December – Seven months later
Temperance ran for the door as the knocking on it persisted. The large house she and Booth had purchased only a month earlier was packed full of family and friends. Lights twinkled merrily from the decorated tree, and garlands were strung across just about every surface available, while blue and silver decorations hung all over.
"Coming," Brennan yelled toward the door as she sidestepped one of the many Booth children running around. As she reached the door and pulled it open, she was enveloped in a hug around her waist.
"Merry Christmas Bones," Parker said when she hugged him back. She ushered him inside and watched for a moment as he ran off to play with his cousins.
"Thank you for dropping him off Rebecca. I know that Booth really appreciates getting him tonight and all day tomorrow."
"Hey, it's no problem. Seeley deserves it I think."
"Would you two like to come in for a bit? We have plenty of food and drinks, plus I think we have a gift for you under the tree." Rebecca's eyebrows shot up and she glanced at Brent.
"I would love to, but we don't want to impose."
"You're family, it's no imposition. Come on," Brennan stepped aside to allow them in the house. As Rebecca followed Brennan to the living room, Booth came bounding down the steps.
"Bones, what in the world is your father wearing? Oh, hey there Rebecca." He waved at his ex before sweeping Brennan into a hug and kissing her cheek. Temperance glanced around him and looked at her father, warmth spreading through her chest as memories flooded her mind. Max sat in a large overstuffed chair by the fireplace. He had on a white button down shirt with red slacks and a green blazer. When he saw his daughter looking at him, he smiled and offered her a little wave.
"It's a tradition thing. He used to wear something similar to that when Russ and I were kids every year for Christmas. It was sort of his way to be festive. The last time I saw him wear that was when I was fourteen."
"Ah. Well, to each his own. Brent would you like a beer or something?" As Rebecca's fiancé nodded in the affirmative, Booth took off to the kitchen.
"I can't believe how quickly you've adapted to the Booth clan. The only time I met them was at my baby shower." The blonde shook her head in amazement as a group of children ran past, laughing loudly as they chased each other.
"They're wonderful people." She smiled as she looked over the room filled with her various families. There was Booth's family of course, but also her father, Russ, Amy and the girls along with the team from the Jeffersonian. She saw Angela motioning her over and nodded. "Rebecca, if you'll excuse me."
"Oh of course." Brennan left as Booth returned with a beer for Brent and a glass of eggnog for Rebecca. She wound her way through the packed room until she reached Angela.
"Sweetie, Jack and I have to leave soon. We have a plane to catch. But before we go, I want you to open my gift."
"Angela, you didn't have to get me anything."
"That's the beauty of it, I didn't get you anything. I made it." Angela held out a package that had been leaning against the wall next to the Christmas tree. Brennan looked at its shape, noting immediately that it was a picture of some type.
"You made it huh?"
"Yep, and since it's tradition to open one gift on Christmas Eve, this is your gift." Brennan quirked a smile and shook her head as she pulled off the gold wrapping paper. Once it was unwrapped, she looked at the picture and gasped.
"Angela, I…" She shook her head, suddenly unable to respond. Instead she threw her arms around her friend's neck and hugged her tightly. Angela brought her arms around Brennan's shoulders and hugged her back.
"You just described her so beautifully, and since she couldn't be here, not that she would be here by now…"
"Thank you Ange." Brennan let go of her friend and picked up the picture once more. There, on canvas was Mira. She appeared to be backlit by golden rays of sunshine, her auburn curls shining a deep garnet color. Temperance traced her hand over the little girl's features, not worrying about the tears that wet her cheeks. "She's perfect."
"I just wanted something that would allow you to remember her, you know?"
"There's no way I could forget her." She stared at the picture a little longer before setting it down once more. "I know it sounds silly, but I know I'll see her again."
"It doesn't sound silly at all Sweetie. It sounds like faith." Angela hugged Brennan once more before pulling away. "We've got to go now. I'll see you after the new year."
"Merry Christmas Ange."
"Merry Christmas to you too Bren." Angela picked up her purse and picked her way through the crowded room, stopping only to grab Jack as he talked with Russ.
"What did you get from Angela," Booth asked as he made his way over to her. When he saw her crying, he'd been concerned, but she didn't seem to be upset with anything.
"She painted Mira for me," Temperance said as she wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head on his shoulder. Booth kissed her hair and pulled her closer to him.
"We'll have another," he murmured into her hair.
"I know," she said and pulled back to look up at him. His eyebrows arched high up in surprise.
"What, no argument on your end?"
"Booth, seeing Mira…I can't explain it. She just made me feel whole." Brennan shrugged, unable to adequately explain how she was feeling. "Everything that happened, it made me realize that there is something out there looking out for us. Maybe we were drawn together by it, or maybe it was just a coincidence that we met, but whatever the reason, I'm grateful."
"Me too babe." He kissed her on the lips and pulled back laughing at Parker's loud 'eeewww'.
"Hey bro, I thought the gift exchange was later," Jared said as he spied the picture at their feet. "We changing that and opening them now?"
"I don't see why not. Max, are you up to playing Santa?" Booth grinned over at Max Keenan, who seemed perfectly content in his chair.
"Sure. Who's my helper?" Parker ran up to Max as he bounced excitedly on his toes. "Great. Parker, why don't you grab a present from under the tree and you can pass them out okay?"
"Okay!" The seven year old bounded to the tree and dug for the gifts at the bottom of the pile. There had to be one for him down there somewhere.
The fire in the hearth was nothing but embers as Temperance snuggled up to Booth's side. Parker was asleep in his lap as he took a nap before Midnight Mass. The room was a mess of wrapping paper and dishes, but neither cared as they watched the gentle red glow from the fire place.
"You never opened a gift from me," Brennan said as she glanced up to his face. He smiled at her and brushed his lips across hers.
"Well, I had to save some presents for Christmas day."
"There are plenty left under the tree, and I hear it's tradition to open one on Christmas Eve."
"In that case, I've already got several Christmas Eve gifts."
"True, but you haven't gotten one from me." Booth chuckled and shifted, trying not to wake up Parker.
"You really want me to open one, don't you?"
"Is it that obvious?" Temperance climbed off the couch and rummaged around under the tree until she came across the box she was looking for. Picking it up, she handed it to Booth and looked suddenly nervous. Glancing once at her, and curious about what she could have bought him that would make her nervous, he lifted the lid off of the box and peered inside. Wrapped in tissue paper was a single black and white photograph. The image was tough to make out, and a little grainy, but it was unmistakable.
"An ultrasound photograph? Yes."
"Seven weeks along yesterday." Booth enveloped her in a hug, holding her tightly to him. As she hugged back, she glanced once at the picture leaning against a wall and smiled. The past months had given her so much insight into her beliefs and a second chance at life. What it had done most of all though was give her the one thing she'd prayed for. She'd been given a family, and couldn't ask for a bigger blessing than that.