"Paternal Instincts"

Summary: Bones' young new assistant has a secret…he is Booth's son.

Author's Note(s): Takes place after the whole "Widow's Son" storyline, so Zack is gone.

Warning: This story will contain spanking of a teenager.

Disclaimer: The only character I own is Seth. Booth, Bones, and the Squints I don't own.

Epilogue: Case Closed

So, they'd solved the mystery.

Sarah Jane Sanderson had been killed just after she had abandoned her baby.

Feeling she was too young and inexperienced to raise a child, she had left him where he would be found and appropriately taken care of.

And then she stepped out in front of Ralph Edmond's truck and was run over.

Grief stricken at having killed his 'beloved', Ralph had buried her underneath the apple tree she had always sat under while studying or eating lunch on nice days.

Ralph had lived in near complete social isolation on his farm ever since…waiting for the day when her body would be discovered.

That was it.

Case closed.

Sarah Jane's remains could now be laid to rest next to her parents.

As for her son and his father…

"Do you think she ever loved me?" Seth asked Booth, staring down at his mother's new tomb stone.

"Are you kidding?" Booth asked him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. "I know she did."

"How can you know that?" Seth asked him, grinning.

"Because of where she left you, pal," Booth told him. "At a church, where she knew the nuns would find you."

"Why didn't she just give me up for adoption when I was born?" Seth asked, curiously.

"My guess would be," Booth told him, "is that she had intended to keep you, but once you were born saw she couldn't care for you the way you needed to be and so did the only thing she could think of."

Seth nodded. "At least she did care enough not to just dump me in a dumpster somewhere," he said, sighing. "That helps, I guess."

"And hey," Booth told him, "I love you and so does everybody at the lab."

"And Parker," Seth reminded him, turning around and motioning with his hand.

"Seth, Seth," Parker Booth ran and jumped into his new older brother's arms.

"What's up, little bro?" he asked him, smiling. "You ready to go beat the pants off Dad in football at the park?"

"You bet," Parker said. "You and me against Dad and Sweets. Dr. Bones can be the cheerleader."

"I've never been a cheerleader before," Bones said, smiling. "What if I'm bad at it?"

She and Sweets had joined them from where they had been waiting beside Booth's SUV.

"As long as you don't try any gymnastics," Sweets, whose blue jeans and t-shirt made him look even younger, told her. "I think you'll be all right."

"You ever play football before, Sweets?" Booth asked the young man.

"Uh, no," Sweets said, "but I'm sure you can teach me, right?"

"Yeah, Dad's the best," Parker piped up.

"Well, not everything," Booth said, grinning, "but pretty close."

Seth, Sweets, and Bones all three rolled their eyes at him. Parker giggled.

Booth smiled. "C'mon," he said, chuckling. "Let's go."

With one son on one hip and an arm around the other, the woman he loved walking beside him, and Sweets not annoying him for once Seeley Booth walked back to his car one very content man.

Perhaps not the best at everything he did, but certainly the best when it came to listening to his instincts.

His paternal instincts, that is.

The End.