Two weeks later, on a cloudless, hot summer day, Brennan and Christine moved into their new home with a lot of help from their friends. While Angela, with Christine's input, painted a mural on the girl's wall, Brennan directed the placement of furniture throughout the rest of the house. Decorating would come later, in the darkness of night, after Christine had gone to bed, during the hours when sleep wouldn't come until exhaustion overtook her.

"Mommy! Mommy! Come see what Aunt Angela is doing!" Christine ran into the living, grabbed her mother's hand and dragged her down the hall.

"Okay, okay, I'm coming. Have you been helping her?" Her daughter's blonde head bobbed up and down as she nodded. "Then, I'm sure it's beautiful. Let's go look at it."

Hours later, after furniture had been arranged, boxes unpacked, after the remnants from their impromptu take-out dinner had been cleaned up, after Christine had been tucked into her new bed and read to, Brennan finally relaxed. Sitting on the new couch, with a glass of wine in one hand, she looked at the bare walls of their new living room and decided that she would begin to sort through the boxes of her artifacts and Booth's collectibles that she had salvaged from their old house on the following day. She wanted their new house to feel like home to Booth from the moment he walked through the door.

She finished the last of her wine as she passed through the kitchen on the way to her bedroom. She sat the glass on the counter and continued on her way through the house, pausing at Christine's open door to watch her daughter sleep for a few moments. Smiling at the peaceful expression on Christine's face, Brennan walked toward her room, stopping just before entering. Faced with the reality of spending the first night in their new home, in their new bed without her husband, she found she couldn't do it. She turned away, pausing at the linen closet to grab a blanket, she returned to the living room, stretched out on the couch and drifted off to sleep.

Brennan awoke the following morning to Christine's hand stroking her cheek.

"Morning, Mommy. It's time to get up."

Brennan slowly opened her eyes and found herself looking at her daughter's smiling face, just a few inches from her own. Christine smiled at her mother and decided that her mission was accomplished. With a quick peck on Brennan's cheek, Christine turned and ran back to her room to pick her clothes for the day.

Brennan pushed herself up slowly, stiff from sleeping on the couch and rubbed her face, trying to shake off the remnants of sleep. She stood up, stretching out the last of her kinks and folded the blanket before heading to the kitchen to make Christine's breakfast. By the time Christine returned to the kitchen, her blueberry buckwheat pancakes were ready and waiting for her to dig in. Brennan sat across the table from her daughter, pushing some fruit around in a bowl, listening to the girl chattering about her room, her bed, the new house in general. When Christine mentioned that she couldn't wait to show all of it to her father, Brennan almost broke. Unwilling to upset Christine, she held herself together, redirecting Christine's attention to her upcoming playdate with Michael Vincent.

Brennan's thoughts turned inward while Christine talked about all of the things she wanted to do with Michael when he came over that afternoon. She had thought that leaving Max's condo and getting them back into a routine would make things easier. In fact, it was just the opposite. At her father's home, she missed Booth, but it was different. That wasn't 'their' house, Booth didn't really have his own place there anymore than she did. She and Booth should be making this new house their home, together. Even though he had never stepped foot in the house, she saw him everywhere she looked. She could see him cooking in the kitchen, flopped on the couch watching one of his sporting events, lounging on their bed and waiting for her to join him. It was all so painful and yet it was what she needed to move forward.

By the time Christine had finished her breakfast and skipped back to her room, Brennan had devised a plan to get her husband home. Since it was a Sunday, she couldn't act on her plans, so she put her energy into unpacking and decorating. Seeing her artifacts displayed alongside Booth's collectibles helped, gave her hope. If she could put this part of her life back together, surely she could do the same with the rest of it.

That night, after Michael had gone home, after she had finished unpacking, after Christine was tucked snugly into her bed, Brennan went to the linen closet, grabbed a blanket and went to sleep on the couch again.

Brennan pushed the team harder than she had before. She was determined to find something, anything, the one thing that would free Booth. She continued to work on the cases brought to the Jeffersonian by the FBI. She would never let her work suffer because of her obsession to free Booth. She had been informed by all of her friends that she was obsessed. They all wanted to see Booth freed, but where they would see an obstacle and pause to determine the next course of action, Brennan would push through, hurdle over it, swing across, dragging everyone else along with her.

She knew it was probably unfair, but she put the most pressure on Angela. All of the evidence they had was digital, retrieved from the flash drive they discovered on the body of Wesley Foster. That left it to Angela to sort through and analyze and find what they needed. Angela, being the friend that she was, worked endlessly, coming at it from any new angle she could think of. To her great frustration, she kept coming up empty. They had the names of so many politicians, judges and federal officials who were involved in one way or another, either as a blackmailer or as a victim, but no way to tie the entire operation together. They only knew that it was widespread and had a very long history. So, Angela continued to dig and analyze, hoping that the next discovery would be the one to blow the whole thing wide open.

Weeks passed without finding a way to get Booth released. Not a legal way, in any case. But, when a certain federal prosecutor's name popped up on Angela's screen, Brennan's brain went into overdrive, considering how she could most effectively use the information.

Booth had sensed his wife's growing frustration during their visits. He was so attuned to her, he knew when the frustration had changed to determination. After much wheedling on his part, he finally managed to get her to admit she had a plan. A little more prodding and she was spilling the details. At first, he could only look at her in shock. Blackmail? A federal prosecutor? Then, the words came pouring out. She could not do that. She would be opening herself up to jail time. She had to think of Christine. What would she do if her mother were in jail right along with her father? Brennan took every reasonable argument he made and dismissed them. It wasn't long before the anger poured out of him. He forbade her. She could not put herself in jeopardy for his sake. They would find another way to free him.

All too soon, their time was up and the guard was leading him back to his cell. It wasn't until he sat on his bunk, catching his breath, that he realized that she hadn't agree to his demand. With a groan, he dropped his head into his hands, knowing once Temperance Brennan had made up her mind, there was no changing it. He prayed this time would be different.

Brennan alternated between pacing and sitting and fidgeting while waiting for Booth to be released. The federal prosecutor had given into her demands when faced with the evidence of his own crimes. She knew Booth would be unhappy, or more likely, furious with her for going through with it, not that she cared. The charges against him had been dropped and she would be taking him home as soon as his release paperwork was processed.

After a short time that seemed like an eternity, Booth was walking toward her. Letting out a slow breath she walked toward him, ready to wrap herself around him and never let go. He let her, but she could feel the hesitance in his touch. She broke away from him, stepping back to really look him and caught the haunted look in his eyes. She knew that they still had a long way to go. They needed to crack the blackmail network and bring it down. She was confident they would. Looking at Booth, she realized there was more to bringing him home than having him physically in their house. He was so obviously hurting in ways she didn't understand, yet she knew that they would deal and get past it in their own way, in their own time. What mattered most was that they were together.

Wrapping her arm around his waist, she looked up at him, kissed him gently on the cheek. "Come on, Booth, let's go home."

A/N - Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little look into Brennan's mindset while Booth was 'away.' As always, reviews feed the muse, if you're so inclined. :) Thanks again! ~ craftyjhawk