Thank you again for all of your lovely reviews. They were greatly appreciated. See the end for a longer author's note.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, they never have been, and I fear that they never will be. sigh.
Epilogue – All's Well…
Booth flashed his badge at the security guard standing outside of the thick metal door with the flashing red light above it. The guard briefly scrutinized both Booth and his badge and opened the door quietly, directly disobeying the sign on the door that read, "When red light flashing, DO NOT ENTER. Shooting in progress."
Booth passed through the dark section of the film studio, carefully stepping over wires and dodging grips and cameramen. Seeing a bank of TV monitors, he made a beeline for them. Standing behind the small group that was monitoring the screens, he watched and listened to the one woman on camera that was the reason for his presence.
"Penny was very gracious and consulted me on both the forensic aspects of the script as well as the dialogue itself," Brennan replied, answering the question of the dark-haired, male reporter sitting across from her.
"What did you think of the casting choice of Julianne Moore to portray Kathy? Do you feel that she suits the role? Does she measure up to what you had in mind when you created the character?"
"I think Julianne is doing a wonderful job as Kathy, she fits into the role like a glove from what I've seen while on set during shooting. As for measuring up to what I had in my mind when I created the character, I think it's hard to say. The way you imagine a character when putting he or she on the page is somewhat nebulous. And once your book is in the hands of the readers, your image of the character and the reader's image of the character may vary greatly. But for my own part, Julianne does have some similarities in appearance to how I pictured Kathy."
"It might also be noted, Dr. Brennan, that you also bear some physical similarities to Julianne Moore. Do you think that was intentional on the part of the casting director?"
"I really don't know. I wasn't involved in casting. Just consultations on the script. And I wrote the book, which I suppose might be the most important part for this project."
"I would have to agree. We're just about out of time, so thank you, Dr. Brennan for coming to talk about Bred in the Bone which should be in theatres by January of next year."
"Thanks, James," Brennan replied, using the smile she had worn for the photo on the dust jacket of her book.
A shrill alarm went off and both Brennan and the interviewer, James, stood up from the chairs where they had been seated. Brennan shook his hand, removed her lapel mike and stepped down off the raised stage, headed for the bank of TV monitors where she had just spotted her FBI partner.
Booth watched Brennan stride confidently towards him appreciatively. The outfit she wore was typical for Brennan, except for the boots. The boots he recognized from the striptease adventure of just over a week ago and despite everything they'd been through that night, the memory of her walking down the stairs was still oddly alluring for him.
"Booth! What are you doing here? And on a Sunday."
"Well, I phoned your house and you weren't there. Then I phoned your office and you weren't there. I phoned your cell phone but it was turned off. I must say you're very impressive when it comes to being unreachable. I ended up calling Angela and she told me you had an interview here today. How come you didn't tell me that they had started filming on your movie?"
"It's not my movie, it's simply based on my book. And I didn't tell you because seeing as you've taken up the position of my stalker you'd have figured it out on your own," Brennan said with a teasing smile.
Booth smiled sheepishly and shrugged.
"What was so important that you made all those phone calls and then came all the way over here to tell me in person?"
"Some good news. Or at least I think it's good news. For you it might just be interesting."
"Well, now you've piqued my curiosity. What's the news?"
"I just came from Clark's disciplinary hearing," Booth began. "He's still got that black eye from where Angela punched him," he said with a chuckl. Then he cocked his head and without warning changed subjects.
"Hey, speaking of bruises, what happened to the one on your jaw? It was still pretty vivid when I saw you on Friday at Sid's."
"A very skilled make-up artist happened to it. The director didn't think it was good TV if I was filmed when I look like," she paused trying to remember his words, "a human punching bag."
Booth quirked an eyebrow at the words, and realized that unfortunately it did describe his partner's appearance lately. She was still peppered with bruises, some still purple, while many had begun to fade to green and yellow, and for the most part, she refused to cover them. It was simply the body healing itself and nothing to be ashamed of, she had told him. She didn't realize the pain that tore through his gut every time he glimpsed one.
"You were at Clark's disciplinary hearing," Brennan prompted, forcing Booth out of his reverie.
"Yes, they had me give a statement on what I perceived to be the professionalism of his performance. I was also there to give an impact statement on your behalf."
"The FBI couldn't ask me to give my own impact statement?" Brennan asked, her brows furrowing in a manner that meant a lecture was brewing on the horizon.
"I wanted you to give it yourself," Booth rushed on hurriedly, relieved when the crease between her brows disappeared, "but Cullen wanted to keep the hearing internal. As your partner, I was the next best thing."
"Fine. What was the result of the hearing?" Brennan asked.
"They took away his status as a field agent. And then they took away his badge. He's no longer a member of the FBI. And if an agent requires his expertise they must get approval from the director and Clark will be under supervision for the duration that his services are required."
Brennan blinked, "Harsh punishment."
Booth snorted, "I was hoping for worse."
"How much worse could it get?"
"Public flogging," Booth suggested, the corners of his mouth twitching upwards to indicate that he was joking. Internally he contemplated just how much he'd enjoy having punched the agent just once. Unfortunately, Angela would be the only one with that particular privilege.
"Well, I should head over to the lab," Brennan said.
"Bones, you're working today?" Booth asked, concern suddenly clouding his face as well as frustration that his partner could not enjoy being outside of that building for long periods of time.
"Yes. My forced vacation is officially over. I would have liked to have gone back to work three days ago when I was able to lift my arms above my head again. Dr. Goodman wouldn't let me."
"He's a good man that way. I'm certain that he intended for you to stay home today as well," Booth said, raising his eyebrows.
"Well, I can't. I'm going stir crazy in my apartment and I've been dying to get my hands on the skeleton that arrived on Thursday from Tibet. Preliminary examinations suggest it to be a twelfth century monk. Very exciting," Brennan said, her eyes sparkling in the way they did whenever she was excited about a case. Booth smiled bemusedly.
"I'd love to try and argue with you and convince you to stay home but I'm getting Parker for the afternoon and I need to go pick him up soon."
"Big plans for the afternoon?"
"I was thinking of maybe visiting the aquarium, seeing as it's been cleared of skeletons now," Booth said, the question in his eyes of why she wanted to know.
"Why don't you bring him by the lab after you go to the aquarium?" Brennan asked hesitantly.
"I have a promise to fulfill," Brennan said with a smile and then headed out of the studio, leaving Booth to watch her stride out. Damn she looked hot in those boots.
Brennan frowned at her computer screen. Her editor had sent back her latest manuscript and asked for a bit more sexual tension between Kathy and her boyfriend and a bit less between Kathy and her partner from the FBI. Brennan had agreed with the comment but was struggling to actually fulfill the demand.
She was distracted from her dilemma when she heard a voice say, "Daddy, hurry up, I want to see Bones."
"Slow down, bub. And please call her Dr. Brennan, ok?"
"You don't call her that," Parker replied with the brute honesty that only a four-year-old could possess as he raced into Brennan's office ahead of his father.
Brennan smiled, "Hi Parker."
"Hi Bones," Parker asked, giving her a grin that reminded her of his father's charm smile.
Booth let out an exasperated sigh and opened his mouth to speak but Brennan beat him to it.
"Hey Parker, you know what?"
"Your daddy calls me 'Bones' because it's his special name for me. Just like he calls you bub."
Parker nodded with understanding and then tilted his head to shoot her a questioning glance.
"Can I have a special name to call you?"
Brennan appeared thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Well, all my special friends call me Tempe so you could call me that too."
Parker nodded, satisfied.
Booth watched the exchange between his young son and his partner with a wide smile. For a moment he envied his son's ability to make the forensic anthropologist's barriers melt away, when he had had to work so hard to get to the point they were in their relationship.
"I've got a treat for you, Parker," Brennan said, pulling open a drawer of her desk and pulling out an object that caused Booth's smile to widen even further.
"A lollipop!" Parker exclaimed, grasping the confection on a stick from her outstretched hand.
"What do you say, Parker?" Booth prompted from the doorway.
"Thank you," Parker mumbled around the candy in his mouth.
Brennan attempted to hide a smile and looked up at a light rap on her door.
"Hey sweetie, I thought I'd find you in here," Angela said, wearing a wide grin at the sight she'd found inside her friend's office.
Recognizing the familiar glint in Angela's eyes, Brennan struggled to find something for her to do that would get her out of the room for a little while. She didn't want to deal with her friend's analysis of what was happening here just yet.
"Hey Ange," Booth said, saving Brennan from having to find an excuse, "could you watch Parker for a few minutes? I just want to talk to Bones really quickly."
"Sure," Angela said, her grin widening and she shot Brennan a look that meant she wanted to know everything later from behind Booth's back. Then she turned to Parker with an outstretched hand, "Hey Parker, how would like to come with me and we can draw some pictures?"
"Ok," Parker said and then waved goodbye to Brennan. "See ya later, Tempe," he called as he followed Angela out of the office.
Brennan waved goodbye to the small boy and then turned back to face the man who had sat down in the chair across from her desk. Booth watched in frustration as her guards visibly went back up. He'd been chipping away at the walls she'd built around herself and every once in a while he would catch a glimmer of the real woman behind the barriers and he treasured each glimpse he got but inwardly he wondered how long he'd need his pickaxe.
"That was sweet, Bones," he said softly.
"I made a promise and I'm not the type to break my promises."
"I know," Booth murmured gently, "which is why I need to ask you something."
"What?" Brennan asked, curiosity overwhelming her face.
"Never, ever go undercover again. I'm pretty sure I can't handle another case like this one," Booth said, an ironic smile on his face.
"You got it. I don't really feel that compelled to go undercover ever again either. But you were there when I needed you, so all's well…"
"Yeah," Booth agreed and then noticed that Brennan seemed uncomfortable. Apparently everything had gotten too close for comfort for her emotionally. Resisting the urge to sigh, he shifted in his seat and changed the subject.
"What you working on?" he asked, indicating her computer with a nod.
"I'm sorry?" Booth said, flushing slightly.
"My editor wants me to reduce the sexual tension between Kathy and Andy. She says it detracts from the little sexual tension that's established between Kathy and her boyfriend."
"Are you saying that there's more attraction between the anthropologist and her partner than there is between her and her boyfriend?" Booth asked, his smile widening at the many implications.
"Are you sure? 'Cause I'm pretty sure you just did."
"I did not, Booth."
"Sure," Booth said with a dismissive shrug. "So what contributes to the greater sexual tension between Kathy and Andy in this book? Does he see her naked or something?"
"Not exactly," Brennan said, turning back to her computer.
Booth groaned, "There's my favorite phrase again. What does it mean this time?"
"It means you'll have to wait until the book is published to find out what happens, just like everyone else."
"I'll be waiting longer than that," Booth muttered.
"Nothing. It better be worth the wait."
"It will be."
"From your lips…"
"What does that mean?"
Well, that's it guys. Thank you to everyone who read and everyone who reviewed, I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know many of you were hoping for more relationship development between Booth and Brennan but seeing as I'd placed between Soldier on the Grave and The Woman in Limbo I couldn't really go to far. Hope the fluff-ish ending was enough for you. I do have plans for another Bones fic that should appear in the next couple days and I'd love to invite you to check it out (shameless pitch). I'd also adore it if you gave me one last review to let me know what you thought of this chapter. And if you've been reading all along and haven't commented yet, here's your chance. You know which button to push. Thanks again.