"Mommy wont mind if Grandpa uses her car, right sweetface?" Max asks Chrissy as he jingles the spare car keys that he had found in one of the kitchen drawers.
"All done Ranpa," Chrissy stretches her arms out towards Max, hopping in her highchair. "Out! I want out!"
"Okay," Max chuckles as he picks her up, wiping her mouth with bib in the process. "Are you ready to get your brother from school?"
"Yes!" she says brightly. She runs around the living room collecting shoes, then runs back to him and holds them out, her mini charm smiles in full effect. "Here Ranpa. Put on Chrissy."
The second he takes them from her, she plops down on her bottom and holds one foot in the air. With a grunt Max kneels down and places her shoes on, tickling her on the stomach when he finishes.
"Okay," Max grunts standing up again. "Let's go get Parker."
"Bye Jasper, bye Count," Chrissy waves to her 'friends' when Max picks her up to carry her to the car. "Bye blanket, bye Mommy's puter, bye Daddy's TV."
Children of various ages' flow out of the doors of the school like a flood; some running and laughing while others stroll casually. Three preteen boys walk out, talking animatedly together until a group of girls walk by. One of them, a tall brunette, says something with a wave towards one of the boys. He smiles back with a nod, his hands in his pockets, causing the other girls to gather around their friend and ask giggled questions.
Inside the car, Max watches the interaction and chuckles, thinking about the 'discussion' that Booth and Tempe would have if they had seen Parker just then. He looks back at Chrissy and sighs tiredly; the baby had fallen asleep almost as soon as Max had started the car. He sees Parker glancing around, probably looking for his dad's SUV, so he opens the door and stands up to wave to the boy whose face lights up with a bright smile when he sees him.
"Max!" Parker says excitedly, jogging to the car. "Mom and Dad have a case?"
"Uh, yeah, yeah I'll be watching you guys for a few hours," Max says, a surprised and yet pleased look on his face at hearing the boy refer to Tempe as 'Mom'.
Parker climbs into the backseat and leans over pull down the sun screen on Chrissy's window. He sits back and starts to buckle himself in, speaking Max at the same time. "Tiney loves car rides. Dad says it's the only sure way to get her to sleep without Mom."
"Oh really? Wonder why he didn't share that little tidbit," Max says quietly, slightly annoyed. He pulls away from the school and glances back with a small smile. "So, who's the girl?"
"What girl?" Parker asks with a smile that suggests he knows exactly what Max is talking about. Max chuckles and looks at him in the rear view mirror so he ducks his head. "That's Mia, we're partners for our science project."
"Oh," Max nods, smiling to himself. "Is she nice?"
"Oh yeah, she's really cool. She doesn't act like all the other girls you know? And she's really smart."
"She's pretty," Max says slyly.
"We're just friends," Parker blushes.
Like father like son, Max thinks to himself, changing the subject as they continue their drive.
Arriving back at the house, Max sets down a still sleeping Chrissy on the couch, Parker placing her pig Jasper by her head before covering her with a blanket. Despite Parker's best efforts at charm, Max insisted that he finish his homework before retreating into his room to play video games. An hour later, however, they are still sitting together on the floor watching the National Geographic channel together, Max occasionally adding his own input.
"Hi," says a soft voice from behind them. They turn around and smile at Chrissy as she wakes up.
"Hi Tiney," Parker says, wiping the hair out of her face.
"Hi Parker. Hi," she smiles at him, crawling down to sit in his lap, still holding onto Jasper.
"Heehee," she giggles at what she saw on the TV. "Again, again!"
Parker picks up the remote and rewinds the TV so that it again shows a hawk swooping down to grab a lizard.
"Again!" she laughs, standing up and hopping in place. "Go hawk go!"
Max laughs, thinking about how earlier she asked him to stack some blocks, only to knock them down and laugh. "She's a wolf without sheep."
"Sheep?" she asks him but then her face lights up and she smiles. "Animal tracks! Come play animal tracks."
"Animal tracks?" Max asks as she grabs both his and Parker's hands.
"Uh yeah, she likes to play this all the time," Parker says, slightly embarrassed. "We, well uh, she crawls looking at fake animal tracks until she finds one of her stuffed animals."
"Oh, well that sounds like fun," Max says enthusiastically, not wanting either child to feel bad.
"Don't be scared, Ranpa," Chrissy whispers with wide eyes, making her grandfather and brother smile. "Come on, guys."
"It just doesn't make any sense," Brennan says as Booth parks the car outside their home.
"The guy's nuts, Bones," Booth sighs, reaching into the back seat to grab their stack of paper work for their reports. "I'm just glad it was an open and shut case so that we can come home and spend time with our kids."
"Have you talked to Parker about our engagement?" Brennan asks as they climb out of the car.
"Bones, he was there, remember?" Booth jokes. He grabs her arm to stop her when he sees how worried her face is. "Hey, Bones what's wrong?"
"What if he doesn't want me to be his step mother?" she voices the concern she had kept to herself all day.
"Parker loves you," he assures her, locking eyes with her. "I promise everything is fine."
"I still think that you should talk to him," she insists. "Especially since we will also be having another baby."
"Okay, I'll talk to him. But I'm telling you, Bones, I don't think there's anything to worry about," he leans forward and kisses her, one hand going to her still flat stomach.
"We should get inside," she says in a low voice, staying close to his face even after breaking the kiss. "Dad probably wants to go home."
"Right," Booth nods, stepping back.
They step through the door and stop, staring at the sight before them with wide smiles. Chrissy is looking under the coffee table with a flashlight, Parker and Max on all fours next to her. Max has a wire hanger, bent to look like a magnifying glass and Parker is holding onto a stuffed duck, apparently making it talk to Chrissy. All three look up at the partners and smile.
"What are you doing?" Booth chuckles, closing the door.
"Playing animal tracks," all three answer.
"Look Daddy," Chrissy grabs the duck and runs to her father who scoops her up. "We found my duck. Quack quack quack."
"Hey Mom, can I bring a friend to the lab next week?" Parker asks a shocked Brennan as he stands. "We want to ask Hodgins some questions for our science project."
"I…um," Brennan falters, tears springing to her eyes. "Yes, that-that should be fine."
"What's wrong?" Parker steps forward concerned written all over his face.
"Nothing, bub, just a long day," Booth steps in, setting Chrissy down. "Why don't you and Chrissy clean up."
"Bye Ranpa," Chrissy hugs Max, assuming that now that her parents are home her grandfather will be leaving.
"Bye, princess," Max hugs her back. He gives Parker a one armed hug around the shoulders. "See you soon, kiddo."
"Later," Parker smiles before walking away.
"I told you Bones," Booth says softly, rubbing a hand down her arm.
She smiles as she rubs the tears from her eyes and Max reaches out having seen the stone on her finger.
"Does this mean what I think it does?" he asks with a smile.
"If you're assuming it's an engagement ring, then yes," she smiles widely, touch of pride in her voice.
"Congratulations, baby girl," Max kisses her on the cheek, shaking a grinning Booth's hand. "Have you set a date yet?"
"No, but I think it should be within the next few months," Brennan answers, talking more to Booth than her father.
"Any particular reason for that?" Max asks, looking at the pair suspiciously.
"Several," Brennan says with a mysterious smile. Before he can comment she steps forward and gives him a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks for watching the kids, Dad. I'm going to check on them."
"You really helped us out today, thanks Max," Booth offers his hand as Brennan walks away.
"No problem. They're great kids," Max smiles, gathering his coat as Booth leads him to the door. "Chrissy is…"
"Just like her mother," Booth smirks.
"Yeah, she is," Max chuckles. He steps out the door but turns around at the last second. "I think you might want to know that Tempe and I aren't the only people attracting Parker to science anymore."
"What does that mean?" Booth asks confused. Max just waves and walks away.
Now, the Ranpa thing is what my niece calls my dad, even though she says other words perfectly; I think it's cute. The hawk thing is also something she did, had us cracking up and her dad (my brother) said that about her. I hope you guys liked this, I myself planned on something better when I started but, like I said, the muse fizzled on me. Until next time….