It took everything in him not to laugh while he watched her work. She was kneeling over the bones in front of her, picking up each one and scanning them with her eyes, before running her index finger carefully over each.
The gloves she was wearing were too big for her hands, but that didn't slow her down. It was when she moved on to the next bone, squinted her eyes and titled her head with a prolonged sigh that he couldn't resist pulling out his phone and turning on his video recorder. Brennan never believed him when he told her she got like this.
She ran her finger over something she spotted on the bone and frowned, studying it for several seconds, before picking up something Booth couldn't quite make out from where he was standing.
"The injury to the tibia resembles teeth marks," she said, shaking her head, and speaking into what Booth assumed was supposed to be some sort of recorder. "Matching canine and incisor marks on two sides of the bone indicate it was bitten," she continued. "Sadly, the bite appears canine in nature."
She sat back on her knees and pulled her gloves off carefully, never looking up as she spoke.
"It's weird when you watch me like that, Daddy."
Booth chuckled while saving his recording and walking into his daughter's room. Christine put the 'recorder' down, which Booth now recognized as her pink Hello Kitty karaoke mic she had gotten at her sixth birthday party the week before, and looked up at him.
"So, what's the prognosis, Doctor Booth?" he asked, while sitting down in one of the little chairs at her drawing table in her bedroom.
"I'm not a doctor, Daddy. You know that," Christine said with an eyeroll.
"Sorry, princess. You just reminded me of another doctor who lives in this house. Sometimes, it's hard to tell you two apart."
"Mommy's much taller than me," Christine stated bluntly. But before Booth had a chance to respond, she added, "And she would never let anyone compromise her bones."
Christine looked so, so sad as she said it that Booth wanted nothing more than to scoop her up and tell her everything would be okay, even if he didn't quite understand the problem. But that never worked when he tried it with the adult-sized Bones, so he held back.
"How were the bones compromised?" he asked, looking over the two and a half foot anatomy skeleton on the floor that Brennan had gotten her for her birthday. Despite his reluctance to the idea of his daughter being exposed to remains or anything resembling the work they did, Christine had always been fascinated by her mother's work. Most days, he was simply thankful that his daughter didn't want to carry a gun like her Dad. Or especially like her Mom, for that matter.
Christine's face crumpled and she looked up to her Dad from the skeleton. "I found Gretzky gnawing on the left tibia."
On cue, the brown and black-haired German Shepherd whimpered from the corner he was sitting in, obviously well-aware of how he had displeased his favorite little girl.
Booth tightened all the muscles in his face to keep from laughing at the oh-so-serious tone in the room, both human and canine. He schooled his face before his daughter could see, adopting her very serious tone.
"I see. And how did Gretzky get a hold of the tibia?" Booth asked, watching the flash of guilt cross her face.
"I… I forgot to put them away before I left for school this morning," she said, her tone a harsher reprimand on herself than he could ever dole out to his little girl.
But she was taking this seriously and he figured he should go with it.
"And what's the rule about putting your toys away?"
"I can't play with something I can't take care of… but Daddy, I honestly didn't mean to forget," she exclaimed immediately and defensively, her hands coming out to cover the bones in front of her, as if he was planning to take them away. "I just got so caught up in my exam that I forgot it was time to leave, and I didn't wanna make Mommy late…"
Booth wasn't sure what to do or say next. He certainly wasn't upset with her and he really wasn't bothered by the toys being left out, since his daughter was the kid who kept her room neater than her mother's lab most of the time. But her reaction was far from normal and he couldn't quite figure out why this was bothering her so much.
"So…" he said, clapping his hands and looking down to see her. "Gretzky chewed on a bone. He's chews on everything, Christine, you know that. He's even chewed on other toys of yours before. And I believe you're sorry for leaving them out…"
"I really am," she said, nodding vigorously.
"So, why are you so upset?"
"I'm… Mommy's gonna see right away that I left the bones alone. And the scene has been compromised. Mommy would never let that happen."
Booth couldn't fight off the laughter any longer, losing a little bit of his composure in the form of a squeak, which earned him a glare from his daughter. But he couldn't help but be amused by the whole situation. She was as nervous as any squintern he had ever met, wanting her mother's approval of the bones she cared for.
"It's not funny, Daddy," she exclaimed.
"Aww… don't be upset, Christine. I swear, sometimes even your Mom can't prevent things from happening to her bones."
Christine simply looked at him like that was the dumbest thing he had ever said. But he didn't have time to say anything else, as they heard the front door open and Brennan announce she was home.
His daughter's eyes widened and she bit her bottom lip nervously, while her Dad called out their location.
Booth reached out and tugged on Christine's ponytail with a smile, and she graced him with a small smile in return, before she took a deep breath and put her adult-sized gloves back on in preparation for her mother.
"Hey, baby," Booth said, rising to his feet to kiss Brennan's cheek once she had walked into the room. "Christine has something to show you, while Gretzky and me go for a run. Come on, Gretzky!" Booth called, and the dog perked up for the first time since he had entered the room. He trotted carefully around the bones, and Booth could easily imagine the stern talking-to the pup had gotten from his daughter when she had found him with her tibia.
Booth walked toward the stairs, Gretzky barreling down in front of him, but paused to hear the fallout, as his daughter explained what happened. Nothing could have made him smile more than Brennan's simple response when Christine was done with her story.
"Can you tell which teeth made these marks?" Brennan asked excitedly.
"I can, Mommy. I did!" And then he heard Christine play her Hello Kitty mic recording and Brennan's commendation of her daughter's insights, before he took off down the stairs.
"You might be the only normal one in this house, Gretzky," he chuckled to the pup, as they made their way outside. "You're a dog. You chewed on a bone. Most normal one in the bunch..."
Inspiration for this comes from a friend on Facebook, whose three-year-old just got her own two and a half foot skeleton from her grandfather, an anatomy professor. And there's video of her naming many of the bones. If a three-year-old who's not Temperance Brennan's daughter knows all the bones in the human body, certainly a six-year-old who is Temperance Brennan's daughter could analyze the marks on a bone. Right? :)
Thanks to Jmhaughey for the read-through. ;)
And as the title might indicate to some... there might be more to come.