Disclaimer: I do not own Bones nor am I in anyway affiliated with the show or the network.

Brennan POV at the end of Pain in the Heart.


They were all there.

Waiting, and watching. The team; her family, standing outside Zack's hospital room waiting for Caroline to finish… whatever it is Assistant US Attorney's do. Cutting a deal she supposed. Even Sweets was there, though she was kind of regretting not punching him when Booth had urged her to. There was a reason she hated psychology, and she was nobody's lab rat.

She'd always been bad at waiting.

If you knew what I know, you'd understand. You'd be proud of me. The words kept bouncing around in her head and she wished she could find a way to quiet them. She could still feel the echo of stomach-dropping dread when she realized that there was no evidence of artificial dentures on the mandible. That Zack had lied. He didn't make mistakes. Not like that. Didn't he know they were all proud of them? He was their undisputed 'King of the Lab.'

She'd always been proud of him.

Caroline came out, told them she'd cut a deal. She was relieved he wasn't going to prison. He wouldn't do well in prison. Logic; the very thing that had been his downfall was once his biggest strength. She and Caroline had both been right, though she resented being called an egg head. Gormagon had found the weakness in Zack's proverbial armor and had used it mercilessly.

Zack was family.

He was a criminal. He'd killed someone. He'd fit right in. Her parents were bank robbers. She was pretty sure her father killed the deputy director of the FBI. Her brother had done time and broke his parole. She'd set herself up as a potential suspect to free her father. She'd killed two people in the course of her job.

He'd always be family.

As they crowded around the ICU doors she was reminded of another time when Zack had been isolated from his family through glass doors. Only this time things were much more serious than a few days of quarantine and some potentially hallucinogenic shots. She'd put her hand up on the glass, just like his family had done. Because just like he was part of her family, she was part of his. His own family didn't understand him, thought he was strange for working with dead people. But they understood each other.

They'd taken a hit.

After the hospital they all gravitated back to the lab. They needed this, the support of their team. Because even though he was family, it still hurt. They were second guessing themselves and licking their wounds. Booth had been right when he'd told her he'd given Zack something. She'd given him knowledge; she'd brought him into the team. She'd given him acceptance, a place where he could be himself.

It would take time.

There was a lot to do. They'd have to go through each of the 10,000 limbo cases, figure out which skulls were missing canines, find the missing bones from the body that had be hidden. Their security clearance would be suspended as their cases were reviewed, so no field work or analysis for the FBI. Of course, being down a forensic anthropologist would mean that she was tied to the lab anyway. She'd have to find a grad student or two to bring in to help. The labs reputation was tarnished at the moment, and they'd have to fight to repair it.

Tomorrow they'd start to heal.