I know I haven't been the best example when it comes to multi-chapters lately. But Biba's birthday is coming and she wanted me to write her a fic. She wanted it to be angst and have Christine in it.
So, this is how we got here. This is different from the things I've written before, and it was really hard to find way to make it work, but I hope you'll like it!
I would say Happy Birthday, Biba! But since it's not here yet, I don't want to jinx it!
I have no beta so I apologize for all the mistakes and typos. They are all mine.
"That was fun." Christine smiled widely as they left the rink. "I think I might even be better than Parker."
"Now, I don't know about that, we'll have to check it next time he comes to visit, but you are getting pretty good at this, baby." He sat next to his daughter on the bench and helped her out of her tiny skates. It's been their Sunday routine for a while now, to come to the ice skating rink and skate all afternoon. Christine struggled at it at first, but his little girl wasn't the kind to give up on things easily. She would fall on the ice and ask him to help her up. Now, weeks later, she finally made it through the entire rink without falling or holding his hand. She was very proud of herself, and so was he.
"I'm not a baby, Daddy. Sam is a baby." She frowned as her father put her pink glittered flats on her feet. This was her latest thing: everything had to have glitter on it. "I'm almost five."
"Oh, five? No, no… I don't think so." Booth teased.
"Yes, I am. Remember last year when I had my party and we had a magician and he gave me that Purple Butterfly Barbie he took out of his hat? And Michael was running because I asked him to get Parker's phone 'cause he gets mad when we get his phone and it's funny and Parker was running after him and Michael stumbled on Uncle Sweets, who was getting my tiara that fell from my head from under the table and fell and lost his tooth?" She jumped out of the bench and took her father's hand.
Booth put the skaters back on his backpack and stood up too.
"Yeah, I remember." How could anyone forget that?
"That was my fourth birthday, and 5 comes after 4 and you told me that my birthday is coming."
"Well, I guess that's true then. But… you'll always be my baby. No matter how old you are, Cricket." Booth lifted her up on his arms and kissed her on the cheek, getting a soft giggle as a reward. His little girl was indeed getting big. Sometimes it felt like it was just yesterday when she was no longer than his forearm.
"Can we get some ice cream now?" She smiled. She wasn't allowed to get sugar during the week, but weekends were a different story.
"When is Parker coming to visit again?" Christine licked her scoop of Vanilla ice cream, her neat pigtails bouncing around her head. After four years, Booth had become a pro hairstylist.
"I don't know, baby. Now he's back at school, so he probably won't come back until Christmas."
"When is Christmas?" She asked curiously.
"Three months from today."
"I love Christmas." Christine grinned.
"I love Christmas too." He agreed.
"And Mommy loves it too."
The mention of her mother made his stomach fall. It'd been six months already, but time didn't make him feel any better. Especially when Christine made comments like that and reminded him of how things used to be. She was right when she said her mother loved Christmas. Despite Brennan's lack of religion, they celebrated Christmas every year after they got together. They'd go out to buy the perfect tree and then they would go home to decorate it together. When Christine was a baby, she'd be on her seat and watch the lights and her parents as they set it up, once she got older, she'd happily help them putting the ornaments in the tree and bossing Booth around with the lights. They'd have Christmas carols playing in the background and they'd dance until Christine was so tired she'd fall asleep on the couch. And then it was time for him and Brennan to have their own little time of fun.
He wondered how things could have come down so fast after that. How he could let things end up the way they did.
It's been nine months since it started to get bad, six since he left home. Six months since he talked to her about anything other than their daughter.
"Is it, Daddy?" Christine was asking him something and he realized he'd zoned out for a moment.
"I'm sorry, what did you ask, baby?"
"England, is England very, very far?"
"Yes, very far. We have to get a plane to go there."
"Or a boat, right? Mommy showed me a map and said there's an ocean between America and England."
"Dr. Kyle asked Mommy and me to go on his boat." His blood froze in his veins when he heard that name. So Dr. Kyle was still at the Jeffersonian, and, as it seemed, still very interested in Brennan. "But I don't like going on boats, they make my tummy hurt."
Christine frowned and she looked so much like her mother that his heart skipped a beat. They had the same blue eyes, and when she frowned, her forehead creased exactly the way Brennan's did when she was confused or just not happy about something.
"You and Mommy went on Dr. Kyle's boat?" He couldn't help asking.
She nodded, her mouth too occupied with her ice cream to answer.
"I had to put on a lifesaver jacket. I didn't want to 'cause I know how to swim but Mommy said I had to anyway." She shrugged.
Booth wondered why Brennan didn't tell him that. Of course, given the circumstances of their break up, it was no wonder she decided not to mention Dr. Kyle. He didn't give a damn if she wanted to go out with the dandy, but there was no way he'd allow her to take his daughter along with them.
"Michael had to get one, too, and he also knows how to swim."
"Michael was there, too?" Now that was surprising.
"Yes, and Aunt Angela and Uncle Hodgins and Sam, he also had to wear a lifesaver jacket but he should too 'cause he doesn't know how to swim, and Aunt Cam and Wendell and Clarissa and Clark and…"
"So, the whole Jeffersonian?"
"Not the whole, Daddy, they wouldn't all fit in the boat!" Christine giggled at his silliness.
She looked so adorable, giggling like that, with ice cream on the tip of her nose and her bright blue eyes shinning that he couldn't help but smile.
"But was it fun, going on the boat?" He asked.
"Dr. Kyle let me drive the big wheel and it was fun, but then my tummy hurt and Mommy gave me a medicine and it was disgusting." She made a face.
"Was it?" He chuckled.
"Yep. Mommy said it tasted like cherries but I like cherries, Daddy, and it tasted nothing like cherries."
"So, no more boats."
"Dr. Kyle told Mommy we could come back to the boat anytime we wanted." Christine said. "He said next time he could take us to a place where we could get in the water and see the fish!"
Of course he did. What was it with Brennan and guys with boats?
"Do you want to go on the boat again?"
"I don't know. I don't want to take that icky medicine again." She shook her head. "But I'd like to see the fish."
"Well, we could go to the aquarium, and then you could see the fish and you wouldn't feel sick." He offered. "What about that?"
"I like the aquarium." She grinned. "Mommy could come too?"
She asked him so hopeful it broke his heart. He doubted Brennan would want to come with them. The aquarium, just like the Sunday ice cream at the diner, was part of their weekend routine. During the first weeks of the separation, Christine would ask him why Mommy wasn't coming to his games anymore, or why she wasn't going to the diner with them, but she stopped once she noticed it only made her father sad.
Christine would sleep most of nights with her mother, he didn't want to change her life even more bouncing her from his new tiny apartment to the house, but he saw her almost everyday. He'd pick up her from pre-school and drop her off at home or at the Jeffersonian. He could call and talk to her anytime he wanted. When she got back after running away with Christine when she was still a baby, Brennan promised him she'd never take their daughter away from him again and she kept that promise.
But it wasn't the same. He missed waking up with a tiny hand poking his shoulder or squeezing his face. He missed the smell of pancakes and fresh coffee early in the morning. He missed reading his daughter bedtime stories before she went to sleep.
And he missed her.
It wasn't like he'd only lost his girlfriend or the mother of his child. He lost his partner. She was his partner in every meaning of that word: she was his confident and his lover and his best friend. He missed that more than anything.
"I don't think she'll want to come, Cricket." He tried to smile, but the effort wasn't enough.
"But Mommy loves the aquarium, we love the dolphins." Christine said hopeful.
It was killing him. He looked at the watch and saw it was almost eight already.
"Oh, look at the time, I have to take you home, baby." Booth decided it was better to cut that conversation there before it went to places he didn't want it to.
Booth paid the diner bill and took a frowning Christine to the car.
His usually very talkative daughter was quiet in the ride back home. She wrapped her tiny arms around his neck and held him tightly as he took her out of the car and walked her home.
"I don't like that you leave and don't sleep here anymore, Daddy." She sniffed against his neck.
He held her a little tighter. He hated this moment even more than she did. He hated that he couldn't call the Might Hut his home anymore. The house he helped building with his own hands and the house that gave him so many good memories. The house of his family.
It was like fate was laughing at him. A little over a year ago, he was certain he couldn't be happier. Parker was spending the summer with them, Christine was healthy and happy and Brennan made him feel blessed everyday. His life was filled with laughter and love and happiness.
But now it was gone. Parker was back in England, he didn't talk to Brennan anymore and Christine was the only thing making him get up every morning and look forward for a new day. He didn't know how he'd go through all of it without his daughter brightening up his days.
And it was especially because of that that he was surprised to hear about the boat trip just now. Because he saw his daughter every day and until this afternoon, he hadn't heard about it. They must have gone sailing the Saturday before, when he had to go on that work assignment with the FBI. But still, it was surprising that Christine hadn't mentioned it until today.
As he rang the bell – look how low it had ended; he had to ring the bell of his own house. He had the key, of course, but he didn't want to startle Brennan one of these days while bringing Christine in – he decided maybe it was time to have a little talk with Brennan. She might want to go and sail with her doctor, but there was no way she'd take their daughter with them behind his back.
So, what do you think?
Want to see how Brennan is dealing with this?