AN: Hey there guys. I'm glad you've been enjoying this story and as you can see, this is in fact the last chapter of this story. Sad I know, but hopefully the ending makes up for the sadness. Two things before I go. One, I am having a second boy due December 15th. Second, I'll be starting a new story under my alternate penname upncomer called 'Amazing Grace'. It's a sequel to 'Here comes Santa Claus'. If you haven't read that one or any of the stories under that penname, please do. With that, I hope you enjoy this last chapter and hope that you look forward to my other works. Thanks for reading.
Wind gusted around Booth as the snowfall lessened, coating the cold city quietly. The evening was peaceful around him as he kept his hands clasped before him, taking in long calming breaths. Booth wasn't sure what had happened, but something had changed; he could feel it.
As the strains of the Christmas carol died down, Booth felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and looked at the priest standing over him.
"You'll catch your death of cold out here Seeley. What are you doing out here instead of in service?" Booth stood hastily and looked at one of the priests serving his parish.
"Father Richardson, you know me?"
"Of course I do son, and I've got to say you've a fair amount of people worried about you. Please, come in and warm up." Booth nodded and pulled himself to his feet with a wince. A smile broke out on his face as he limped into the church behind Father Richardson. Halleluiah, his feet hurt! He touched his eye and winced as pain shot through his face from the puffy skin around the orb. Brent had still punched him. He was back. Thank the Lord and St. Anthony, he was back!
As he entered the church, the warmth of the building began to seep into his bones, warming him. He wouldn't have noticed though as a pair of arms wrapped around his waist.
"Dad! I prayed for you," Parker said as Booth crouched down to properly hug him. "I was so sad for you and wanted you back."
"Thank you Parks," Booth replied and glanced up at Rebecca. She had her hands in front of her mouth as tears streamed down her face. Seeley stood up and pulled her into the hug as well as Brent stood back to give them a private moment.
"Seeley, I'm so sorry. Dr. Brennan called me after you left and explained what was going on. We're all so worried about you, I thought…" She shook her head and buried it into his shoulder.
"Hey, it's okay. I'm okay." Booth gave them both another squeeze before he pulled back away from them. Rebecca looked at him and tilted her head in confusion.
"Well I don't know what happened to you, but whatever it was, I'm grateful. You don't seem quite so lost anymore." Booth smiled at his ex and pulled his son in closer to his side. In the main body of the church, the service continued on oblivious to the reunion. Seeley glanced up at the stained glass window depicting St. Anthony holding the Christ child and offered a small nod of thanks.
"I had a little help finding my way back. You said Bones called you?"
"Yes, she's very worried about you. I think we should get over there right away." Rebecca reached for his hand and led him and Parker from the church as Brent followed them out. "I'm sorry for how I reacted earlier, you know at the house. I know you've been…" Rebecca shook her head and turned to look at Booth as he sat in the backseat of Brent's SUV with Parker. "Anyway when Dr. Brennan called and explained what was going on I made a decision. You can have Parker as much as you'd like until you go back to work. I should have paid more attention when you came to me earlier."
"Thank you Rebecca, but I still have a few things to work out."
"No you don't dad. Bones took care of everything." Booth glanced at his son with a bit of a frown.
"What are you talking about Parks?" His son broke into a grin as they took off for the forensic anthropologist's apartment.
"I think you'd call it a miracle dad." Booth smiled at his son and ruffled his hair. He really doubted that he could have any more of a miracle than what he'd already experienced this evening. It just felt so good to have his family back, his life back that there really wasn't anything that could top what he was experiencing.
The drive to Brennan's didn't take long, and Booth found himself curious about what was going on. He could see the lights on in her apartment and people walking around. He was sure that Angela was still there, but wasn't sure who else would possibly be at her apartment at this hour. His silent question was answered when everyone got out of the car and headed up to the fifth floor apartment.
"Becs, what's going on?" Booth turned to look at his ex when she knocked on the door. Rebecca just turned and smiled at him as she bounced on her toes a bit.
"You'll see. Sheesh, you never were one for surprises." When the door swung open, Booth immediately felt a pair of arms wrap around him.
"Oh thank God, Booth you're alright." Before he could respond, Temperance kissed him on the lips and pulled him into the apartment. "We were all so worried."
"Who is we," Booth asked before going silent at the group gathered before him. Suddenly he felt as though he'd been thrust into an episode of 'This is your life' without being told he'd be a guest. Besides Rebecca, Parker, Brent and Temperance there were so many others gathered at the apartment that he was in shock. Angela, Hodgins and Cam had shown up along with the recent slew of interns. He could understand the first three, but wasn't quite sure what the interns were doing there. He wasn't going to question it however as he continued to look around. Cullen, Sweets and Caroline had shown up along with Max, Russ, Amy and the kids. It was strange to see the group of them there together. Cullen always seemed ill at ease around Max, not that Booth could blame him. Hank, Jared and even his grandfather were in the apartment.
"I'm not sure why you didn't come to any of us for help with your current situation, but after you left I picked up the papers you threw on the floor. I'm sorry if you didn't want anyone to know what was going on but…" Brennan started out as she looked at Booth but quickly averted her eyes as he stared back at her.
"It's not my place to ask for help," Booth responded and gently brought a hand up to Brennan's chin so she'd look at him.
"Dude, that's so ridiculous. With as much as you've either helped us out or saved our asses over the years if anyone deserves a little help in a time of need, it's you," Hodgins said.
"Consider this little gathering a Christmas gift for you from all of us," Booth's grandfather stated as he looked at his stunned grandson. "You do so much for others that it's time everyone give back to you for a change."
"What is it that's being given back," Booth asked the group at large, still stunned that they were all gathered there for him.
"I hope you don't mind, but after you left here earlier I went over to your apartment and looked through your household files," Temperance said. Suddenly Booth understood. "Between myself and Hodgins we were able to straighten out your finances."
"Bones, you didn't have to."
"I know we didn't have to, but that's what partners do right? They help each other out." Temperance offered him a shy smile and Booth pulled her into a hug.
"I don't know what to say, really."
"Cher, just kiss her and it'll make all of us happy," Caroline said from her place in the room. Everyone laughed, but Booth did as he was told. He knew when to argue with the attorney and when to do what she said. He leaned down and captured Brennan's lips with his as the others in the room let out cat calls and applause.
Booth watched from the couch as his friends and loved ones mingled and enjoyed themselves. Christmas music played on the stereo and the overall mood was incredibly joyful. He turned as his grandfather sat down next to him and looked at the group of people as well.
"It looks like you've got quite a few people who love you Seeley,"
"Yeah, I guess I really do."
"You know, when Jared called me saying that you were in trouble, I knew I had to get down here right away. All I could think about was what almost happened when you were fourteen. You could have come to me you know. I'd never judge you for anything." Booth smiled at his grandfather before he looked back at the group, his gaze settling on Temperance as she spoke with Jared and her brother.
"I know. I should have gone to someone, but I didn't feel like I could. I didn't need to burden anyone else with my problems, but something happened tonight that made me realize that my life isn't bad at all. In fact, it's pretty damned wonderful."
"From what I heard you were in a pretty bad place. What changed your mind?"
"I had a little help finding my way back." Booth watched his grandfather smile and get up from the couch. Before this evening he never would have believed that he had such a base of support, but now he was grateful for all of the people in his life that cared about him. It didn't matter to them that he was having problems. Instead of turning away from him, they'd rallied together for a show of support he'd never expected in a million years.
As he returned his attention to Temperance, he found her looking at him, and when their eyes met, she smiled at him with that shy little smile she saved just for him and reached out her hand, beckoning him to her side. As he got up to join her he knew one thing for sure. It really was a wonderful life.