A/N: Happy Birthday to my dear Some1TookMyName! Known to all as #TwitterMom, she is a constant giver of cupcakes, love, guilt and withering stares. On top of all of that, she's a kick ass writer who makes my day every time she updates, even if they usually arrive while I'm at work and I just have to stare at my inbox longingly for hours on end... *shakes thought away* Anyway, if you haven't read her stories, you're crazy. Go do it. Right now. I'll wait…
Back? You're impressed now, aren't you? Exactly. Go send her a Happy Birthday PM.
The Birthday Girl's A/N: As the Queen of B&B family scenes, I thought I would dedicate a family story to you. This brought me no end of anxiety because you're the master in that department, and no, there is no Glitter or Beyonces, but I hope that you like it anyway. Much love and Happy Birthday!
Brennan brushed the hair off of her daughter's face as she watched her sleep. Booth and Parker had spent the day playing with her in the backyard's freshly fallen snow. Brennan had a manuscript to finish and had been extremely grateful for the momentary quiet. The result of their day long effort was currently standing proudly in the center of the backyard: a giant snow fort complete with a tunnel. She was unsure of why the tunnel was important but the way that the three kept stressing its significance made her value its importance. Looking at it now she had to admit, it was impressive in execution. However, the petite four year old now sleeping in her lap had attempted to keep up with the men until she was exhausted. Eventually, even Booth's attempt to bribe her with hot chocolate wasn't able to stave off the tired tears. When Hadley had finally hit the wall, she had tearfully run into her mother's office looking for sympathy. Brennan had been surprised by the small child's tears and when she inquired about them, Hadley pointedly told her that the tears were all their fault. With a sigh, Brennan had pulled her onto the nearest couch, laid her head in her lap and brushed her hair affectionately until she fell asleep. It was something she remembered her own mother doing and she found it was just as calming for her as it was for Hadley.
Brennan took advantage of the rare opportunity to examine the small child lying on her thigh. Her brown curls were thrown back across the rest of Brennan's lap and her rosy cheeks shone brightly in contrast against her pale skin. She had guessed many years ago that she and Booth would make attractive children and she hadn't been wrong. Hadley had the Booth smile, the curly hair, and the restless energy but everything else seemingly came from her. Of course, Booth loved that she took after her, but Brennan was constantly worried by the comparison. She knew that there were many characteristics within her personality that made her life more difficult: her stubbornness, her affinity for logic, her need to shut people out when things got hard and from time to time she could see these traits in her daughter.
At the sound of footsteps coming up from the basement, she turned her attention to see which Booth made his appearance. She smiled at the sight of her partner.
"Hey." He whispered, not wanting to disturb the scene. "How's our girl doing?"
"She's asleep." Brennan smiled. "How's the football game?"
"Pretty good. We ran out of snacks." He said as he went rummaging for more food. Brennan fought the urge to roll her eyes. Of course they did. Parker was 15 and ravenous 90% of the time but Booth had the original iron stomach. She was still impressed by the amount a grown man could manage to eat and still keep his incredibly desirable body. She watched as Booth finally settled on popcorn and while he waited for it to pop, he wandered over and peeked over her shoulder to check on his sleeping daughter.
"She really was worn out, huh?" He observed.
"Yes. She fell asleep almost immediately." She smiled as she felt Booth kiss the top of her head.
"When the game's over, I'm taking Parker back to Rebecca's but then you and I are actually going to spend some one on one time together before this weekend ends."
"We've been missing each other the past couple of days, haven't we?" Brennan acknowledged. Between her work and his spending time with Parker, they hadn't really talked lately. Taking care of a precocious four year old did nothing to help their timing.
"You've been stuck here a while. Do you want me to carry her off to bed?" He asked as he walked around to the front of the couch.
"No, I am quite comfortable right here." She said.
"I'll bet you are." He said, slightly envious of his partner. The truth was that Hadley was a Daddy's girl. It was no secret that she had his heart strings wrapped around her little finger. But, just like her mother, when she became angry or upset with him, the wall came slamming down and he might as well be dead to her. He was often amazed at how well the women in the house could ignore him when they wanted to. Even still, the sight of her this afternoon, running into her mother's arms, sad tears streaming down her little face because he had hit her with a snowball, well, it cracked his outer tough guy shell in two. Especially when the exact words she had chosen to sob to her mother had been: 'Daddy hit me!'
Of all the phrases for her to have chosen, it was the one that did the most damage. While accurate, it still twisted like a knife in his chest, even now. Brennan must have been able to read his thoughts because she was staring at him like she knew all too well what he was thinking.
"Booth, she's four years old. She didn't know what she was saying." She assured him.
"I know." Booth sighed, not wanting her to worry about him.
"I don't want you to dwell on it." She said.
"I'm not. I promise." He smiled, but he felt Brennan's analytical stare anyway. "Bones, it's fine."
"I saw your face when it happened. You weren't fine."
"I was just surprised, that's all. It was a phrase I never expected her to have to say." He said honestly. "I know what it's like to…"
"Booth. Stop." Brennan said sternly, losing her patience. Hadley stirred in her lap and she lowered her voice again. "You know that you are not, in any way, like your father." Brennan said quietly. "And I refuse to let you warp a meaningless phrase into something that will only make you feel senselessly guilty." Before Booth could answer, the microwave began to beep and he walked over to retrieve his snack, hoping that the break would stop the conversation. But as he gingerly pulled the hot and buttery bag out the microwave, he heard Brennan murmuring something. He divided the contents of his bag into two bowls and was about to turn around when he heard the familiar sounds of small feet on the kitchen floor. He plastered a fake smile on his face before turning around, knowing exactly who was behind him. Sure enough, he was confronted by a sleepy looking Hadley, rubbing her right eye with her fist.
"Daddy, why are you making popcorn for breakfast?" She asked. The question made Booth's fake smile evolve into a wide grin as he set the bowls back down on the counter.
"Come here." He said as he knelt down. She wandered into his arms and he lifted her to look out the kitchen window. "Look, it's still night time. You just took a nap." Her wide eyes made him smile as she turned to look over his shoulder for confirmation. Brennan just nodded. Hadley let this information sink in as Booth watched the wheels turning in her brain. Her brows furrowed and for a moment, she looked just like her mother. And just like with Brennan, Booth fought the urge to ask her what she was thinking; he didn't want to disrupt her process.
"Well…can I still have the popcorn?" She asked. Booth laughed, knowing that she must be hungry since she slept through dinner.
"And you think she takes after me?" Brennan muttered to herself as she entered the kitchen. Booth shot her a smile, letting her know he had heard her statement and he set Hadley back down on the counter.
"Here. You can have Parker's bowl." He said as he handed her the smaller bowl.
"Hey!" Parker said as he appeared at the top of the steps. "Why are you giving away my popcorn?" Parker looked at his father for an explanation.
"She's my favorite." He said seriously. Parker turned to Hadley with wide eyes, who simply nodded her confirmation. Parker just laughed and ruffled her hair. "Go get your stuff, your mom is waiting." Booth said as he sent Parker to get packed. "And you," he said as he stared his daughter down, a hand on each side of her so she didn't fall off the counter. "I'm sorry I threw a snowball at you. Are you still upset?" He asked.
"No." She stated, munching happily on her prize.
"Good." He said as he kissed her forehead. Parker reappeared, bags in tow. "Ready?" He asked. Parker nodded.
"Bye Parker." Hadley waved from her spot on the counter.
"Bye Had. Enjoy the snow fort." He said with a wave.
"Kay." She replied indifferently.
"I'll be back soon. Save some of that for me." Booth requested as he pointed to Brennan's freshly poured glass of wine. Brennan nodded and let him kiss her cheek as he passed.
"Mommy, I'm thirsty. Can I have some of your grape juice?" Hadley asked as she motioned towards Brennan's glass.
"No." Booth called out sternly, despite the fact that he was already halfway out the door. Brennan rolled her eyes. As if there was any chance of her actually saying yes.
"This isn't grape juice, it's wine. And it's for adults only. Would you like some juice?" She asked as she reached into the fridge.
"Yes, please." Brennan corrected her precocious daughter with a sigh.
Brennan couldn't help but smile as Booth came crawling back into bed.
"No more naps after 3 PM." He decreed with a sigh. "Or I'm installing a lock on the outside of her door." Brennan saved her manuscript and closed her laptop lid. "I love how much she takes after you, I really do, but did you have to give her the lack of sleep gene?" She opened her mouth to tell him that there wasn't such a gene, but he just raised his hand. "I know, I know. Just...let me have this one. Please?" He added, unable to hear any squint talk right now.
"Come here." She beckoned him to sit in front of her. He had been so deprived of her lately, he didn't even question it. "I know you miss Parker." His head swiveled to look behind him, surprised by her observation. "You're always disagreeable after he leaves." She kissed the back of his neck and began massaging his shoulders. "And you're worn out after your long day of playing with the kids."
"Yeah," he said "I suppose." She was cataloging his symptoms and he couldn't argue with any of them.
"You're a good dad, Booth. Every child should be so lucky." She reminded him as she rubbed his neck. Booth smiled as the tension slipped from him like magic.
"Do you want to know the real reason I've been crabby?" Booth asked, his eyes closed as she worked out a knot in his shoulder.
"I haven't gotten to spend any time with you this past week." He said honestly. "I need my Bones fix."
"You're sexually frustrated." She smiled.
"No, well, I mean, yeah." It had been a while. "But that's not what I meant. I just haven't gotten to talk with you. You've been busy with this manuscript and Parker being here for winter break and Hadley being well, Hadley." He smiled. "I need you, Bones. You make things better." She paused her massage as he turned around to face her.
"That's very sweet."
"It's true." He said as he stared at her.
"Booth?" She asked quietly.
"What are we doing for New Year's Eve?" She asked.
"You tell me." He said, wondering what she had in mind.
"Let's go away for the weekend. We'll get a nice room at a hotel, put the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door and not leave for the entire weekend. My treat." She added.
"God, that sounds nice." He said, picturing the scene in his mind. "But where are we going to find a babysitter on such late notice?" He asked.
"I've already talked to Russ and Amy. They said they would be willing to stay a few extra days."
"You've been planning this." The accusation was accompanied by a look of surprise.
"Maybe." She said coyly.
"You've been planning on holding me hostage in a hotel room all weekend long for nothing but sex and room service." He repeated, the notion of her sneaking around to plan it bringing him immense joy.
"Well, I've been busy with my book and I know that I've been neglecting you. Plus, I may have missed you too." She replied. Booth smiled broadly, it was about as vulnerable as she would admit to being and he adored her for it.
"I can fix that you know." He said as he reeled her in towards him.
"You can?" She asked, playing dumb.
"Oh yeah." He whispered, their lips just barely apart. She grinned before closing the distance. Booth closed his eyes and kissed her with every intention of going straight on until morning when Brennan suddenly broke away.
"Did you hear that?" She asked, as she listened for the sound again. Booth looked at her for a second before he heard the same tiny footsteps heading down the hall steps towards the living room. He let out a groan and looked at her, as if he couldn't believe their luck. She kissed him briefly in apology before slipping out of bed.
"Hold that thought." She told him.
"Trust me, I've been holding it for days." He told her dramatically. She flashed him a wicked grin before heading out the door. "You know, there's a spare set of handcuffs in the glove compartment of the SUV, just in case you need them." He called out after her. She popped her head back through the doorway.
"I'll be sure to bring them back with me." She smiled before disappearing again. Booth groaned and fell backwards onto his pillow.
"So not what I meant." He muttered to his ceiling.