Disclaimer: Let's see…checks bank account…nope, I still don't own these characters or anything associated with the show BONES.
Summary: This fic starts at the last scene of "The Woman In Limbo".
Do you feel like a puzzle/ You can't find your missing piece?—"Talk", Coldplay
Temperance, you've got to stop looking. This is bigger than you know. I'm asking you to stop, please.
Brennan's eyes were wide with shock as she turned to face her brother and her partner. Booth studied Brennan's face and then Russ', observing the shock and despair mirrored in both siblings' expressions.
He lowered his bottle of beer that had been at his lips before Brennan had hit the playback button on her answering machine. "Who was that?" he questioned, although he already knew the answer in his gut. He looked over at Brennan and thought of everything she had been through in the last few days—identifying her mother's remains; hearing from her partner that her parents were not who she thought they were; her personal identity crisis; and reuniting with her long lost brother. A weaker person would have crawled into their bed, pulled the sheet over their heads and waited for the nightmare to pass. Booth watched her expression change from shock to simply emotionless.
Brennan's eyes were clear—no trace of tears or despair to be found—as she answered Booth's question. "That was my father."
The three of them stood in silence for a long moment.
"Dad's….alive?" Russ' soft voice finally broke the silence. "Fifteen years…all this time, he's been alive? Tempe?"
Brennan simply nodded, still digesting the new information herself. It was yet another illogical piece of the puzzle that 'Matt' and 'Christine Brennan' had left behind as the legacy for their children.
Placing his beer on the desk next to Brennan's manuscript, Booth walked toward his friend, concern etched on his handsome features.
The logical part of Brennan's brain kicked in at that moment. "Booth, is it possible to find out where he made the call from?"
Booth stood in front of her and stared deep into her eyes. He noticed that a small hint of her despair that he had seen at McVicar's farm was present again. He fought the urge to take her in his arms again and tell her that it would be okay—that she would be okay.
Booth nodded. "I can get one of our best guys at the Bureau on it…but not until Monday."
"Wait, Tempe, Dad asked you to stop." Russ stepped toward his little sister. "Maybe you need to stop."
"What?" Confusion creased Brennan's forehead as she turned toward her brother. "Why? Why should I stop Russ? We found Mom and the person who killed her…"
"And maybe that should be enough!" Anger and fear flashed through Russ' dark eyes as he shouted his opinion. Rubbing a hand across his face, Russ took a deep breath before continuing. "Tempe, please, Mom is dead…we have a lot of information that we didn't have before. If Dad is telling you to stop looking, then just stop."
"I can't." Brennan's defiant blue eyes met Russ' sad, desperate gaze. "What are you scared of Russ? The truth? How much worse can it possibly get?"
Booth watched the exchange between brother and sister, silently understanding the position of both. But he knew that for Brennan, half of the story of what happened to her parents would not be enough—not now, not ever.
"Russ, is there something you're not telling us?" Booth asked, echoing Brennan's earlier sentiments at the FBI garage. "You seem more than perturbed at hearing your father's voice on Bones' answering machine…you seem terrified."
Russ took a swig of his beer and rubbed his face again. He turned away from Booth and his sister and walked into the living room, looking out the large windows at the view.
'Russ Brennan, your name is Russ Brennan. Repeat it! Russ Brennan, Russ Brennan'
"The tone of his voice. Tempe, you never heard that tone before….until now." Russ sighed heavily. "That's the same tone he had the day that we moved from Iowa, after he saw that man. The same tone that told me my name was now Russ and that forgetting my name would get you and Mom killed."
Fighting back tears, he turned to face his sister. "Please Tempe…I just got you back…I just got my little sister back. I couldn't handle it if I lost you again."
"Russ…" Brennan couldn't find the words to comfort her brother. The last time she had witnessed Russ in emotional pain and desperation, he had walked away from her. Now, he was standing in her home, begging her to stop searching for answers about their parents so that they would not be lost to each other again.
"Look, Russ, I'm not going to let anything happen to your sister. But she's right—you both need to know the truth…the whole truth." Booth studied the man in front of him, hoping that he understood. Russ glanced over at his sister and turned back to the window, wiping his eyes with his shirt sleeve.
Glancing down at his watch, Booth realized the late hour and knew that Brennan had not rested for several days. "It's late. You two need time by yourselves to catch up. And you," he looked pointedly at Brennan, "need to get some rest. That's an order." He flashed a small smile at her and wasn't surprised when the action was not reciprocated. The last few days had been tough for everyone, especially her.
He turned to walk toward the door with Brennan following closely behind him. "Booth?"
Turning toward her, he flashed her another small smile. "Yeah Bones?"
"For everything…I…just everything." She stumbled over words that probably would have come easily for most people.
Brennan looked up at her partner, the man who had virtually been her lifeline of the past few days, and smiled sadly. Booth again felt the urge to embrace her and this time, he didn't fight it. He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her, holding her slight frame close. He felt Brennan relax against his chest and felt her warm breath on the side of his neck where she had nuzzled her face.
"I'm glad you're my partner," she said quietly. Pride swelled in Booth's chest at her statement, much as it had when he had read the dedication of her manuscript to him.
"Ditto, Bones. And I promise you, we will figure this out," he stated in a firm but gentle tone. "You and me, we always figure it out, right?"
He felt her nod against his shoulder and he smiled. Brennan reluctantly stepped away from the embrace. "You've got Parker tomorrow. You need to get some rest too."
Booth nodded and opened the door. "Bones, if you need me, don't hesitate to call me, okay? I mean it."
Brennan leaned against the door, staring at him. "I know…Goodnight Booth."
Russ had stood silently in the living room, watching the exchange. He had observed Special Agent Seeley Booth over the last few days—observed how protective he was of Tempe and how much he cared for her. At that moment in his little sister's apartment, as he watched Booth embrace Temperance, Russ knew that the agent was more than a friend and a partner—he knew that Booth was in love with Temperance. And judging by the way Temperance looked at Booth, Russ was relatively sure that she felt the same way.