A/N Well, here it is, my first ever Secret Santa piece. I was so excited when I got the person (Givesup) and the prompts because this person was really the first person I ever talked to on this site and was the first person to read my piece Need. In fact, if it wasn't for her I never would have posted it. So writing something especially for her has been particularly fun and exciting. But, kind of hard because I talk to her A LOT and keeping a secret from her was difficult.
The prompt I picked for Givesup was a sweet conversation between Booth and a much older Christine, possibly teenage, possibly consoling or giving advice. Brennan can be mentioned but not present.
Merry Christmas Givesup! Thank you for all your friendship and encouragement!
He made his way out to their garage gym, snow crunching under his feet, jaw clenching, visibly popping. He wasn't sure he was going to survive without physically hurting someone. Opening the door, he peeked in. There she was pounding the heavy bag, fists flying, pony tail swinging, curls glued by sweat to her forehead and neck, her mixed martial arts training shining through in the precision of her strikes.
He folded his arms over his chest and leaned back against the wall. He couldn't help the sense of pride that he felt watching her. Beautiful, strong, smart as a whip, and clearly dangerous, she had it all. How could anyone do anything to intentionally hurt her? Boys are stupid.
He moved up to the bag and held it for her like he had so many times over the years. He relaxed a little, watching her. He couldn't help but be taken aback. She was tiny the first time she came out here with him. Maybe three or four, just to play then. Little blond curls, punching that huge bag had grown into beautiful chestnut curls like her mom's. Now sixteen, Christine had only recently jumped into the world of boys and dating. It was a harsh world. He had been her first real boyfriend and, according to Bones, her first real breakup.
He cleared his throat. "Mom said you might need to talk."
Her eyebrow flew up in a look of teenage exasperation. "Did she?" She huffed out, pounding the bag even harder now that her dad was steadying it for her. Visibly holding back the tears, she never liked to show her weakness, like another strong and beautiful woman he knew.
"Yeah, she did." His tender dad voice echoed in the open garage. "She said she might have made things worse." He couldn't help but chuckle a little. Soothing a broken heart with logic and reason didn't work for Christine. While she had her mother's intelligence, she definitely had her father's heart. She was open and loving, gave it all, and didn't hold anything back. Harder and faster she punched. He could see she was about to break. He waited her out.
Her body jerked to a stop. "Well, yeah, essentially she said Brody was beneath me." Her indignation was clear in her tone. "She wouldn't stop, Dad. Somehow I ended up winning a Nobel Prize and he ended up in prison." Booth tried not to chuckle, it was no secret that Bones had always thought of Christine as leaps and bounds above her peers. "Apparently, Brody ends up embezzling funds from his job as a manager at McDonalds." There it was: the teenage eye roll. She'd perfected it. Those beautiful piercing eyes stole her daddy's heart the moment she first opened them. He would forever be the first thing she saw in this world.
Their conversation lulled. Their eyes caught. They both busted up laughing. Mom. Shaking his head, Booth moved from behind the bag and took his daughter into his big strong arms. Her laughter turned quickly to tears, then sobs. He let her cry until she was done and started to pull away.
Booth motioned towards a couple of camp chairs they'd set up in their makeshift gym a long time ago and they sat down. She wiped her face and took a deep breath. Booth waited. He'd learned a long time ago that his women were not to be pushed. Leaning forward, elbows on his knees, he lifted his head, and took a breath. Boys were a hard subject for him. He found himself more and more on his wife's side, believing that no one was really good enough for Christine. Finally, he broke the silence. "You wanna tell me what happened?"
Christine stared back at her dad, then sat straight up, squared her shoulders, and leveled a demand. "You have to promise me you won't hurt him."
Booth cringed, that was an awfully big promise, especially since he didn't know what the boy had done yet. "You haven't even told me what happened, Chrissie." She pulled her shoulders back a little more and pursed her lips tight, making her position clear. "Okay, okay, I get it. I promise I won't hurt him," he said, "but if he's done something illegal I will arrest his ass."She stared her dad down and then stuck out her pinky for a binding commitment. God, he loved this girl: so grown up and so young all at the same time. He complied, entering into a pinky swear with his daughter.
"Brody and I aren't together anymore." She spit it out fast and clear, trying desperately not to look emotionally affected by the breakup. Her proud shoulders sunk, though, and her head dropped. "It's just hard," she said, her voice quivering as she fought to not breakdown and cry again.
Booth scooted his chair closer to hers, placed his hand on her shoulder and rubbed gently. "Breaking up—was that your idea or his?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. It just..." She hesitated. "It had to be that way."
His eyebrows shot up. "Had to be that way? That sounds kind of serious, Chrissie. What happened?" Having a FBI agent for a dad had its disadvantages. This was one of them. He caught everything, she couldn't get anything by him no matter how carefully she worded it, and he never stopped asking questions.
She wasn't ready to give it up quite yet, still hedging she continued. "We just didn't agree on some very important things, really that's all, Dad."
He shot back another question. "What kind of things?" He had his suspicions. For one thing, he was a teenage boy once. He knew what they thought about: food and sex, mostly sex. Watching her carefully, he couldn't help but see how uncomfortable she was getting. She squirmed in her chair, her gaze lowered to the garage floor while she played with some strands of hair no longer bound by her ponytail. Then he answered his own question hoping to keep her from completely shutting down. "Sex? Right? I know, remember I told you when you started dating that boys only have one thing on their mind. Boys your age are pretty much stuck on one track." Suddenly he felt rage swelling up from his gut. How far had this guy pushed her? His mind raced, multiple scenarios ran quickly through his mind.
Christine could see instantly where her father's mind had gone. "Dad! I didn't! We didn't! He never got that far!" She'd popped out of her seat and was pacing in front of her father, her heart racing. "Not that he didn't want that, that is definitely what he wanted." She was frustrated and confused. "I just don't know if I made the right decision."
She was so torn, she really didn't want to talk to her dad about this but her mom was, well, her mom was all about hormones and symmetry and biological urges. She had taught her probably more than any teenage girl wants or needs to know about STDs and birth control. She had told her how long she waited and why, all of which made for a very uncomfortable conversation. While she'd certainly made it clear that she was available to talk about it when that time came Christine wasn't sure she really understood what she was going through. This was a heart thing, not a science thing, or maybe it was both and maybe that's why it was so confusing.
Her dad interrupted her thought. "If you were unsure at all then not doing it was the right decision, Christine. Making love to someone isn't a casual thing, it should never be a casual thing. Making love changes things, changes you, and the kind of relationship you have with the person you make love to, at least it should. You're still young, you have all the time in the world for that kind of relationship, don't rush it." God, he wanted her to wait, wait until she was thirty or forty or maybe never, never sounded good right now. Maybe, she could become a nun.
"Like you and Mom? I'm not sure I want to wait that long." He knew she was just deflecting and wasn't about to let her wiggle out of the other details of what was going on.
He looked her straight in the eye. "You know there were other circumstances that kept your mom and me from getting together sooner. To be honest, any sooner and we wouldn't have been ready. We probably wouldn't have lasted. We had our own things to work through and we did." He didn't let her even get a word in edgewise taking the subject right back to her. "I think you'll know when it's the right person and the right time for you." She looked at him, so young, confused, and trying to be so grown up. He put his hand on his chest over his heart, "when this," then lifted his hand and tapped on his head "and this line up and are on the same page then you can start considering it but until then, just say no." He waited for her acknowledgment then continued. "So, he pressured you and you said no?" He gave her that dad look that said it's time to fess up.
"And you're not sure you made the right decision?"
"No, I'm sure." That's when she broke. "It's just that he seemed so perfect. He's smart, maybe not as smart as me, but, you know, and he's so . . ." She really didn't want to tell her dad that she thought Brody was hot but he was. "I thought I was in love with him, Dad. But, when I told him no and then I wouldn't give in he didn't want anything to do with me." She caught the anger in her father's eye. He was always her protector. "Dad, you promised, you promised you wouldn't hurt him," she reminded him. He nodded a tense acknowledgment. "Then we broke up. I wasn't going to give in just to keep him, no matter what he thought, and, what, like it's been two days, and he's making out with Tiffany Sullivan by my locker." She stopped pacing and looked her Dad square in the eye. All the fury and toughness fell from her expression replaced by what looked like embarrassment. Tears welled up in her eyes. "I had to ask them to move so I could get in for my books." They streamed down her face as she tried so hard to regain control. Booth grabbed her by the hand and pulled her onto his lap. She protested between sobs, "Dad, I'm too big to sit on your lap."
"No, you're not." He gave her a kiss on the forehead. "You're just the right size."
She snuggled into her father's shoulder. "Why do boys have to be so . . ."
"Mean." She paused just long enough for a shuddered breath. "And stupid," she added softly.
"I'm sorry, baby. I apologize for all boys everywhere."
They sat in silence for a few minutes then he continued. "I know you don't want to hear it right now but eventually you'll get over Brody and there will be another one. In fact, I promise there will be many more before you find the right one. It hurts, I know, I remember, but it's all part of the process. All that experience, good and bad, will help you know what you really want in a guy."
"Like you knew when you found Mom?" There was a tenderness to her voice.
"Yeah, like I knew when I found Mom."
She sat up, looking eye to eye with her dad, wiped her tears, kissed him on the cheek, and slid off his lap. "Thanks, Daddy, you did way better than Mom."
"Chrissie, she means well, you know that, right? In fact, I'm fairly sure she said pretty much the same thing just more squinty than me." He winked at her. Christine winked back.
"I know." She smiled at her dad through the last of her tears. "I'm going to just . . ." She pointed to the heavy bag. "Just for a few more minutes, okay?"
He nodded and headed out of the garage back to the main house. Girls were definitely harder than boys, he thought as he hurried his way across the driveway, freezing in the crisp winter air.
I promised I wouldn't hurt him, he thought, but what about just scaring him a little bit. I could do that without breaking my promise, right?