "You must be here to retrieve Parker."
Parker gives her a wave, and heads to the coatroom to grab his jacket and backpack.
"Yes," Rebecca replies. "I know I'm early, but we're going on a ski trip this weekend, and traffic will be awful in a couple of hours."
"Your reasoning is logical," Dr. Brennan says. "I am glad that you and Parker will be able to spend some time strengthening your affectional bond. Will Drew be accompanying the two of you?"
"Yes," Rebecca says warily, before asking, "Did Seeley put you up to this? Because I thought we'd settled –"
"No," Brennan says quickly. "No, I was merely curious. I am sorry if it was inappropriate or if I overstepped my bounds. I am not very good at interpersonal communication, as you are aware."
"No, I overreacted," Rebecca says, laughing slightly. "Seeley's so overprotective that I've gotten a bit paranoid."
"I believe that he adapted to the presence of Drew in both your and Parker's lives several years ago," Dr. Brennan says. "And since he has Hannah in his own life, it would be hypocritical of him to make complaints at this juncture."
"You're right," Rebecca says. "It's just force of habit by now."
"That is understandable," Dr. Brennan states baldly. "As human beings, we get used to certain people acting in certain ways or performing certain functions in our lives. And… when that changes, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that things are no longer as they were."
She says this matter-of-factly, but her eyes hold a world of sadness, and Rebecca knows that they're talking about something more than Booth's acceptance of Drew.
Sometimes Rebecca thinks they should form a society for women whose hearts Seeley has inadvertently broken at one time or another. See, he's such a good guy. He showers the object of his interest with attention and affection. God, it's too easy for a woman to get spoiled, to get used to that kind of behavior. But that means that she feels strangely empty once that attention's no longer there.
Even if it's by her own choice.
"I…" Dr. Brennan says quietly, "I believe that I finally understand your 'single moment' thesis."
Rebecca gives her a small, sad smile of understanding.
"I'm ready!" Parker says, bursting back into the room, coat half-buttoned, backup slung over his shoulders. "Sorry, couldn't find my gloves at first."
Rebecca smiles and shakes her head. "Like father, like son," she murmurs to Dr. Brennan, who smirks in return.
"I hope that the three of you have an enjoyable and productive weekend," Dr. Brennan says. "Be careful both on the road and on the slopes. You do have chains and snow tires on your vehicle?"
The thought seems to have just occurred to her, and her face holds a worried expression.
With any other person, Rebecca would be irritated at the implication. She's perfectly able to take care of her own family, thank you very much. But this is Dr. Brennan, and while the woman's heart is in the right place, she isn't exactly known for her social skills.
"Yes," she tells Dr. Brennan instead. "And we have a winter weather survival kit in the trunk."
Even if – by some stretch of the imagination – she hadn't remembered the lessons she'd learned growing up in Minnesota, both Seeley and Drew had been happy to remind her of the importance of keeping a safety kit in the car. Which was sweet in a way, but also exasperating.
"I'm glad to hear it," Dr. Brennan says, smiling in relief.
"Have a good weekend, Bones," Parker tells her.
"Thank you, Parker," Dr. Brennan says. "I look forward to hearing details about your trip on Monday."
And with that, Rebecca steers Parker out of the lab.
"Guess what, Mom?" Parker says cheerfully as he climbs into the car.
"What?" she asks, grateful that she has a few years yet before he transforms into a sullen teenager.
"Bones says that if you an' Dad say it's OK, I can watch the flesh-eating beetles at work! Isn't that awesome?"
Not quite the word that she'd choose.
"Your father and I will have to talk about it, Parker," she says, sighing.
"OK," Parker says. "Just… I really, really want to see them eat stuff. And I'm old enough now, right? I'm ten. I won't get nightmares or anything, I promise."
"Your father and I will have to talk," Rebecca repeats patiently.
She's glad that Dr. Brennan and her son are such good friends, but there are definite downsides to the relationship. Such as Parker's renewed interest in anything creepy, crawly, and macabre.
On the other hand, it could be worse. At least he's interested in school, right?
Still, flesh-eating beetles.
But as Parker happily chatters away about his day at school, Rebecca finds herself thinking about Dr. Brennan's expression as they departed the lab.
She looked so… so lonely. Horribly, heart-achingly lonely.
And suddenly Rebecca's fiercely grateful for all of the people in her life.
When they get out of the car, she pulls Parker into a tight hug. He hugs her back briefly, but starts to squirm as she shows no sign of letting go anytime soon.
"Mo-o-om!" he protests.
Giving him an extra squeeze, she releases her (not-so-little anymore) little boy, who goes bounding through the front door of the house.
"Hey," Drew says, approaching her. "Need a hand with anything?"
"It's not your hands I'm interested in at the moment," Rebecca teases him, before drawing him in for a prolonged kiss.
"Wow," he says, as they come up for air a bit later. "What brought that on? 'Cause if offering to help you gets that sort of a reaction…"
"I love you," she tells him, linking her arm through his as they walk into the house. "I know I don't say it enough, but I do."
He looks at her quizzically, but replies, "Love you too, Becks."
"It was just… a long day," she says in answer to his silent question. "It's good to be home with my two favorite guys."
She's been where Dr. Brennan is right now.
But things are different now… she hasn't thought about that time in her life for some time now.
After this reminder, she'll try not to take what she has for granted.