This story came about as the result of an exchange of emails with nattylovesjordy about her "Love and Twenty Six Adjectives." When she suggested Proud for her 16th chapter, I thought of Booth and Parker, and she went in a different direction (it's great, go read it!) Anyway, she encouraged me to write the story I thought of, so here it is.

Proud of Parker

Pulling out of the sports park, Booth looked into the rear view mirror and watched his son in the back seat. Parker was staring out the side window and his face reflected a range of emotions. When Booth had made himself available to be an assistant coach for Parker's Little League team (the Phillies, of course), he knew that it was going to be a learning process, but there was no way that he could have imagined what a large lesson his son was going to teach him. "I'm proud of what you did out there this afternoon, Bub. That was a good thing that you and James did for that player on the other team."

"Yeah, I thought so, Dad. But you know some of the guys on our team are mad at me and James for doing it." Booth flicked his eyes back up to the rear view mirror and saw the confusion on his son's face.

"Sometimes doing the right thing is also doing the hard thing, Parks. But, what you and James did today was good. I was talking to his coach after the game, that's the only home run Thomas has ever hit, he's never even had a single before today."

He watched his son smile and sit a little straighter. "Yeah, I guess. Are we going to meet Dr. Bones for lunch, Dad?"

Booth smiled, "We are. I called her while you were getting your gear together. She'll meet us at the diner, unless there's someplace else you would like to go?"

Parker met his Dad's eyes in the rear view mirror, "No, the diner is good. I like their hamburgers. But can I have my own fries, Dad? That way Dr. Bones has both of us to steal from. Is that okay?"

Booth grinned. "Of course it is. A burger and fries. Sounds like a plan! We'll see what kind of pie they have, too. Maybe we'll have pie for dessert, eh?"

Arriving at the diner they spotted Bones already at their table by the window. Smiling, she stood and gave Booth a hug and quick kiss and held out her fist for Parker to bump. Booth had told her that Parker is apparently getting to the age where hugs in public are embarrassing. He's afraid 'someone' might see. Booth had laughed when he said it, he told her that he's not sure just who 'someone' is, but fist bumping is apparently Parker's new greeting.

"How was your game?" Brennan asked, "Your Phillies were playing against the Tigers today, weren't they? Did your team win?" She is still finding her way in this new relationship with Booth's son.

"Nah. We lost by one run." Parker responded.

Booth smiled at his son. "Parker, tell Bones about what happened at the game."

Watching the interaction between the son and his father, Dr. Temperance Brennan was again intrigued by the difference that comes over Booth around his son. She's tried to find words to explain it, and none seem sufficient. When he's around Parker the Special Agent in Booth fades away and in his place is this different, softer, more gentle man. Unconsciously her left hand rubs over her baby bump and she catches Booth's eyes and sees the warmth and love as he smiles back at her.

Getting into his chair, Parker says, "There's a kid on the Tigers, his name's Thomas. He's a little smaller than the other guys and when we've played them before I don't think he's ever even hit the ball, but this time he did! Bones, he hit the ball and it went all the way to the other field, that's like hitting it out of the park! But when he started running, he missed first base and he had to go back, but when he turned he fell and twisted his ankle. I guess it really hurt, 'cause he couldn't stand on it so he couldn't make it around the bases." Glancing over at Booth, Brennan watches as he encourages Parker to continue the story.

"The Tigers' coach asked if another runner could run for Thomas," Parker continued seeming to warm to his story, "But the Umpire said that was against the rules. That they could put another runner in, but it would only be to second base and Thomas hit the ball to the whole other field. That's a home run, not a double! So James and I asked Dad if we could carry him around the bases, 'course we also had to ask his Mom, but she said it was okay."

Parker took a bite of his hamburger and Brennan looked at Booth with a questioning look. "Finish the story, Parker, tell Bones what happened."

"I guess his ankle really hurt bad, so we were kind of like crutches for him. We didn't have to carry him, he just put his arms over our shoulders and we kind of helped him hop around the bases. His teammates couldn't do it or the run wouldn't count. And he hit a home run, so he should get a home run, right?"

Parker was staring at her with that question. Bones glanced at Booth and saw the look of pride as he listened to his son. She was moved by the love and warmth that she saw there, and said, "Yes, Parker, that is right. But it must have been a hard decision for you and James to make, wasn't it?"

"I dunno'," Parker replied as Bones stole one of his french fries. "It just seemed like the right thing to do. Everyone stood up and clapped for him when he came in, that was really neat! But we lost the game. But it's just a game. What kind of pie do you think they have?"

In addition to the inspiration from nattylovesjordy's sixteenth adjuective, this story was also inspired by a video of a Conference Championship game between Central Washington and Western Oregon that can be found at YouTube dot com slash watch?v=UEDBnKahuNs