Vignette Five:

Author's Note: As will be obvious when you read this and the rest of the story, I have ignored the season eight finale. This was written well before that episode aired, and my story is only cannon up until "The Pathos in the Pathogens."

"Christine is a very bright child."

Mrs. Stonecraft, Christine's first grade teacher, was peering at Booth and Brennan from over top of her glasses as she spoke. It was their first parent/teacher conference of the school year, and though Booth had spoken with Mrs. Stonecraft before, Brennan had not.

"Yes, we are aware of that." Brennan was confused, the teacher's request to meet with them had sounded urgent. "Why are we here Booth?"

"I get the feeling that there's a 'but' coming Bones."

"Yes there is. Christine is often short sighted to the point of being rude to toward the other children."

"I don't understand. Is she teasing them?" Brennan asked.

"No, not quite. It's more just a matter of her manner of speaking. It's as if she's constantly talking down to them Mrs. Booth."

"It's Dr. Brennan. I do not believe the marriage ritual would do anything to add to my love for Christine's father and I do not like the idea of being considered his property. My identity did not change as a result of our relationship."

Booth cut her off before she could go any further with her explanation.

"Christine is a sweet kid. She doesn't mean to insult anyone, but I understand that she can be awkward in her interactions with other children."

"It becomes an issue for me when she makes it clear that she believes she is better than the other students."

"But she is better," Brennan was growing impatient with the conversation.

"She's smarter Dr. Brennan. But that does not equate being better."

"I believe that it does. This is an educational institution, how else would one measure a person's worth in such a situation?"

"This isn't Yale. This is the first grade. We're teaching much more than just reading and mathematics at this age."

"In what ways is Christine not as good as the other children, then? Are you saying that she's a bad kid? That she isn't nice? She is a very loving and affectionate child."

"That is not what I'm saying Dr. Brennan."

"Then what are you saying? I'm still not sure why we were called here."

The teacher nodded. She was beginning to understand little Christine's personality quirks. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to imply that your daughter wasn't a good child. I agree, she has a very big heart."

"Do you mean metaphorically? Because if you have reason to suspect that she has an actual enlarged heart we should make her an appointment to see a cardiologist."

"She wasn't being literal Bones."

"I suspected that. May we go now? I have many more important tasks I could be working on."

Mrs. Stonecraft sighed, "Yes, I just wanted to make the two of you aware of the issue. I don't want to see Christine become ostracized because of the way she interacts with the other children."

They stood and began to walk out of the room but Booth hung back.

"I'll have a talk with Christine about being mindful of other people's feelings. But I won't ask her to change who she is. Because who she is, is a very special little person that I love more than anything in this world, even when she doesn't quite get everything right."

Tired of waiting on him, Brennan walked back into the room, "Should I just leave without you?"

"No, I'll be right behind you."

Mrs. Stonecraft smiled, following him toward the door. "Thank you. And I believe I understand now."

He smiled at the teacher's realization. "Eerie, isn't it?"

"Quite," the teacher agreed.