Disclaimer: I've said it seventeen times. Give me a break.

Without You – Epilogue

Booth had won the custody battle.

The squints sat at the booth they had practically claimed as their own, chattering about anything and everything. Each wore as smile. The drama is over, Temperance thought as she threw her own opinions into whatever argument was going on from time to time.

Her attention was drawn away, however, by the high-pitched voice that could only belong to a young boy. And when she heard the name the voice called, she knew Parker was coming, so she stood.

"Doctor Brennan!" Parker shouted, running towards the anthropologist he had come to be such great friends with.

"Parker, I told you that you could call me Tempe," she chided him with a smile, picking him up.

Parker shrugged. "My daddy says to always call you Doctor Brennan. And my daddy's never wrong!"

Booth approached the two smiling.

Brennan gave him a mischievous look, and turned to Parker. "Why don't you go and sit with Miss Angela for a while?" She set him down and he scampered off to the table.

"Should I be afraid that the two of you have bonded?" Booth asked.

"It depends on what kinds of schemes we develop. It may take time. So I'm pretty sure you're safe…for now."

Booth smiled. "Thank you."

Brennan cocked her head slightly. "What for?"

"For doing…everything you've done for Parker."

"Booth, I've only watched him a few times…and I really enjoyed it, so it's not that big of a deal – "

"No, Bones, it means a lot to him that you two have spent so much time together."

Brennan looked long at Booth, trying to read his expression. "Sure, yeah, you're welcome."

"And, I want you to know that no matter what I've said because of…everything…I trust you, Bones. I trust your judgment, your longing for the facts. I trust you with my life. Parker's life. I need you to know that."

Brennan stepped closer to her partner. "Booth? Are you alright? You've already told me all this. You don't have to…"

"And…you have to understand that I found Parker at the end there without you." Brennan was about to speak again, but Booth cut her off. "But that's not the point. The point is that yes, I did it. But it was one of the hardest things I ever did. The whole time I was focused on Parker, but you not there working with me made me feel like part of me was missing. I did it without you, but I never want to again."

Brennan shook her head. "Never again."

On the way into the hug that followed, Booth gave Brennan a kiss on the cheek before holding her so tightly, Brennan thought he'd never let go. Out of his peripheral vision, Brennan smiled. So much had changed for the better. Here, with Booth, she just felt right.

And she never wanted to let go, either.


Parker leaned over to Angela. "Miss Angela? Does my daddy love Tempe?"

Angela laughed a bit. "That's not really a question for me, Parker. You should ask your dad, not me."

"Why? What do you think?"

Angela sighed. What the hell. "I think he does, yeah."

"Do you think Tempe loves my daddy?"

"Oh, I know she does."

"Does Tempe love me?" Parker asked quietly.

Angela looked down to where he sat next to her. "Of course. You mean so much to her, Parker. That's why she's spent so much time with you."

Parker nodded, the gears noticeably turning in his head. "Well I love Tempe, and my daddy loves Tempe." He paused. "And Tempe loves my daddy, and she loves me…"

Angela could see where this was going and tried not to laugh. "What are you getting at?" she asked, nudging him.

"Tempe and my daddy should get married. She'd be my mommy. I'd like that," Parker decided with a nod.

Angela loved the simplicity of a child's mind. She wished things could be as simple as who loves whom. If only, if only.


Bones adored Parker, he knew that from the first time she ever saw him. But there were times when she didn't know Booth was watching when she really showed Parker her love for him. It may have been because she felt partly responsible for something terrible that nearly happened, but it was there. Maybe she didn't think she loved him, but it was so clear in her eyes, in Parker's eyes, when they saw each other. Sometimes Booth just wished he could sit and watch them.

What a pair.

Parker had said time after time that he wished Tempe was his mother. The thought made Booth laugh. Bones, a mother. No way.

But watching their eyes as they rejoined the group sitting at the table, Booth couldn't help but wonder.

Nah. Though if she ever gave him the slightest hint that that is what she wanted, he wouldn't hesitate for a second to give her that. A family that wouldn't abandon her. A family that loved her.


She knew it was just maternal instincts kicking in, and she tried to ignore them. But who could say no to those eyes? They were Booth's eyes, alright, dark and endless that lit up when they saw her.

Brennan knew that she only felt this way because she felt responsible for the things that had happened to him. She didn't want children. She just liked Parker. She hadn't changed her mind. Come on, Brennan. You, a mother? No. You wouldn't be able to handle it.

But still, she couldn't help but fantasize about a family that wouldn't abandon her. And family that loved her as much as she loved them.

She smiled. Maybe eventually. Just maybe.


"Tempe, what are you smiling for?" Parker asked with innocent eyes.

Tempe looked at him. "Nothing, Parker. I was just thinking." Parker watched as she looked at hid daddy, and his daddy looked back at her. He didn't really know why, but he knew they were talking with only their eyes.

And their eyes told volumes.

Yup. Definitely her, Parker decided. There was simply no other way it could work.


Brennan wasn't sure what the little moment the two of them had shared was all about, but she knew one thing for sure: While she had once wondered if they'd ever go back to normal again, she knew now that everything was okay. Better, even.

All of this had made them stronger. As people, as partners, as friends.

- - - - - - - - - - Fin - - - - - - - - - -

AN: How about one last review?

And now, I bid you adieu. Thank you for reading.