Eeks… some of you guys are familiar with what writer's block feels like, right? I've had the illness for nearly two months now and posting this story is kind of a cheat… because I actually wrote most of it *months* ago. Like, it was one of the very first things I wrote for this Angry series. I think there's one more story left to post here, that I hope to find the juice to complete before November gets here, and then I'll put this amazingly therapeutic (for me, at least) series to bed and live in the happy land called Season Seven. Probably. God, I hope... And if I get with it, I have a couple of new series of stories I'd like to start posting soon… so, shoot happy thoughts of creative thinking my way!
This one is completely based on my anger and outrage at Booth (read: the show's writers)- who's always been such a good Dad- and his introduction of Hannah into his son's life. You don't just show up with a girlfriend and invite her to live with you before she's even met your kid. It was wrong and the show's writers disrespected that father/son relationship by doing so.
Although it's based on an earlier Season Six episode, I couldn't stand to write anything else where Booth was still with Hannah, so this is a post-Daredevil piece. Enjoy? : ) My most humble thanks to the amazing Some1tookmyname for her mad beta skills and houseful of kids who helped Parker sound more like an 11-year-old and less like me (I sound at least 13 most days).
Seeley Booth is not a patient man. Sure, he could spend hours wearing down a suspect in an interrogation room without giving an inch. And as a sniper, he often spent hours, if not days without moving, waiting to spot his target through a rifle's lens.
But in general, waiting with nothing to do is not his strong suit. Which was why his shoulders were tense and there was a pacing tic to his walk as the schoolchildren before him scattered on to their buses or into their parents' cars. Fifteen minutes after the final bell announced the end of the school day and he had yet to spot his normally punctual son leaving the building.
Rebecca had called him an hour before school was to get out, asking him to pick Parker up. She had fumbled an excuse about something having come up at work and though Booth was suspicious of her tone, he wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to hang out with his kid. And as luck would have it, it was very much a paperwork day at the bureau.
His pacing turned into an impatient foot tap as he leaned against his SUV. A minute later, he spotted Parker walking out the door with a pretty brunette girl about the same age. Parker being friends with all of the girls in his class was not new… he'd always been that kind of kid. Parker holding the hand of one of those girls, however, was very new. Booth was pretty sure the last time he and his son had discussed "girls" they still had cooties. And when Booth spotted that development, he unconsciously stood up a little straighter, like he does when he's about to interrogate a suspect.
A few seconds later, Parker had spotted his Dad. In the past, given Booth's rare opportunities to pick up his kid from school in the middle of the afternoon, Parker normally ran at him full force, excited for the extra "guy time." Today, Booth was on the receiving end of an eye roll and a heavy sigh before Parker turned his back to him and said goodbye to the girl.
Booth had unconsciously walked away from his car, wanting to get a better look at the girl who Parker had walked to her own mother's car. He made a mental note of the car's plates, make and model before he turned and noticed his son's slumped shoulders as he trudged toward him. Not sure what part of the last three minutes to tackle first, Booth started with a simple "Hey, Parks!" to greet his son.
"Hey Dad," Parker said hesitantly, before glancing around him to look at the SUV.
"So, your Mom called and asked me to come pick you up today. Hope you're up for a boring afternoon of hanging out with your old man?" he said with a chuckle.
"You don't have to work?" Parker asked disbelieving.
"Nope, today, I'm all yours."
Booth could have sworn Parker grimaced at his words and watched as he stretched his neck again to look toward the SUV in the distance.
"Did you bring Hannah with you?"
This time, it was Booth's turn to grimace, the memory of Hannah, her rejection and their unspoken breakup merely a week old. He wasn't going to see Parker until this weekend, which he figured gave him plenty of time to figure out how to tell Parker about Hannah's departure. He realized he was going to have to wing it.
"Uh… no, Parker. Hannah's not with me."
"Oh… really?" Booth couldn't tell whether Parker's question was more hopeful or disbelieving.
Booth tried to school his features, which prominently displayed both confusion and frustration. "No Bub, No Hannah. Just you and me."
"Oh," he said, a small smile breaking on to his face. "Okay… what are we gonna do?" he asked.
"I was thinking we could go to the park, throw a ball around a bit, maybe grab dinner. Or, if you've got homework to do, we could go back to the apartment and…"
"No! The park is good. Definitely the park."
Booth laughed. "Okay, but then at dinner, we will go over your homework for the night."
Parker rolled his eyes as they walked toward the SUV to leave.
Booth kept the afternoon's conversations light, asking his son about school, what he wanted to do this weekend and eventually his top choice for summer camps. He couldn't resist making a face at his son's enthusiasm for squint camp in July, to which Doctor Hodgins had filled him in on the overnight camping trip to some bug-infested area in Virginia where the students would get to run all sorts of field tests on the water, plant and wildlife in the area. It was one thing for his son to want to be a squint. It was entirely different for him to want to become a bug man. He noted to keep his son's knowledge of Hodgins' so-called government conspiracies in check.
When they finally sat down to burgers and milkshakes at The Diner, Booth decided it was time to talk about women. But at the last second, he chickened out on the woman he meant to bring up first.
"So, who was that girl you were walking out of school with when I picked you up today?"
Parker's face, previously lit up with enjoyment due to the milkshake he was slurping, dropped. "Dad, I don't want to talk about it," he said in a stern and angry voice.
Booth was taken aback with the vehemence in his son's tone. "Parker…" Booth started, the shock at his outburst evident. "I'm just curious as to who she is, Bub."
"And I don't want to tell you," Parker said plainly, before taking about bite of his hamburger.
At his son's refusal, Booth dropped his own burger back to its plate, leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. Parker recognized the movement and in great mini-Booth fashion, dropped his burger and matched his father's posture.
Booth infinitesimally squirmed at the sight of his son, obviously determined to take on his father regarding this subject for whatever reason. He thought if Brennan was here, she'd say something about the adolescent male of the tribe trying to assert his alpha male independence. Whatever the reason, Booth didn't like it.
"Why don't you want to tell me about her, Parker?" he said in a perfectly intimidating G-man tone.
"Listen, Dad, we're guys, okay. And guys, they don't need to talk about mushy stuff or girls or any of that with each other. At least, we don't have to do that, right?" he said more than asked, gesturing between the two of them. "I'm just playing by the rules and I'd appreciate it if you'd do the same."
Booth's face turned from stern to confused as he digested Parker's words. "What rules?"
"The rules where you and I don't talk about who we date. You never tell me about your girlfriends so I shouldn't have to tell you about mine."
"Parks… what are you talking about? I don't really date that much," he nearly muttered to himself. "But you've met Hannah. You two have hung out before."
"Yeah, I met Hannah. After she moved in with you. So, if Jessica and I decide to move-in together in say, I dunno, a hundred billion years from now, I'll tell you about her. But until then, let's just be guys about it, and go by the rules."
"What is it with you and the 'rules?'" he asked, making air quotes to emphasize "rules." "First off, there are no rules about you and I talking about who we date or anything else for that matter. And second, even if there were, you're 11 and you should want to break the rules, not obey them. Geez… sometimes I think you spend too much time with Bones."
"Not lately," Parker muttered loud enough for Booth to hear.
"Parker, if there's someone in my life and I'm serious about her, then I'll tell you about her."
"Then Dad, if there's someone in my life and I'm serious about her, then I'll tell you about her."
Booth knew he had to come clean about Hannah and tell him she was gone. And now he feared the longer he waited to tell him, the more flack his kid was going to give him for it. But there was something else Booth was picking up from Parker that he wanted to get an answer to first.
"Parker… do you not like Hannah?"
Parker rolled his eyes before he said, "She's fine."
"Yeah, your words say one thing but your tone says another. FBI, buddy, so try again."
"It's not that I don't like her, Dad. I just don't know her very well. Yeah, I've spent some time with her now, but you've spent lots of time with her. And you came back from Afghanistan and she was already living with you. I'd never even met her before. I know…" Parker stopped and hesitating as he searched for the right words.
"I know I don't live with you very often, and sometimes that really sucks, you know. But I kinda thought that your house was like my house too, like my second house. And when Mom started dating Brent, I knew him for a long time before he ever came over for sleepovers. And a really long time before he moved in. And Mom asked me before he moved in how I felt about it. And she said that if I didn't want him to move in, then he wouldn't get to move in. That it wasn't her choice, it was our choice."
Parker paused before continuing. "I liked Brent, you know, but I liked it more that I had some say. Mom always says that I'm her number one guy, and my opinion matters most. And I liked that. So, I didn't really like that Hannah moved in before I even knew she was your girlfriend. But, I figure that must be a guy rule. So, if you don't have to tell me about your girlfriends, then I shouldn't have to tell you about mine."
Parker returned to eating his dinner, while Booth observed him. Parker noticed he was watching him, but he was pretty good about seeming oblivious to it, rearranging the toppings on his burger and searching his milkshake glass for the cherry that had sunk into it.
"You're wrong Parker. And you're right," Booth conceded quietly.
Parker looked at him puzzledly and decided to ask the more positive sounding question. "What am I right about?"
"I never should have asked Hannah to move in without talking to you first. Without making sure you were okay with it. I was wrong, Parker. You always, always come first," he emphasized. "If you don't like the woman I'm seeing, or just aren't comfortable with her for whatever reason, I have to respect that. And, you're right. You never got that chance with Hannah. And I'm sorry, Parker. I really am."
Parker looked thoughtfully at his Dad for a moment before he went to speak. But his Dad beat him to it. "And you're wrong about those rules things. We don't have rules where we keep things from each other. I messed up and I'm sorry and I promise to try not to mess up again. But we need to agree… I won't keep anything from you and you don't keep anything from me. Deal?"
"You're not just saying this so I have to tell you about Jessica, right?" he asked skeptically.
"Nope. I mean it. For both of us… we have to tell each other everything."
"Okay…" he responded slowly. "Deal."
"Deal," Booth confirmed, sticking his fist out to get it bumped by his son.
"So… I have to tell you something. Hannah and I… we aren't seeing each other anymore."
"You broke up?"
"Yeah, Bub, we did."
"Oh… okay," he said
"Yeah, I guess," Parker said with a pause. "Are you sad?"
Booth squirmed in his seat before answering. "A little. But I'll get over it."
Parker considered saying something else about it, but went a different route instead. "Jessica just switched to my school a couple of months ago. She's my lab partner in biology class."
"Your lab partner?" Booth queried.
"Yep. She's cool. Knows all sorts of stuff about things. We've been studying pond scum and different kinds of bacteria and the other girls get really grossed out by it. But Jessica thinks it's awesome."
"She sounds cool…" Booth said with a grin.
"Yep. She makes for an excellent lab partner."
Booth took a bite of his hamburger as Parker continued. "I told her that she could come with me to the lab at someday, and now that you and Hannah are broken up, we can go soon right? She thinks Bones sounds fascinating and has to meet her."
He choked a little bit on his hamburger at whatever implication his son had made, before smiling and shaking his head. "Sure Bub, sometime soon."
Okay... sans anymore Season Six angst to get out of my system, there's just one more piece to go and I can sum it up in one word: Angela. :D
On this piece, I'd love to know your thoughts if you got 'em.
Also… I just have to pimp this other story. As a gift to me and my neurotic (and totally justified) fanfic pet peeves, some of the best writers on FF got together to compose the most tragically unoriginal, #grammarfail, riddled-with-stereotypes Bones story ever written… it's hilarious and I love them for doing it. It was written all in good fun (if you take offense to it for any reason, you should consult a therapist) and I strongly encourage you to go to the author's page for "Seelrance" and read The Flaw in the Fic. It's in my favorites list and it's so bad, you'll laugh all day long. And you're welcome!