Welcome to 'Roots and Wings' and thanks for reading! A lot has happened since this first chapter was published way back in 2012. To clear things up a little, there's a chapter chronology in Chapter 75. Also, if you're interested in seeing the fanart, videos, headcanon, or just knowing more about this world and the characters who live here, you can find the wiki by Googling 'razztaztic roots and wings wikia' or contacting me for a link.
I'm glad you're here! :-)
(Alanna1231 told me that she gives a soundtrack to her favorite fanfics. If there's one for this story, it's Trace Adkins And Then They Do.)
The three of them struggled into the small room under the weight of a mountain of baggage.
"Did you pack everything you owned," Booth grumbled as he allowed the crate he held to drop with a thud, "or just the heaviest books you could find?"
Christine wiped sweat from her brow and laughed as she collapsed to the floor. "I think that one's just shoes, Dad."
"Shoes." Bent over, hands on his knees, he looked at his daughter and frowned. "Of course it's shoes," he muttered. "You and your mother and shoes." He shoved aside two suitcases and a backpack and sank down with a huff in the small space he'd managed to clear on the bed. "I've got five pairs of shoes and I do fine."
Christine and Brennan shared a look filled with feminine amusement. "You have more than five pairs of shoes, Booth," Brennan corrected him.
"The point is," he shot back, "I don't have enough shoes to fill a 100 lb box! Don't even say it!" He waved a finger at Brennan when she turned to appraise the weight of the container. "Anyway," he continued, obviously in the mood to be cantankerous, "what are you going to do with all of those shoes?" He waved a hand around the small dorm. "Where are you going to put them?"
Christine just shrugged. "I'll figure something out."
"I still don't know why you couldn't go to Georgetown and live at home, like Zach." Booth crossed his arms over his chest and glared at his baby girl. "Then all these shoes could have stayed in your room, where they belong."
"Zach's living at home because he's 14!" Christine retorted. "Dad!"
"Booth." Brennan laid a quiet hand on his shoulder. When he looked up at her, she saw in his brown eyes the same touch of pain and bittersweet pride that made her own breathing difficult.
"Well, she could stay home, too," he pouted briefly, then swallowed over the lump in his throat and stood up. "Okay, one more trip ought to do it." Because he could and because he could already feel her absence breaking his heart, he put his arm around Christine and pulled her into his side. "I love you, baby," he whispered around the kiss he pressed into her hair.
She bumped him with her shoulder but kept her eyes on her feet. Her parents weren't the only ones feeling the emotional weight of the moment. "I love you, too, Dad."
They stepped out into the crowded hallway and were immediately distracted by the loud, noisy bustle of move-in day. Adults and teens alike clogged the space, laughing and grumbling and cursing as a semester's worth of absolute necessities were transferred from vehicles to rooms. Christine's eager, excited glance searched out every detail and more than once, she noticed a parent or student shrink away from them. It took a moment before she recognized the cause.
"Dad," she hissed, "do you have to have your weapons on you?" She was so used to seeing her father armed that she hadn't paid any attention to the shoulder holsters before that moment.
Booth's narrowed eyes pierced a young man leaning in a doorway who cast an appreciative eye over Christine as they passed. The boy took one look at Booth and quickly ducked back inside his room.
"Yes, I do," he growled.
Christine rolled her eyes and stomped ahead of them. Brennan, wisely, said nothing.
One more trip and the car was empty and Christine's room looked as if a small department store had exploded inside. The bedding was located and fitted and as many clothes as would fit inside the small closet were hung in place until finally, there were no more excuses for her parents to stay. She knew it and they knew it but no one wanted to be the first to acknowledge it out loud.
Booth needed a moment alone to compose himself before saying goodbye and took advantage of a few seconds of silence to grab for it. "I'll just look through the car one more time," he said as he escaped. "Make sure we didn't miss anything."
Brennan and Christine were left alone.
"I have something for you." Her movements somewhat stiff and awkward, Brennan reached for her bag.
"For me?" Surprised, Christine smiled as her mother placed a small, square white box in her hand. "What . . ." She gasped in surprise at the familiar blue and white figure. "Mom - you're giving me Brainy Smurf?"
"Yes." Brennan's jaw was tight with the effort to keep her emotions under control. "Your father . . ." She took a deep breath and began again. "Your father gave that to me once as . . . as a reminder to appreciate who I was instead of wishing to be something or someone else." She blinked rapidly and tried to remain calm. "I want you to have it, for the same reason."
"Mom . . ." Christine's face crumpled as she began to cry.
"I am very proud of you, Christine." Brennan's voice fractured. "You are very bright and I know that you will use your brain and make wise decisions." She swiped at her cheeks when her attempt to hold back tears failed. "But I also hope that . . ." She paused and struggled for the right words. "I hope that you will not be afraid to listen to your heart. It took me too long to learn that lesson and . . . and I don't want . . . I hope it doesn't take you . . . I hope it's easier for you . . ." Brennan shook her head and wept along with her daughter. "I'm sorry, I'm not doing this very well -"
"You're doing just fine." Christine threw herself, sobbing, into Brennan's arms. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too," Brennan whispered. Her hand was shaking as she brushed it over her child's dark hair and wet cheeks. "You are very special to me, Christine. When you were born," the smile she attempted was watery and lopsided, "your father and I weren't just two people anymore. You made us a family." Christine buried her face in her mother's shoulder. "We will always be here for you."
Booth's long arms surrounded their embrace as he rejoined them. "Always, sweetheart," he agreed, with a kiss on the top of his daughter's head. "Home is always waiting for you," he promised thickly. "Your mom and I are just a phone call away, day or night."
Christine released Brennan and clutched at Booth. "Daddy," she sobbed. "I love you."
He held her close. "It's not too late, baby girl," he offered, only half-joking. "I can put everything back in the car - I bet you can still get into Georgetown." He smiled at Brennan with eyes as wet as hers. "Your mother can buy them a building or something."
Christine sniffed and laughed and shook her head. "Dad."
He squeezed her tight. "You'll be fine, honey, I know you will. Promise me, though," he added, pushing her back to arm's length and holding her gaze intently. "Be smart. Be safe."
"I will," she nodded.
A tentative knock on the door had the three of them turning around together. A young blonde-haired girl stood in the entrance, smiling uncertainly.
"I'm sorry," she hesitated. "I don't mean to interrupt . . ." She took a few cautious steps inside. "I'm the RA for this floor . . ." She stuck her hand out first at Booth, then Brennan and Christine. "I'm Temperance Carter. Tempe, I mean," she laughed self-consciously. "You can call me Tempe."
The Booth family exchanged an incredulous glance. "I'm sorry," Booth said. "What did you say?"
The RA chuckled ruefully. "Yea, I get that a lot. My mom named me after her favorite writer. It's unusual, I know, but . . ." She looked over her shoulder toward the open door, then leaned in and lowered her voice. "It could be worse," she whispered. "There's a sophomore on the 4th floor, her name is Renessmee." She pulled a face and shuddered.
"Anyway," she continued, "the RAs are taking the freshmen out for pizza. It helps to stay busy the first night," she explained sympathetically to Christine. "If you want to come with us, you're more than welcome." She glanced briefly at Booth and Brennan. "After your folks leave, I mean."
"We were just about to get on the road," Booth obligingly spoke up over the fist that closed around his heart. "We've got a long drive ahead of us."
Brennan clutched at his hand. "Yes," she nodded, swallowing past the fresh bout of tears that threatened. "Yes, we were just preparing to leave."
"Okay," their visitor cheerfully. "Well, it was nice to meet you and I'll see you -" Her pause was deliberate.
Christine rushed to introduce herself. "Christine. I'm Christine Booth."
"Christine," the girl repeated. "I'll come get you when we're ready to go." She waved goodbye and left the room.
When they were alone again, Christine looked at her parents. "Well, that's just weird."
Booth laughed. "It's fate." He pulled her in for another hug. "Call us, honey, if you need anything. Or if you don't."
"I will, Dad," she nodded. He kissed her and passed her into Brennan's arms.
"I love you, Christine."
"I love you, Mom."
They held each other for several minutes before Brennan forced herself to back away. "Call us," she insisted.
"I will," Christine promised again.
Knowing no one wanted to say goodbye, Booth deliberately tugged Brennan to the door. They looked back one last time at the young woman their little girl had become.
She held up the tiny blue figure. "I love you guys."
"Call us," Booth ordered. He waited for her nod, then Brennan out into the hallway.
They made their way through the dwindling crowd and once inside the car, sat quietly for several minutes. Somehow, driving away seemed so final.
Brennan broke the silence.
"'She'll be alright?" Her eyes were on the simple brick building in front of them.
Booth nodded. "She'll be fine."
"She will call, won't she?"
Booth's head dipped. "Yea." He reached for Brennan's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Not as much as we want her to, though."
A few minutes later, the car backed out of the parking space.
He kept her hand in his, absently stroking her palm with his thumb as they traveled for several miles without speaking. When Brennan released a heavy sigh, he looked over.
"I'm sad," she admitted. "I'm going to miss her. It feels as if time passed by too quickly."
"It has a way of doing that," Booth agreed with a smile. "Weren't we just changing her diaper a few weeks ago?"
"I recognize the exaggeration but . . ." Brennan's eyes filled again. "Yes," she sniffed. "I think we were."
The West Virginia countryside sped by. When Booth glanced over again, his wife's brow was furrowed.
"What?" he asked curiously.
She hesitated. "You're going to think I'm silly."
"Tell me anyway," he insisted gently. When she remained silent, his eyes sharpened. "You . . ." He coughed and shifted in his seat. "You don't want another baby, do you?"
"What?" Shocked, her head swiveled toward him. "No! No, I wasn't . . . do you?" she asked uncertainly.
"No." Booth shook his head immediately. "I mean, Zach is still at home, right?" His gaze traveled between her and the road. "Besides, we're too old for that now."
"Well, I'm still menstruating so . . ." Her words trailed off when Booth looked somewhat panicked. "No," she reassured him again. "I wasn't thinking of having another child."
"Good." Another mile or so passed before he grinned at her. "Although we do make pretty babies."
"We have beautiful children," she agreed, answering his smile with one of her own.
"So what was the silly thought?"
"Oh." She shrugged, somewhat embarrassed. "I'm . . . unhappy sharing my name with a stranger," she mumbled. When he chuckled, she grimaced. "I knew you would laugh. It's irrational to believe I am the only person with my name."
"Well, if it helps," Booth squeezed her hand, "there's only one Bones."
Brennan considered his words for a moment then nodded, satisfied. "That's true."
A group of us had a bit of a trip down memory lane last night. There was wine and country music and photo albums, with more than a few tears and a lot of Kleenex while we all agreed that time needs to slow the fuck down. How is it possible that one moment you're changing diapers and the next day, you're handing over the keys to your car or taking a kid to college? It's just wrong.
Thank you for reading!