A/N: I am a country music fan but even with that as an excuse, I don't know how this song got on my iPod! But when I heard it I thought of the 'Wannabe in the Weeds' and what if Booth hadn't been fast enough to stop the bullet. Thanks to mendenbar for her brainstorming help on this.
Hankie alert. I don't know if you will need one, but I did while I was writing it. ;-)
Disclaimer: I do not own Bones or 'Who You'd Be Today' – which is probably a good thing!
A Visit with His Girls
"Zack, call 911!"
"Bones, you're gonna' be fine. I'm right here.
C'mon you can do this. You're gonna' be fine, Bones.
You can make it. You can make it, Bones!
C'mon, Bones, c'mon!
C'mon, You can do this!
You're gonna' be fine! I'm right here, Baby, I'm right here!
No! No! Bones, No!"
"Are you the family of Dr. Temperance, Brennan? I'm sorry. We tried, but the bullet did too much damage. We were unable to save her. I'm so sorry for your loss . . . "
Driving through the large metal gates, Max Keenan is once again struck by the peacefulness of the park-like setting. It's quiet this afternoon, he's noticed that it often is on weekdays. He's noticed that most people stop by on weekends. On those days there are sometimes children running between the markers. He's even spotted families with blankets having picnics. But weekdays there aren't as many people around, and usually just lone figures or couples. He spots a few other cars parked on the quiet paths through the gardens, and he sees a few other figures usually sitting with their heads bowed, but occasionally he'll spot someone having an animated conversation. But today he's alone in this particular area. He puts down the bouquet of daffodils and, moving over to the granite bench, he sits and stretches his legs out in front of him.
"Hello girls. I know it's been a couple of weeks since I've stopped by to see you. I was down in North Carolina visiting Russ, Amy, and the girls. We had a good visit. You know that I think about you all the time, even when I'm not here chatting with you. When I come here and sit for awhile, it just really seems to bring you closer.
"I miss you both so much. Ruthie, I still see you like I did that first day we met, I couldn't believe that you could see anything in a guy like me. I'm so grateful for you and I miss you every day. Tempe, oh, my Tempe. I can't believe that you are gone too. I know you are laughing at me sitting here on this bench talking to a headstone. You always scoffed at such behavior. I know you never understood that, but for some of us it really is like we get to sit across from you and visit. Your mom will explain it to you, darling.
"We had rain over the weekend. It was dreary, but Ruthie do you remember when Temperance was small and she would watch the rain come down and then as soon as it was over, she'd rush out into the yard and stomp through the puddles? Remember, sweetheart? You'd get so upset with her when she tracked mud into the house. It all seems so foolish now, doesn't it, to get upset over such trivial things? Life's so short and we just never know how much time we have. I thought that I would have had more with both of you.
"It's a beautiful sunny day here today though. You wouldn't believe how blue the sky is. It always seems that way after a rain. The air feels like it's been scrubbed and the flowers are just a little prettier and more fragrant. There's a beautiful rose bush here next to the bench. Tempe, your friends from the Lab planted it and this past spring there were daffodils from the bulbs that Booth and Parker planted last fall."
Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
I feel you everywhere I go.
I see your smile, I see your face,
I hear you laughin' in the rain.
I still can't believe you're gone.
"Angela and Hodgins brought Michael by to see me over the weekend. I wish you'd had the chance to meet him Tempe. You would have just adored their child. He is such a cutie and he's growing like a weed! Your mother will explain that to you dear, it's a metaphor. He's so curious. It looks like he's going to be a squint like his Dad. We went out into the backyard and he was fascinated by the raised beds that I've put in for the vegetable garden. Not in the plants, but the dirt. Of course!
"Angela said that she'd been by to see you and let you know that they are expecting again. She probably told you about the new test that they were able to use, and there's a 99% chance that there will be no problem. They know that they're taking a chance, but they are determined to not let the fear keep them from having a family. Also, the test let them know that it's a girl. They want to name her after you, sweetheart. I told them that you would honored by that.
"I had dinner with Booth and Parker last night. Booth told me that he has been by to see you. You probably already know that he still beats himself up for what happened that night at the Checker Box. I hope that eventually he'll come through it okay. But I think that I'm probably a painful reminder for him. I want to stay in touch with them, but I don't know if I am doing more harm than good when I get together with them. I've told him that I don't blame him for what happened. There was no way any of us could have known how unbalanced that woman was or that she would find you all there that night. I know it wasn't his fault that woman did what she did. He tried to get between you and the bullet, but he just wasn't fast enough. I know he goes over that night trying to figure out what he could have done differently. I think that logically he knows that there is no purpose served in regrets and recriminations now, but that doesn't stop any of us from going there from time to time. I know how he feels, but I also know that he just has to get through it however he can. I think he's talking to Gordon Gordon about it."
Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family,
I wonder what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue,
I feel like I can talk to you,
An' I know it might sound crazy.
"Parker is doing well in school, he's really enjoying science. He asked me to help with a project for his science fair. I'm willing to help him, but I think I'll talk to Booth about it first, to make sure he doesn't mind. Parker's becoming quite the mature young man, talking about SATs and college applications. I wish you could see him, Tempe. You wouldn't believe how he's doing in sports – he's certainly his father's son in that regard! He's turning into a very handsome young man.
"I had a really good visit with Russ and Amy last week. Russ and I talked a lot about you. We both regret that we didn't have more time with you. We wasted so much time and I guess we just always thought that we would have plenty of time to make up for that. But we just never know what turns life is going to take, do we?
"You wouldn't believe how big Emma and Hayley have grown. And smart! They are both on the honor roll at school. Emma is starting to talk about colleges, and she's interested in Northwestern and Hayley just wants to follow her big sister. That was so nice of you to set up that scholarship fund for them, and I know that it takes a lot of pressure off of Russ and Amy to know that their girls can go to college."
Max Keenan drops his head into his hands and sits quietly. The granite bench is hard beneath him, but not uncomfortable. He can hear the breeze through the leaves in the tree above him, and the fragrance of the roses from the flowers planted by Temperance's friends from the Lab. The sun feels so good, it's turned into a beautiful day after the rains that they had last week. But even sitting here in the sun he feels like he's sitting in the shadows. He feels the tears on his cheeks as he raises his face to the sun. He reaches out and traces the dash between the dates that represent the lives of his wife and his daughter. Such a little mark in the stone represents so much.
Ignoring the tears on his cheeks, Max looks down at the headstone and the two names engraved there – Christine Brennan and Temperance Brennan. "I miss you, girls. It always does my heart good to just sit and talk with you both for a little while. I'll see you next week. I love you, both." As he stands to go, he touches his fingers to his lips and then touches the top of the headstone.
It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who'd you be today?
Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that gives me hope,
Is I know I'll see you again some day.
The lyrics are from the song "Who You'd Be Today", sung by Kenny Chesney