"Why don't you just ask Rebecca to watch him?" Sweets heard Brennan pose the question as he entered his office.
"Because, Bones," Booth replied, aggravated. "She's only letting me watch him because Captain Fantastic wants to take her to an adults-only resort in Maui."
As Sweets closed the door behind him, Brennan noticed him. "Hello, Doctor Sweets," she greeted him stiffly.
"Doctor Brennan," he smiled. "Agent Booth. Good to see you."
"That's nice," Booth said absently, apparently just reacting to his name. He turned to Brennan. "Any more ideas?"
"About what?" Sweets asked.
Booth sighed; as always, it was obvious that he didn't want to be there. "Starting tomorrow, Rebecca wants me to watch Parker for a few weeks while Captain Fantastic takes her to Maui. But we just got a murder case in Florida, so Bones and I are going to have to go down there. Obviously I can't be in two places at once, so either I leave Parker at home by himself or skip this case."
"Who's Captain Fantastic?" he wondered.
"Her boyfriend. He's a captain in the Coast Guard."
"Seems like she's asking you to do this on pretty short notice. Can't you just say no?"
"No – I told her I'd do this about a month ago. It's the case – it just came up suddenly, and – I mean, I can't say no now. They bought tickets, made reservations... the whole shebang." Booth shook his head.
"Do you have any relatives or close friends in town who could watch him?" he suggested.
"Yeah, now that you mention it. Why didn't I just think of that before?" Booth quipped sarcastically.
"No need to be rude," Sweets said, hiding his indignation. "I was only trying to be helpful."
Brennan leaned forward slightly. "Does this count towards our time requirement? I want to leave as quickly as possible. We have a case."
"What? I – fine," Sweets shrugged, trying not to let his hurt show. As much as he hated to admit it, it stung when they told him – right to his face – that they wanted to get away from him. "I suppose that talking about personal issues affecting you is pertinent to the Bureau's attempt to analyze your partnership."
"Great. Any ideas?" Booth asked him. Judging by the bored look on his face, he didn't expect Sweets to say anything useful – he just wanted to kill time.
"Well..." he trailed off, thinking. Maybe if he came up with something helpful, he might get some respect. It was unlikely, of course, given the pair's previous behavior – but it was possible. Suddenly, an idea popped into his head. "Parker's old enough to go to school, right?"
"Yeah," Booth replied, obviously wondering how that was relevant.
"How long does the school's aftercare program go on?" Most public schools had them; hopefully Parker's did too.
"I think Rebecca said eight," he informed him. "But it's not like they can watch him overnight. I don't see where you're going with this."
Eight – perfect. "Well, I usually get home around six," Sweets said. "I mean – I could watch him."
To his surprise, Booth started laughing. "Parker could babysit you," he shook his head. "No way I'm leaving my son with... I mean, what are you, fourteen?"
Sweets, not finding his jokes particularly funny, kept a straight face. "I'm serious, Agent Booth."
"So am I. No way." he shook his head.
"So you're leaving him home alone?"
"Of course not. That's ridiculous."
"You're abandoning the case?"
"How's that going to work out?"
Booth was silent for a few moments. "I don't know," he admitted. "I'll figure something out."
"I don't know, okay?"
Brennan looked at her partner. "We've known Sweets for years, Booth," she pointed out. "He's always been very responsible, and, with the exception of his choice of mates, his judgment is exemplary."
"With the exception of my choice of mates?" he echoed, incredulous.
Booth, pained, looked at her. "Bones, you don't just say that to people."
"Why not?" she wondered. "It's true. Miss Wick is exceedingly aggravating, and –"
Her partner held up a hand to stop her. "It's not polite," he explained. "You just – you don't do that."
Sweets sighed. His suggestion had obviously been rejected; he might as well move on and start with the usual session talk.
Sweets was snuggled up next to Daisy, kept comfortably warm by the duvet resting on top of them. Everything was dark and silent – the winter night was wonderful, its peace unbroken by howling winds. Unfortunately, it was broken by the persistent ringing of his cell phone.
Daisy moaned, pulling the quilt over her head. "Answer it, Lancelot," she whimpered. "It's so loud."
He fumbled blindly in the dark, trying to find his phone amidst the slight clutter on his nightstand; once he found it, he picked it up and hit the green button. "Hullo?" he mumbled, half-asleep.
"Sweets?" Booth's voice emanated from the phone.
In his stupor, it took a moment for the surprise to hit him. "You... want to talk to me? Voluntarily? I mean, that's... that's great, but... it's two in the morning."
"Sorry," he said, sounding more than a little insincere. At least he was trying to be polite. "I – I just needed to see if you could still watch Parker."
"What?" he blinked a few times, certain his drowsiness had made him hear the wrong words.
"Can you still watch Parker?" he repeated. "I – I know it's kind of last minute, but I couldn't find anyone else. I'd have called you sooner, but it took me a while to convince Rebecca to let you watch him."
"That... yeah, sure," he replied. "I... I can do it."
"Great," he said, sounding relieved. "She'll drop him off at school tomorrow, then bring a bag of his stuff and a list of instructions to your house around nine."
"Nine?" he repeated. "I can't... I have to be at work by nine at the latest. Usually I'm there by eight."
"Then she can drop it off at the FBI building," Booth decided.
"Great," he mumbled weakly. "I'll see her then."
"Thanks a lot, Sweets." Sweets was surprised to hear genuine gratitude in Booth's voice. Had he finally won him over?
"Parker is my son," he said, making the obvious statement sound much more threatening than it should. "If anything happens to him, I will personally hunt you down and shoot you. Do you understand?"
"Got it," he replied hurriedly.
"Good night," Booth said; Sweets heard a click, and the conversation was over.
As he put the phone back in its place, Daisy spoke up. "What was that about?"
He paused, trying to think of how to describe the situation. "We're having a kid."
AN: Sorry; this chapter isn't as good as the next ones will be. It's just setting up the situation. The next chapter will have a bit of this too, but I'm planning on stuffing a lot more Parker cuteness into that one. I think it'll turn out a lot better. :3
Happy American Independence Day!