Hope all our American friends have a happy Independence Day!

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Booth sat back in his chair and stretched. He had finally finished all his paper work. He closed his eyes for a moment and when he opened them, Jake was standing in front of him. Booth didn't react immediately because he thought at first that he was imagining things. He nodded to the agent at the door who had brought Jake up.

''Okay kiddo. You better have a very good reason to be here at two in the afternoon on a school day.'' Booth was baffled. Kids who are cutting school don't normally use the time to visit their fathers at work.

''I have.'' Jake shivered, he was freezing cold and he thought that he was sick. Bones had been right but he was here on business.

''Where's your coat?'' Booth suddenly noticed that Jake was white with cold.

''I gave it to Shaun.'' Jake sat down in a chair.

''Can I have a drink please?'' Jake was acting like this was the most normal thing in the world.

''A hot drink would be a good idea and then you have some explaining to do. Do not move.'' Booth gave Jake a warning before disappearing.

He returned with a hot chocolate and handed it to Jake who sipped it gratefully.

''You need to start talking Jake before I start yelling.'' Booth was done with the stalling although he didn't like the look of Jake. He was way too pale, Bones had been spot on.

''I have conditions.'' Jake tried to be business like but couldn't quite carry it off.

''Pardon me?'' Booth couldn't believe what he was hearing.

''I have conditions before I tell you. I'm breaking a promise here.'' Jake was starting to lose his nerve, this had seemed like a really good idea earlier.

''Stop it Jake. I do not have to agree conditions with you. Promises are not your strong point remember? Breaking another one shouldn't be too hard'' Booth was starting to get worried.

Jake looked hurt by his words and Booth ran his hand over his face. He knew that was too harsh but Jake just pushed all his buttons at once sometimes.

''Why did you give your coat to Shaun and why aren't you at school?'' Booth walked to the front of the desk and sat on the edge. He crossed his arms and gave Jake a warning glare.

''I'll tell you but you have to promise not to get mad.'' Jake tried to retrieve something from the situation which was not going as planned.

''Nope, no deals. Just answer me.'' Booth was not playing ball.

''I gave my coat to Shaun cos he was cold and I cut school.'' Jake tried to carry on but his dad cut him off.

''What again? What's the matter with you Jake? Do you really like trouble or something?'' Booth was incredulous.

''No but Shaun was sad and he had this bruise on his back and now another one on his face. He wanted me to go with him and I felt sorry for him so I did. But then I realised that I'm really lucky so now I feel bad 'cos I've done a couple of things which I should tell you about. Then Shaun got really mad cos I said he needed to tell someone and he ran off and I didn't know what to do so I came here. I thought you'd know, you're good at that, you know helping people and all. And I think I'm sick and I made a mess of it. I thought I could help but it's too much. I don't know how to.'' Jake finally took a breath, he hiccuped and wiped his face on his sleeve. It was jumbled but Booth got the general idea.

He looked at his sick and crying son who had tried to do the right thing. Booth's heart melted as he realised that Jake had turned straight to him when he needed help. Booth wasn't sure he deserved such loyalty, he had been hard with Jake recently and he began to regret it. It seemed though that their relationship was as strong as ever despite Jake's sulkiness and Booth's reaction to it. Jake looked small and miserable. He also needed to be tucked up in the warm, his face was flushed and eyes fevered.

''Jake honey. You did well, you did your best. That's all anyone can do. Thank you for telling me but we'll deal with this now, mom and me. We are the adults, this is up to us. First though we need to get you home to bed. You're sick. Come on, kiddo.'' Booth held out his hand and was stunned when Jake took it. He really was sick.

Jake stood up and sniffed, wiping his face with his free sleeve.

''Oh Jake. Don't cry anymore, it will be okay. I'll sort it all out, I promise.'' Booth put his arms around him and hugged him tight. Jake nodded miserably.

''I love you, dad.'' It was a whisper and Booth felt a lump in his throat. The depth of his love for his children never failed to enthral him and he found Jake's complete belief in him, humbling.

''And I love you and...'' Booth replied softly.

''I'm very proud of you for helping Shaun.'' He added.

''Thanks dad.'' Jake looked genuinely pleased and Booth was glad he said it. He decided he would say it more often from now on.

Booth put his hand on Jake's forehead and frowned.

''You are burning up kiddo. Come on or you'll have pneumonia soon.'' Booth grabbed his jacket and keys.

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''Where is he? Is he okay?'' Bones came in breathless and in a panic.

''Calm down Tempe. He just has the flu.'' Booth was sitting on the couch watching TV enjoying his unexpected early night home.

''I knew he was sick. I should have made him go back to bed this morning.'' Bones sat next to Booth.

''Well, he's in bed now and before you ask. He has had something for his temperature and some honey and lemon for his throat. He is sleeping like a baby .'' Booth tried to relieve her anxiety but it was clearly not going to be that easy.

''I might check on him.'' Bones got up but Booth stopped her.

''No, leave him. We need to talk about Shaun. Sit down and I'll get you some tea.'' Booth put his hand on her arm and she nodded after a moment.

Booth quickly got her up to speed.

''I called Isobel and told her. Jake was not very clear but I managed to get most of the story from him. She has spoken to Child Services and Sandy. It looks like she has a great chance of getting Shaun full time but at the moment, he is missing.'' Booth handed Bones her tea.

''The local police are looking. He'll turn up.'' Booth just hoped he was in one piece.

''Thank you Booth. For doing that for Isobel and Shaun.'' Bones meant it.

''Hey Bones, thats what I do, help people right? Well according to Jake that's what I do. Shaun is a scared and unhappy little boy and he needs someone and he's family isn't he? I just wish I could get five minutes with his father.'' Booth sipped his coffee. He was touched that his son thought that his job was to help people. Booth dreaded the day that Jake or Parker realised what his career really entailed.

''Yes, he really is a bad one. Isobel was not kidding. You're right, Shaun is family, my family.'' Bones smiled with pleasure that she could finally say those words, she had a family at last.

''Hey, our it's our family Tempe.'' Booth sat down next to her. She grinned.

''Yes, our family, our family.'' She repeated with words with a sense of disbelief.

Booth laughed and they settled down to watch the old movie.

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Jake could not stop coughing and it woke him. He sat up and looked around his room. It was dark outside and he needed a drink. He swung his legs around and tried to stand up.

''Hey kiddo. I don't think that's a good idea.'' Booth had just slipped into the room to check on him and rushed over.

''Stay in bed, Jake. You're too sick to get up.'' Booth tucked him back in and Jake didn't protest.

''I'm thirsty .'' Jake's voice was croaky.

''Here.'' Booth handed him some juice which Jake managed to swallow despite his sore throat. He fell back onto his pillow exhausted by the effort.

''Dad, I have to tell you some stuff.'' Jake was determined to confess all and Booth decided to let him otherwise he wasn't going to sleep and he needed to. Booth sat on the edge of the bed and stroked the hair from Jake's eyes.

''Go on then Jake but you really should go back to sleep.'' Booth checked Jake's temperature with his hand, he felt warm again.

''I've been giving Marie a hard time cos I knew she wouldn't tell you.''

''What sort of a hard time?'' Booth already knew this if he was honest.

''Not coming home when I should and skating with my arm. I've had loads of detentions and she has signed the slips. But I had another one the other day and I signed it myself cos I didn't want to show you. I hate school, its so boring. The work is too easy, I could do it with my eyes closed so I mess around to make the day more fun.''

Booth was relieved that there was a logical reason for Jake's behaviour at school. They could do something positive now.

''And I'm sorry that I sulk. I just feel grumpy sometimes. I know that I'm lucky, I'm not really spoilt or I don't mean to be'' Jake was struggling to keep his eyes open and his words were confused but sincere.

''Kiddo, don't worry about all this stuff. You need to rest and get well. Everything else can wait. '' Booth stood up and kissed his forehead. He felt very hot again.

''You need more medicine. Just take this Jake. Then please stop thinking so much and go to sleep.'' Booth offered him the cup and Jake swallowed it before drifting into oblivion.

''I think Jake's delirious.'' Booth came into the kitchen with the empty glass.

''What?'' Bones looked appalled.

''I'm kidding. His temperature has gone up again but I've given him something. He insisted on confessing all to me.'' Booth sat down next to her with a devilish grin.

''So now I know all his terrible deeds and can torture him when he's better.'' Booth rubbed his hands together.

''Don't be so mean. The poor kid, you took advantage of him. What did you find out?'' Bones couldn't help but ask.

'' No I didn't, he wouldn't stop talking even though I wanted him to sleep. He has been giving Marie a hard time and she's been covering for him but we kind of knew that. But most importantly, he is acting out at school because the work is too easy and he's bored.'' Booth was pleased with himself.

''We should have spotted that.'' Bones felt guilty.

''Oh Tempe, give yourself a break. We just missed it but we can fix it now. No damage done.'' Despite his words Booth was feeling guilty.

''I'm the one who should feel bad. I just got locked in with him. I get so tired of everything being a battle and when he sulks it drives me crazy.'' Booth wanted to admit to his mistakes.

''Wonder where he gets the sulking from?'' Bones quirked her eyebrow.

''What? I do not sulk.'' Booth defended himself.

''Yeah, right.'' Bones laughed at him.

''Okay, maybe I do sometimes.'' Bones had to be honest.

''You know Seeley, the only real problem between you and Jake is that you are too alike.'' Bones knew, she lived with them.

Booth opened his mouth to deny it and then closed it again because it was true.

Bones kissed him softly and stood pulling him by the hand.

'' Come on, lets go to bed. Maybe I can make you feel better.'' She winked at him and Booth grinned.

''I think that may help. I really do.'' He said jumping up.

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They found Shaun safe and well. He was soon in the care of his grandmother, despite his protests. Isobel had to work hard to convince Shaun that his father was not his responsibility but he accepted it.

Jake was in bed for almost a week but he finally started to get better. Wandering around DC with no coat in sub zero temperatures had not helped.

Bones went on maternity leave early to look after him and it gave her a chance to see Isobel regularly. They shopped for the baby and Bones was able to have all the discussions about childbirth and caring for a baby that she needed. Isobel stepped up happily and they made a good mother and daughter combination.

Jake and Shaun were sitting on the couch watching ''Lord of the Rings' one afternoon. Jake was appalled that Shaun had never seen it, there were so many things that Shaun had not done that Jake had made it his personal mission to educate him in the ways of a teenage boy.

Jake frowned at Isobel who was in the kitchen when he heard the front door. It was his mom and dad, it was way too early for them to be home. It was Valentines day and the house was covered in flowers. As Shaun's school was closed for the day, Isobel had come to babysit whilst Bones and Booth went out to dinner.

''Hey kiddo. You look much better.'' Booth took off his jacket and sat down next to Jake, kissing his head as he did.

Shaun looked surprised, Booth was showing him every day that not all fathers were bad.

''Hey, Shaun. Jake torturing you with this is he?'' Booth was not a Middle Earth fan. He ruffled Shaun's hair and the shy boy blushed. He found it very hard to accept affection from an adult man without flinching but was getting better.

''So kiddo, cast comes off tomorrow so the world better watch out huh?'' Booth teased Jake who made a face.

''I'm not that bad.''

''No you're not, not bad at all. I'll think we'll keep you.'' Booth was in a very happy mood.

''Stop it dad. We're watching the movie.'' Jake turned back to the screen and then remembered something.

''Why are you here?'' Jake looked between Bones and Booth in a panic.

His dad had never mentioned his delirious confessions and Jake was happy to leave it that way.

''Because we live here.'' Booth clicked the TV off. Jake turned to protest but Booth raised his hand to stop him.

''We're taking a break.'' He said. Isobel gestured to Shaun to join her and Bones sat in his place. The tag team form of parenting was back on.

''We've been to see Mr Rhodes.'' Bones smiled and Jake groaned. He knew what that meant, lots of work. Well, it was his own fault, he was the one that complained. Jake thought that he had experienced a temporary form of madness that day. He had been making an effort though, the Shaun experience had scared him.

''Don't be like that Jake. You need to be engaged and interested at school to do well.'' Bones was serious although Jake's face was pretty funny.

''Mr Rhodes will make sure that you have extension work to push you and we will get weekly updates to see how you are doing.'' Booth was trying not to laugh at Jake's look of horror.

''Weekly, but that's way too much.'' Jake knew that he would not get away with anything under this regime.

''You'll get used to it kiddo. It's all done now so you'll just have to get on with it.'' Booth was firm and Jake shrugged.

''Whatever.''

''That word is banned. I just cannot stand to hear it one more time.'' Booth was not serious but Jake's reaction was comical.

''What?'' He could not believe his dad would even suggest that. Jake said whatever at least twenty times a day.

''I'm kidding but you could try and vary it sometimes.'' Booth ruffled his hair and clicked the TV back on.

He settled back next to Jake who relaxed his head on his dad's shoulder and Shaun joined them. All three were soon transfixed, Booth actually quite liked the battle scenes.

Bones went to make some tea, Isobel smiled at her, she had a warm, welcoming smile that made her eyes twinkle. In response, Bones hugged her naturally and in a relaxed way, it was like she had become a different woman. Bones liked her new self, she didn't feel isolated and different all the time. Her life was full of love and people, it was everything that she secretly wanted all along.

''How are you, Tempe? You look a little tired. Why don't you take a nap before you go out?'' Isobel touched her cheek with concern in her eyes.

''Yes, I think I will. Booth, you need to pick up Parker from Alice's soon.'' She turned to her husband who raised his hand okay and she padded up the stairs.

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Bones woke up, feeling off. Something was wrong and as she moved, she realised that the bed was wet beneath her. Her head was mushy from sleep but a dreaded thought began to form. Before she realised what was happening, there was a sudden tightening across her stomach and an aching, harsh, pulling pain. She gasped and then tried not to panic. It was too early, it was just a Braxton Hicks, a practise contraction. Bones knew that was not true, her waters had broken, she was in labour.

She waited for the pain to subside and struggled to stand up.

''SEELEY! SEELEY!'' Bones had never heard the voice that was coming out of her mouth before and neither had her husband. He was at the door in a second.

''Okay. Okay Tempe. Sit down.'' He helped her to sit again.

''It's too early. Six weeks too early.'' Bones was terrified, she knew that babies this early could have problems with their lungs.

''Well Tempe. The little guy doesn't agree with you. We said it was another feisty one.'' Booth smiled at her.

Bones suddenly felt excited that she may be holding her own baby in her arms within the next few hours even though it was sooner than she hoped.

Bones' thought that it was to be a few hours was wide by a long way. It was a long, hard labour and after sixteen hours Bones was exhausted.

''Temperance, you need to push when I tell you.'' The doctor tried to encourage her.

''No, no I can't. I don't want to do this anymore. I'm leaving.'' Bones tried to get up.

''Tempe, you can't. Come on, it's nearly over. Our baby will be here soon.'' Booth put his hand on her arm to stop her.

''Get your hands off me. This is your fault. You are never touching me again.'' Bones said through gritted teeth and at that moment she meant it.

The doctor smiled at Booth who shook his head and hid his grin. It wouldn't be a good idea to provoke Bones at that precise moment. Bones grabbed his hand as another contraction crashed in and squeezed so hard that Booth flinched with pain. The room was filled with an extended wail that came from deep within Bones as she used every last ounce of her remaining strength. There was a momentary silence which was then filled with the bewitching cry of a new born baby.

''It's a boy. Say hello to your new son.'' The doctor placed him on Bones chest and a laugh of delight burst from her. He stopped crying immediately he saw her, staring at her face with deep, knowing eyes just like his daddies, the brown obvious under the blue. Her smell and the sound of her beating heart soothing him.

''He has your eyes. Another one with your eyes.''

Bones looked at Booth, those same eyes were filled with tears and he chuckled as he kissed her.

''He's beautiful Tempe, just like his mother.''

''Yes, he is.'' Bones stroked his soft downy back gently, then felt bereft when a nurse whipped him away.

''Just to check him and clean him up, Dr Brennan. It will be only a minute.'' The doctor moved to reassure her as he gave her a shot of vitamin K and finished his work.

''Go with him. Don't let him out of your sight.'' Bones maternal instinct was so strong it almost over whelmed her. Booth had already followed them before being told.

They placed him in his daddy's arms all wrapped up and he was sucking his hand noisily.

''Hey big guy.'' Booth could not stop grinning.

''He's fine, no problems. Just a little small. Six pounds and ten ounces but very healthy.'' The nurse wrote up the chart as she spoke.

''Maybe your dates were out?'' The doctor suggested and Booth cringed waiting for Bones' cryptic denial as he handed the baby to Bones.

'' Say hi to mommy.'' Booth looked at her and Bones felt her heart skip when he said mommy, she had never been called that before.

She ignored the doctors comment, whether her dates were wrong seemed irrelevant now. She was too busy getting to know the whole new person that they had created together. He had soft silky auburn hair and she stroked it in wonder.

''We'll take you to your room and you can feed him. The little guys had a tiring few hours, he must be hungry.'' The nurse whisked them away and they were soon settled. Bones fed him and the nurse was right, he was hungry taking to it instantly.

''Oh no, not another one that constantly eats.'' Bones laughed, it was a theme in their home that the boys had huge appetites.

Booth sat with his arm around them both on the edge of the bed.

''Thank you Tempe. You were amazing. That was tough.'' He put his finger in the baby's hand who grabbed on.

'' Not for you.'' Bones teased him.

''My hand still hurts.'' Booth wriggled his fingers on one hand.

''Poor you.'' Bones looked again at the little boy in her arms, not quite believing he was hers.

''Little fingers and toes. They're so cute.'' Booth chuckled.

''Are you disappointed?'' Bones asked suddenly.

''What, why?'' Booth was at a loss. That was the last emotion he was experiencing.

''You know. Another boy.'' Bones felt glad that she had a boy, she was still the woman in her house. She didn't feel ready to share all her boys with another female just yet.

''No Tempe. I'd have a football team if I could, you know that.'' Booth was sincere, he thought a girl might be nice some day but he was more than happy with a houseful of boys.

''Good. What are we going to call him?'' Bones had refused to discuss names through her pregnancy, she didn't want to admit it was a superstition because she didn't believe in those but it was.

''Not sure.'' Booth had not really chosen his other kids names, their mothers had although he felt they were good names which suited the kids they were given to. He had so many different ones he liked that he felt spoilt for choice.

''I have an idea. What about Nathaniel?'' She heard it on the radio and liked it. When she looked up the meaning she was surprised that it still seemed perfect to her. She thought she knew why now.

''It's a good name Bones. We could call him Nate but its very biblical.'' Booth liked it but he knew he had to be honest just in case Bones didn't realise.

''I know. It means 'a gift from god'.'' She said stroking the soft skin of the baby's forehead with her finger. He was sleeping with his little fist tight against his cheek, every so often he would suck furiously, his cheeks puffing in and out. Her heart was completely over taken.

''But you don't believe in God, Temperance.'' Booth smiled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

''Don't tell anyone but…'' She bent her head to his ear and whispered.

''Maybe today, I do a little.''

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It is done, my novel is complete and I feel bereft just like Bones when they took Nate from her. I know some of you will be upset that the baby was a boy but it just seemed right. Instinct or something. Women like Tempe don't really have girls, the research seems to say so anyway. Driven, career minded women have boys, they think it's the hormones. Any way I like the idea of her being the queen bee of the house, it suits her. I also think a new boy in the house would be interesting for the dynamics. Half brothers and all that.I like my family and will miss them. I like to believe that they are alive and well in fanfictionland.

Plus most stories on this site that are about Bones having a baby make it a girl and I just wanted to be different. I am really sorry for those of you who are upset, I hope it didn't ruin the story for you. You can always imagine that Angela's baby is a girl if it helps.

I began this story to show the type of woman I thought Tempe was underneath it all and the sort of woman she might become in the right family. I think I achieved that. Her metamorphosis is complete.

It also ended up being the story of the struggle to blend families, something we all seem to have experience of.

Thank you for all your reviews and wonderful feedback. I will miss you all.

I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I will have to find something else to do now as it is still raining. I suppose I could clean the house.

Laters. XX

PS I survived the thunderstorm.