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Following Pain In The Heart (Season 3 Episode 15.)
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Mom.

He feels the bitter tears falling down from her eyelids, mingling with the ones he tries to stop pouring over his own cheeks.

I've always been proud of you. Her voices washes over him, a far better balm than any that the hospital can provide as it rinses away some the abject horror that has been locked within him in the past months, only to burst forth with the force of a gunshot.

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He is grateful when they still let her in through the days that follow. He tries to ignore the burly man outside his door, and the way that his hands now burn even more.

You broke her heart, you little shit! His brother had screamed as all of his two hundred pounds had been brought to bear on the already ravaged bones and tissue of his hands. He had eventually delivered a message. He no longer had a mother. Or a father. Or sisters and brothers and cousins and aunts and uncles who would all gather around the fire at home in Michigan at Christmas, with him doing his best to act normal to appease their so desperately aimed for perfected normality.

He turns over as much as he can in the small cot and consciously wishes for the first time for a hug.

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Not a word passes his lips about how the damage in his hands has increased from their already horrific levels.

So of course everyone knows.

As he listens to each of the "squints" he used to belong to come through and rant at the injustice he has suffered, he can't help but believe that he deserves it, if not just a little bit.

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The door of the room slides open.

Her eyes are tired and ringed so badly she appears to have been punched repeatedly. But when they fix on him, he can't deny the certainty that she is here with a purpose.

She walks over to the latest X-Rays of his phalanges, the shards of bone and what meagre strips of cartilage remain and the implications of the black and white images obvious to them both.

"I deserve it." He states when she finally turns to face him.

She shakes her head, taking the seat beside him, "Nobody deserves this. Especially not you, Zack."

"My genetic relations differ. I am glad that I will not be a burden upon them anymore." He states calmly, "I do not wish to be a burden anymore."

A hint of despair passes over her face, "What are you saying, Zack?"

"That I would most certainly understand if you desired to cease you association with me. It would be the most logical course of action."

Somehow, the statement about the damned logic that got them all here in the first place is ignored. She gently brushes his hair back from his face with an ease his maternal biological donor never managed with him, "I won't, Zack. I can't."

Long fingers reach down into a bag beside the chair, pulling out a well worn and achingly familiar envelope. Opening it, her voice fills the room, "...I believe you will find a home here at the Jeffersonian, Mr. Addy." She recites from memory, the page in front of her serving only as the tangible key to the words locked in the ink upon the page.

"I did, Doctor Brennan." He states softly, "But what I have done merits that I no longer belong nor am I deserving of a home, and regardless it is extremely unlikely I shall ever be allowed to return to the Jeffersonian."

Her icy blue eyes lock on him, "Zack, Booth taught me that a home isn't simply bricks and glass and metal. It's family. It's always going to be about family." And she reaches out to carefully pull him into her arms, "And you will always be a part of my family."

A young, wiry nurse walks in the room, hastily taking notes on his chart before hitting the morphine drip. Immediately the fuzzy pull of the morphine drags him towards unconsciousness. He mumbles, "Zza make y' my 'doptive mother?"

Once again, her eyes fill with tears as her heart breaks just a little bit more, "Yes, Zack. I suppose it does..."

As the nurse lays a hand on her shoulder, intent on leading her out of the room, she turns around to gently pull the covers up over him, and brush a gentle kiss against his forehead. "Night, Zack."

"Night Mom." He sleepily replies as the morphine pulls him under.

With an exhausted smile hinting at her lips, she turns off the light and quietly slides the door to.

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A.N: ConCrit is greatly appreciated!