AN - And so we come to the end of another one….
Thank you so much to everyone who hung in there with me-especially those of you who aren't familiar with NCIS. I never intended for the story to be a crossover, and I still don't think that it is, in the true sense.
This story was a lot of firsts for me… it was my first "Bones" fic sequel, the first time I used crossover characters and my first fic that was more case-centric… and it was a lot of fun for me, I hope you enjoyed it as well.
And for this chapter, in a nod to one of my favorite quirks of the show… you might find a little product placement in this chapter. Take it with a grain of salt, *wink*
Thanks to Ceeray3 for everything! I couldn't have gotten through this one without your help, ideas, friendship and support. You are amazing.
This is it, so… please review.
The Family in the Fieldwork
Seeley Booth stood in his kitchen, waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. Leaning against the island, he smiled as he watched the scenery through the French doors. As the sun began to come up over the horizon, his wife sat in her yellow Adirondack chair on the deck overlooking the yard. He loved watching her in quiet reflection, almost as much as she loved to curl up in that big, old chair.
He poured two mugs and went out to join her.
"Good morning," he said, handing her a mug as he leaned down to greet her with a kiss.
"Good morning," she replied, smiling.
"You're out here early," he said, sitting down in the chair next to hers.
"It's not often I get a quiet morning to just sit out here," she said.
"Want me to leave you alone?"
"No," she answered, reaching across to take his hand. "No, of course not."
They sat quietly for a long while, just enjoying the morning and each other.
"Last night was amazing," he said softly.
"Yes," she replied with a smile. "It was."
He chuckled a little as his voice dropped several octaves.
"I love it when you get all uninhibited like that," he said, entwining their fingers.
She laughed that soft, husky laugh that never ceased to get his blood boiling.
"We've still got a couple hours before we have to pick up the kids…"
This time she laughed out loud.
"Let's go," she said, standing up and reaching for his hand.
Brennan buckled Mia into her booster seat as Parker climbed in on the other side.
"We're really going to a car dealership, Bones?" he asked.
"Your father and I promised that we'd go car shopping this weekend, didn't we?" she answered the young man's question with a question of her own.
"Well, yeah," Parker answered. "But with the case and everything you guys have been so busy," he said as Brennan got into the front passenger's seat next to his father. "I just figured we'd have to put it off for a little while."
"Parks," Booth spoke up. "You and Mia will always come first, always. I know it may not always seem like it, but no matter what, you guys are always at the top of our priority list. Bones told you we would go car shopping this weekend, and that means we're going car shopping this weekend."
"This is your day, Parker," Brennan added. "What we do next is up to you. I know that traditionally, this is something you would do with your father. I would like to be there. However, I understand that this is something you may want to do without Mia and I being there, and that's okay, too…"
"No way, Bones," Parker said, interrupting. "Of course I want you there. But it might be kinda boring for Mia."
"You're correct," Brennan agreed, her face falling into a soft frown. "It probably will be." She turned to her husband as he pulled the car out of the Hodgins' driveway. "Perhaps you should take Mia and I home first."
"What?" Booth asked in response. "No. No, this is a family outing. Mia has her leapfrog and I know you keep extra coloring books in her bag. She'll be fine. We're doing this together. Right, Parks?"
"Right," Parker answered with finality and a grin that couldn't have been more like his father's if he'd tried.
"We go where?" Mia asked.
"We're going to see about buying a car for Parker," her father answered.
"Truck," Mia replied.
"What, Sunshine?" Booth asked.
"Truck," Mia repeated. "No car. Parker drive a truck."
Parker laughed out loud at his baby sister's adamancy.
"She's right, Dad," he answered. "I would really like to have a truck."
Brennan glanced down and ran her finger down the list on the legal pad she was carrying. Nodding she pointed to a line near the top and tapped the paper as Booth glanced over. Nodding, he gave her a wink to indicate he'd gotten her message.
About twenty-five minutes later, the family pulled in to Jim Coleman Toyota in Bethesda. Parker could barely contain his excitement as his father drove them onto the lot. Booth found the visitors parking and pulled the Sequoia into a slot. He turned to face the two in the back seat before anyone could open their doors.
"Okay, you two," he said. "Here are the rules."
Parker resisted the urge to roll his eyes while Mia waited patiently to see what Daddy had to say. For as long as Parker could remember, his dad would stop the car and give him the rules for wherever they were going before they got out of the car. He would be sixteen in less than two months, he was pretty sure he was good on the rules and that this was really for Mia's benefit, but he sat back and listened as their father spoke.
"We're here to look, and listen. Parker, if you have a question…ask it. It's important that we take our time and are fully prepared with any decision that we make. Mia, your brother was right. This might be a little boring for you… especially if we do decide to buy something and have to sit down and do paperwork. Please be patient and behave for Mommy and Daddy, okay?"
When both children responded with a "Yes, sir," Booth nodded to Brennan and they climbed out of the vehicle. Brennan went back to unbuckle Mia from her seat. She set the little girl down on the pavement and took her hand as she adjusted Mia's bag and her own on her shoulder.
Booth held back a grin when they didn't make it five steps from their vehicle before being approached by a salesman.
"Hi there," the blond man said as he walked up, reaching out to shake Booth's hand. "I'm Will Holt. You folks looking for a trade?" he asked, glancing toward the year-old SUV.
"No, thanks," Booth answered. "We're actually looking for something for our son." He placed his hand on Parker's shoulder and looked at the salesman with a proud smile.
"Very good," Will responded. "This your first vehicle, son?"
"Yes, sir," Parker responded, nodding his head.
The man turned his attention back to Booth.
"Any idea where you want to start?" he asked.
"Yes, actually," Brennan said. Stepping up next to her husband, she glanced down at her notes. "There are a few models we'd like to look at." She knew they'd end up with the Tacoma that she, Booth and Rebecca had talked about, but she wanted to do her due diligence as a parent and as a consumer and make sure they at least reviewed all their options. "We have driven Toyotas for quite some time," she offered. "I was very fond of my Prius, and I currently drive a Highlander hybrid. We are very happy with the Sequoia as well. I think we should look into the Camry, RAV4 and perhaps a Venza…" she said, pausing to look down at her notes.
Knowing that his wife would be taking over the reins of their comparison shopping, Booth reached over to pick Mia up into his arms.
"All righty then," Will responded. "Why don't you all follow me and we'll get started?"
After about an hour of perusing the other models, the family made their way to the truck section.
"Will," Brennan said. "I think we would like to look at the Tacoma as well." She glanced over at her step-son and watched his eyes light up. She'd done her research, not only on the vehicle itself, but with Parker too. She knew that they could get everything he wanted in the compact pick-up and that it would satisfy her concerns as well.
"Excellent choice, Mrs. Booth," Will replied. Over the past hour or so, he'd gotten a chance to get to know his customers. The husband was the strong silent type, and he'd be doing the final negotiations, of that Will was sure. The wife was a researcher. Some of the guys balked at this kind of customer, but he appreciated someone who did their homework. It was great to talk to someone who asked intelligent questions and knew what they wanted.
He led them over to a row filled with about six of the small trucks.
"The Tacoma is a Top Safety Pick for six years running," Will said.
"And US News rates it a '10' for safety as well," she said. "I like that."
"Any ideas on which model you're thinking about?" Will posed his question to the group.
"I think the Access Cab is important," Booth answered. "Having only room for one passenger is not really practical."
Parker stood next to his father, nodding and smiling.
"I agree," Brennan answered. "And I think that we would also like four-wheel drive. That is important for DC winters."
Parker's eyes grew wide as saucers as he looked to his step-mom.
"Really?" he asked. "I can get a 4x4?"
Brennan looked to her husband with a question in her eyes. She got her answer from his almost imperceptible nod.
"Of course," she answered.
"Okay," Will said, realizing that the couple probably already had their minds made up and this was the vehicle they'd been planning on all along. "What about drive train?" he asked, posing his question in Booth's direction.
"Manual," Booth answered. He looked toward his son and then back to the salesman. "If you don't learn on a stick, you'll never drive one. And I think it's important to know how."
"Cool," Parker replied.
"Okay," Will said. "I think we have one here that will suit your needs. How about a test drive?"
Booth and Brennan exchanged a glance.
"Parker's only fifteen and doesn't have his learner's permit yet," Booth answered. "But I'd like to drive one."
Brennan moved over and reached for her daughter.
"Why don't you and Parker take the test drive with Will," she said. "Mia and I will wait here."
Two hours later, Booth and Brennan were signing the last of the sales and registration forms. They had ended up not taking something off the lot, but instead making a special order. In six and a half weeks, just two days after his sixteenth birthday, Parker would be coming with his dad to pick up his brand new black, standard bed, access cab, 4x4, 2.7 liter 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission Toyota Tacoma. He hated having to be patient and wait, but the cool thing about waiting was that he would be able to drive the truck off the lot.
In the end, Booth's fear of spoiling his son had meshed well with his wife's practicality. They had decided to forgo most of the unnecessary bells and whistles. They had only added a few options. Parker wanted the bike attachment. He thought it would be cool to be able to throw his mountain bike in the back and go for a trail ride in one of DC's many parks. Brennan had insisted on the hands-free Bluetooth option that would allow Parker to use his phone right through the truck's audio system.
Parker was beaming as the family made their way back to the SUV.
"Wow," he said, at a loss for words. "Thank you, guys."
Booth and Brennan exchanged a smile, as Parker struggled to maintain his composure.
Brennan was busy finishing her potato salad when she heard the doorbell.
"I get it, Mommy," Mia said, jumping down from her perch on the step stool she used when helping her Mommy in the kitchen.
"Not so fast, young lady," her mother replied. "You know the rules. You don't answer the door by yourself."
"I'll get it," Parker said.
"Thank you, Parks," Brennan answered. "You can help me finish the potato salad, Angel girl."
"Okay," Mia replied, watching as her brother left the kitchen and went to greet their guests at the front door.
"Nice wheels, Short Stuff," Angela said, patting Parker on the shoulder.
"Thanks," he said. "Wanna see my learner's permit?"
"Of course," she replied, smiling over his shoulder to Booth, who had just joined them in the foyer.
"Hey!" Hodgins called out as he came into the house. "Who owns that hot new truck out in the driveway?"
"It's mine, Uncle Jack," Parker replied. "Dad and Bones got it for my birthday. Isn't it cool?"
"Yeah, buddy," Hodgins replied. "It is. When are you gonna take me out for a spin?"
Parker looked to his dad who gave him a slight nod.
"Whenever you want," Booth answered. "Parks has his learner's permit. He's been doing really great with his driving lessons. If you guys wanna take a spin around the neighborhood while we wait for everyone else to show up, it's okay with me."
"Yeah," Booth answered. "As long as you've done everything Bones asked you to help get ready for the barbeque."
"Yes sir," Parker replied. "I picked up Mia's toys from the poolside, straightened the deck chairs set up the croquet set, and Baggo boards."
"Good job, Buddy," Parker said. "Go ahead, but don't be too long. The others should be here soon."
"Cool! Come on, Uncle Jack. Let's go."
Late in the evening, Booth stood at the edge of the deck. He looked out over the yard and pool below. All of their friends and family were enjoying the end of Summer barbeque that had become a tradition.
He thought back over the last several weeks, and what it had been like being out in the field again. He thought about Michaela Austin and everything that she had gone through. He thought about his own kids and how fast they were growing up… about Parker's birthday and how thrilled he'd been to get his new truck.
He smiled as he felt his wife's arms wrap around his waist from behind.
"Hey, Gorgeous," he said.
"Hey," she replied, pressing a kiss to the side of his neck.
He turned around to kiss her and then moved them so that they were once again facing the yard, this time with Brennan in front of him and cradled against his chest in embrace. They were quiet for a few minutes.
"Contemplating your kingdom, Queen Temperance?" he asked with a smile.
"I suppose," she answered. "We are very lucky. Aren't we, King Seeley?"
"That, we are," he answered. "That we are."