Author's Note: When I got this idea, I knew from the beginning this would not go in my "Adjective" series. Thank you for taking the time to read, and possibly review, this fic. It means a lot to me. I have it listed as complete, but depending on some other things, this may become a multiple-chapter fic. We shall see.
Setting: As per usual, this could happen any number of different times after the 100th episode. Probably better to have happened sooner after the episode than later, especially so we can pretend Marine Biologist lady (Catherine) and Hacker never existed. Also, if the first half of this story is factually incorrect, then that aspect is AU. I just don't remember.
The Persuasion in the Story
He was a scientist, empirical in all of its glory. Science explained everything, and what it could not explain could not be true. He used the Socratic method to solve the simplest of things and always had to have concepts or life experiences explained logically in scientific ways.
His mom said she loved his dad, but in their time love didn't have to be a part of the equation for the sum to equal marriage. He believed people thought they were in love, their bodies tricking them into believing they loved another person and wanted to be with them. Anything they "felt" was imaginary and, like Plato would say, irrational and detrimental towards society and its journey towards truth.
Then, he met her, and for the first time science was wrong, couldn't provide him with enlightenment. For the first time, he felt love.
She was the good Catholic girl, innocent despite her later faults. Growing up, she attended church every Sunday and confirmation class every Tuesday. She went to confession and asked for forgiveness for small, insignificant mistakes. She was a daddy's girl, perfect in his eyes.
She grew up on Cinderella and Rapunzel. Love was something of perfect fairytales, but she knew one day she'd meet the man who loved her as she did him; she would know because she would feel it.
When she met him, she thought he was all wrong. He was all evidence and proof, and she was all heart and emotions, but somehow they both knew, both felt it. She made him believe, and he showed her that sometimes the Princess could love the Ogre more than any perfect Prince.
They fell into bad times with each other, turned to a life of crime. Every Sunday, though, she still went to Mass. Sometimes, he would go under the guise of a learning experience, or because it was important to her. She asked for repentance for their sins at confession and prayed for safety every night before bed.
When they had their first child, she prayed that their lifestyle wouldn't harm her baby boy. Even he prayed for their son to be spared. Though he didn't personally believe, her faith was enough to convince him to pray for his child.
When they welcomed their daughter into the world, they prayed harder. She was perfect, with big blue-gray eyes and auburn hair. She had this angelic laugh and smile. Every time he saw that smile he remembered that love is something to be felt; she was his proof. He would hug his baby girl and feel her heart beat over his—that was all he needed.
Before she was old enough to remember the negative aspects of her parents' dual lives, unlike her older brother, they got out. They had new identities and a new place to live. He went into what he knew, became a science teacher at the nearby school. Finally, they were able to provide for their children the right way.
Not a day went by after they abandoned their kids that he didn't think of them. Not a day passed that he did not miss them or want to tell them how much he loved them.
That man, that unbelieving scientist who once thought matters of the heart were irrational and fictitious, visits his wife's grave every Sunday he is in town. On Sundays, she went to Mass. On Sundays, he visits her. He tells her their story and how she changed him. He fills her in on their son's and daughter's lives. He remembers her.
He knows that more than anything she would want to see both of her children happy, so he made a promise. The next time he saw their daughter he would amend her disbelief, like his wife disproved his.
He took a tentative sip from the freshly poured coffee. Deciding it needed more sugar, he reached to the end of the table and pinched a packet of Sweet'n Low. As he shook the packet to move all of its contents to one end, the woman he had been waiting for entered his line of sight.
She exited the black SUV, said some parting message with a smile on her face, and walked through the doors of the Diner as the overly-shiny car sped away. The Royal Diner hadn't been his first choice of meeting place, but with how busy she seemed to be lately, and how little time she claimed to have before the SUV would come back and pick her up, he was simply grateful she was able to make time for him.
After quickly depositing the contents of the packet into the mug, he stood to greet his daughter. With one arm, he hugged her and she rewarded him with one of her rare kisses on his leather-textured cheek.
Once she sat down he returned to his seat across from her and eased them into small talk while she waited for her tea. She told him about her current case and how Booth, Angela, Hodgins, and Cam were doing. She politely asked about Russ and the girls.
Giving her a few moments to fix her beverage, he paused the conversation. After she took her first sip he brought his own cup to his lips and said, "I visited your mother the other day," before taking a quick taste himself. Before she could interject about how you technically cannot visit or talk to dead people, he added, "I promised her I would make sure you were happy."
"I am happy," she claimed, looking at him square in the face with her eyebrows slightly furrowed. "I am a successful author and the leading scientist in my field," she dismissed, clearly not understanding how his definition of happiness and her definition did not add up.
"Social standing isn't everything, honey." When her look of confusion grew even more pronounced, he continued. "Your mother and I were a lot like you and Agent Booth. You never ask how we met."
As she played with the string of her tea bag, she factually stated, "I already know how you and Mom met. You were both in the same criminal organization where you proceeded to become career criminals and abandon me and Russ."
He leaned forward in his chair, his hands resting on both sides of the mug. "Your mother was innocent before she met me. We fell into hard times soon after we married and I made some naïve decisions," he defended.
When she said no more, he told her everything from the beginning. He told her how he was the empiricist, the rational scientist who believed that feelings and love were nothing more than body chemistry and societally imposed values. He told her how her mother, his wife, was in every way his opposite, and in every way his complementary other half. He told her how she came into his life and proved him and science wrong in a completely unscientific and irrational manner.
He spared her the story about abandoning her and Russ as that was something she already knew about and both parents had explained, even beyond the grave. Instead, Max focused on every way that he and Christine differed yet worked, making sure the comparison between his relationship with his wife was nearly identical to his daughter's relationship with her partner. He needed her to see how two people with opposite belief systems and ways of functioning could come together and have something amazing.
He told his story with reverence and respect, his tone the same as when he read her fairytales when she was a young girl. She followed his progression, but automatically refused his logic.
When he finally finished, she disregarded her learned social skills and commented, "I do not see the point of your story."
Closing his eyes, he took a quick breath before smiling and looking at her. "You're the scientist in this story, and he's the heart guy. You don't believe in only loving one person for the rest of your life and are unsure about love, but he does and his heart is as certain as you are that the sternum is inferior to the clavicle. You are all thought and hard proof, and he's all heart and feeling."
Now that she was absolutely certain about the conversation's purpose, she wanted to change the topic immediately. "Max," she warned, using his name to imply just how unwilling she was do discuss this.
"You need to give him a chance, Tempe." He paused to let her mull over his words, to consider the possibility of doing what he suggested. "You two are already doing something right; instead of taking part of a crime, you're finding justice for its victims. I know you think you are too different from Booth, but deep down, you are one in the same."
Looking down at her hands, she twisted her mother's ring around her finger. She paused, deciding what to say next. She had made so many mistakes and wasn't sure she could even ask Booth to forgive her and take the chance. Finally, she quietly admitted, "I lost my chance. We missed our moment."
This level of shame, and of honesty, was unusual for her. He stayed quiet, allowing his hurt daughter any amount of time that she needed. Usually, she wouldn't elaborate, let alone say what she already had, but sitting across from her father at the Diner after listening to everything he said, she talked to the least expected person about exactly what she wanted to avoid. "I don't have a heart like his." She used the words from that night outside Sweets' office.
Having regained her composure and rationality, she looked up at Max. Then, he responded. "Booth loves you for you. If anyone can show you how to love, if anyone can prove you wrong and help you discover how open your heart truly is, it's him. He's that guy—your guy. He's your one, just like your mom was mine."
The similarity between her father's and her partner's words struck a cord in Brennan. Just because more than one person thinks something doesn't make the thought true, which she knew. However, having two people, different yet similar in situation, say the same thing to her made her really pause and think.
Before she could answer, Max stood up without any explanation. He placed his open hand on his daughter's shoulder and walked away. When she turned around to ask him where he was going, she saw him and Booth standing together. Booth nodded once and the two men shook hands. When he saw her, he smiled his smile for her and pushed his way through the lunch crowd. He took the recently vacated seat across from her.
He didn't have the chance to start the conversation before she promptly asked what he and her befuddling father had discussed. He could easily tell by her expression that his honesty was particularly important to her at that moment. While he wasn't especially comfortable with the implications of Max's fatherly tone, and even though he really did not want to deal with the verbal punishment, he told her the truth. It wasn't the first time he had received the request from the man, but this time felt different. "He told me to take care of you," he admitted.
She didn't scoff about how she was a grown woman and doesn't need him or her dad taking care of her, or how Max shouldn't have said that to him, as Booth expected. Instead she looked him straight in the eye and they both sensed where this conversation was taking them.
Booth was wary that it was another conversation he would rather not take part of today, until, a beat or two later, she all but whispered, "I made a mistake, Booth."
He couldn't hear what they were saying from his position on the corner across the street from the Diner, but he could tell from her erect body position that she was uncomfortable with the topic of conversation, and took it as a good sign. When the man across from her took her hand in his, he smiled and turned to walk away.
I wish you were here, he thought, looking upward to the heavens as he walked. I hope he makes her as happy as you made me.