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24 June 2008 @ 11:30 pm
A Place in the Sun (3/?)  
Title: A Place in the Sun
Author: </a></b></a>michellemtsu
Pairing: Booth/Brennan
Rating: PG-13, for now
Spoilers: Everything through Pain in the Heart
Summary: How does Brennan handle her first Father's Day with Max? And how does Booth figure in?
Author's note: This chapter took a tad long than I thought. Hopefully, no one is too OOC or sappy. Sappy drives me bananas.
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. I just borrow them.

Chapter Three

Brennan simply couldn’t wipe the grin off her face. Her family had only been in the park about twenty minutes and already she was having more fun than she’d had in years. This wasn’t the kind of fun that came from “playing with her bones,” as Booth would call it, but the kind that came from being with your loved ones, from watching them laugh and play.

“It’s good to see you smile like that, Temperance,” Max said in her ear.

Russ overheard him. “Yeah, who knew that walking candy could make her happy?”

Brennan scowled at her brother. Walking candy indeed. Almost as soon as the Brennan clan got through the entrance gate, the children ran for the life size candy bar characters that wandered the pavilion. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s Chocolate Bars, Twizzlers and Hershey’s Kisses were all represented. Parker and Hailey were wrestling with the Hershey Bar while Booth and Emma chased the Reese’s Cups around the pavilion. Brennan smiled at how happy and carefree Booth looked. He’d once told her about the soldiers’ need to reconnect with a sense of innocence after traumatic events. Was that what he was doing now, she wondered.

Brennan’s musings were cut short by Russ. “Come on, girls. We’ve got a whole lot more to see.”

Parker and Hailey disentangled themselves and made their way back to the adults. Emma and Booth were right behind them, grinning broadly as they caught their breath.

“Have a nice run, Booth?” Brennan asked.

“Sure did, Bones. You should try it sometime.”

“I run quite frequently, Booth. It’s an excellent way to relieve stress.”

Russ rolled his eyes. “Somehow I don’t think that’s what Booth meant, Tempe.”

Amy stepped in before another argument broke out. “Everybody ready?”

Everyone nodded. The group made their way out of the pavilion and into the main park. The breeze rustled the nearby leaves gently as they passed. The sun shone brightly; it was going to be warm day. The path widened into what appeared to be the first area of rides. Brennan had just begun to take in the sights and smells when Hailey squealed.

“Carousel!”

She and her sister bolted. Parker hesitated for a second then tore after them. Russ yelled futilely for them to slow down as Max laughed.

“No sense in that, son. You and Temperance were the same way.”

Russ threw a glare in his father’s direction as he and Amy headed after the children. Brennan watched as Russ and Amy corralled the three rambunctious youngsters and got in line for the carousel. Russ was wagging his finger half-heartedly at them and trying to look stern.

“Telling them not to go running off again, I bet,” Booth observed from Brennan’s right.

Brennan looked up at him. “You think?”

“Yep, a couple more times, it’ll sink in. Now what is this I hear about Bones running around an amusement park?”

Brennan blushed and looked away. Max smiled. “When the children were small, we took them to Disney World. Russ and Temperance ran here, there and everywhere. Scared Mickey Mouse half to death. Christine and I could barely keep up with them.”

Booth chuckled. “How come I’ve never heard about this, Bones?”

The color rose higher on Brennan’s cheeks. “I never thought it was relevant. That sort of thing doesn’t usually come up during the course of an investigation, Booth.” Suddenly, she was desperate to change the subject. “Shouldn’t you be watching Parker?”

Booth feigned offense. “I am. See? He’s right there on that horse next to Hailey. Amy’s with them.”

“Seems your boy has taken quite a shine to my granddaughter,” Max interrupted.

Booth watched the pair go by again. “So it would seem.”

“Wait! They’re much too young –“

“Relax, Bones. It’s just a school age crush.” He peered at her intently. “You have had one of those, right?”

Brennan’s eyes widened. Again Max swooped in with information sure to embarrass her. “Oh, you remember, honey! That boy who chased you around the playground in the second grade. The knobbly knees one. What was his name?”

Brennan wanted nothing more than for the proverbial ground to open up and swallow her. “Ben,” she said in a small voice. Brennan felt like she was that gangly, awkward eight-year-old again under Booth’s slightly amused gaze. Why are we even talking about this?

“That’s the one.” Max didn’t get to continue his thought; Russ and Amy returned with the kids.

“So? What do you want to do now?” Booth asked. “There’s plenty of things right here.”

“But, Dad,” Parker complained, “these are all kiddie rides. I want to ride the Comet!”

“What’s the Comet?” Brennan asked.

Booth pointed to the white painted roller coast tracks to the right. “That. It’s one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still in operation. Everyone who comes to Hershey wants to ride the Comet.”

“So what are we waiting for?” Russ asked.

Booth grinned and led the way. It was a short walk into what was called “Comet Hollow.” It seemed that a large number of patrons had the same idea. The line for the Comet was already long and growing by the minute. Dad hates this sort of thing. I can’t leave him here alone. Decision made, Brennan hung back from the group.

“You guys go ahead. I’ll just wait here.”

Booth rounded on her looking disappointed. “Aw, come on, Bones. You’re not afraid of heights, are you?”

“What? No, I’m not.”

“Then why do you want to wait here?”

How do you explain your father’s dislike of theme parks? Especially to the man who’s just trying to make sure your family has a nice Father’s Day? Brennan looked around the Hollow trying to find an excuse not to get on the roller coaster. There wasn’t much there: a ride called the Wave Swinger, the infamous Tilt-a-Whirl and another roller coaster. She pointed toward the blue steel tracks.

“I’m going to get on that one.”

“Which one?” Booth followed her finger. “The Superdooperlooper, huh?” Brennan nodded. Booth regarded her skeptically. “Alright, Bones, suit yourself. You coming with us, Max?”

“I think I’ll stick with Temperance.”

“OK, everyone meet back here when you’re done.” Booth and the others got in the line for the Comet.

Brennan and Max started to walk in the direction of the blue coaster. Max took his daughter’s arm. “We’re not really getting on that thing, are we?”

Brennan smiled knowingly. “No, Dad. I know how you hate these things. I just wanted to stay with you.”

“That’s sweet of you, honey. But don’t let me ruin your fun. I don’t need a babysitter.”

Brennan highly doubted that any babysitter could keep track of Max Keenan for long. “I know. But it’s Father’s Day. Parker is with Booth. Russ has his girls. Can’t a girl spend time with her father?”

Max smiled warmly. “Fair enough. Let’s sit here and wait for them.”

Max and Brennan settled on the ledge that bordered the river that ran through the park. It was slightly less noisy than the surrounding area. Father and daughter people watched for a while in amiable silence. Brennan was busy observing an African American couple and their young son when Max spoke again.

“He’s a good man, you know.”

Brennan looked at her father curiously. “Who?”

“Booth.”

“Why are we suddenly talking about Booth?” This was not a topic she felt comfortable discussing with Max. Her feelings about Booth had become very confusing of late.

“I saw what happened at my trial, Temperance. All that man wants to do is protect you and ensure your happiness.”

“I don’t need Booth to protect me, Dad.” She studiously ignored that “ensure your happiness” comment. That led down a long forbidden road.

“I know you don’t, sweetheart. But let’s face it. That man has gone above and beyond. Do you trust him?”

Brennan didn’t hesitate. “Of course, he’s my partner.”

Max took her hand gently. “He’s more than that and on some level you know that. I can tell and I barely know the man. He’s your anchor, your rock. Just like you mother was for me.”

Brennan pondered that. She realized that her father was right. Booth had come to mean a great deal to her in their three years as partners. He was always there no matter how crazy things around them got. Even when she tried to push him away, he’d be there gently, patiently chipping away at her walls. She trusted him with her life. The question was could she trust him with something else.

To be continued…

 
 
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