Note: Yikes! It's the last one. This one has a very minor fight. Very, very minor. I hope you enjoy anyway.
Is it Zack or Zach? You'd think I would walk across the room to see how it is spelled on the DVDs. You would be wrong.
For those who were wondering, here's who suggested the winning word for each letter:
Airport – me
Book signing – me (I think)
Cohabitation – me
Drawing – angrockman13
Eavesdropping – 7
Fears – Quirky-Misty
Gravy – Incendiary Device
Honeymoon – ImLovely
Intuition – ImLovely
Jealous – , sleeplessinatlanta, Viktorija, Poetgirl925
Key – Viktorija, Mythbusturr
Locksmith – Cricketmadalice
Magic – bobbins34, queen-of-the-lab123, felixlee14, Miss Klutz
Nose – sleeplessinatlanta, queen-of-the-lab123, Kevin The Burrito
Over – sleeplessinatlanta, queen-of-the-lab123,
Pumpkin – I thought someone suggested this one, but I can't find the e-mail.
Quit – pandarabbit
Relationship – Viktorija
Saint – Real Anime Lover 300, Viktorija, Cat1030
Tabloid – stormbinder22
Uno – Trinitystargazer3
Valentine – tvnut014
Whipped – tvnut014
X-rated – NatesMama
Yearbook – DakotaaB, Poetgirl925, tvnut014
Zack – 7, ariacle, tvnut014, Occasionly4eyes
Thanks to all who reviewed – especially those who came back after the site started working again to review.
Here are your suggestions for Z:
Zipper, zest, zero, zebra, zillion, Zack, Zeus, zealot, Zen, zoo, zoology, Zorro, Zap Brannigan, zygote, zinc, Z's, Zionism, zephyr, zeppelin, zipline, zabernism, zoolite, zigurat, zales, zucchini, zoologist, zilch, zealous, Zackaroni
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Relationship status: Set in the future
Brennan sat on the back porch of the old house admiring the way the setting sun glanced off the brilliant red leaves of the old maple tree in the backyard. The air was crisp and there was a hint of frost in the air.
The house was full of laughing, happy people. As much as she loved them, the chaos was overwhelming. Here on the back porch, she was able to clear her head and think.
Forty years ago, she had left university, ready to take on the world. She had dedicated her life to forensic anthropology, hoping to be able to help others get answers she hadn't been able to get for herself.
She was good at what she did. She traveled the world, studying ancient remains and identifying victims of genocide. She got a job at the prestigious Jeffersonian Institution.
She met Angela and they became good friends. They were – well, are – very different people, but somehow that strengthened their friendship.
She started to write novels. It was hard at times – she has never been a people person – but it was a way for her to get under the skin of normal people. It helped her understand and sympathize with others a little more.
She met Booth. At the time, she had no idea that that was a moment that would change her life. It did. He did. He dragged her out of the lab and into the real world.
They faced danger together. They faced death together. Somehow they survived.
They were partners. They became friends. The transition into lovers was so natural she's not entirely sure how it happened.
They dated. They moved in together. She had lived alone for a long time, and she was worried that she would resent having someone underfoot all of the time. To her surprise, she liked it. She liked having someone care when she got home late. She liked having someone to share her burdens with. She liked having someone to worry about.
One day, she found out she was pregnant. She was happy. Before she met him, she hadn't wanted children, but now she was ready. Before their little girl was born, they got married. (She didn't think marriage was necessary to prove their commitment to each other, but she agreed that the legal protections were important.)
Life wasn't always easy. They were both opinionated people with important, high-stress jobs. They argued about trivial things and about important things. Though they disagreed, they always respected each other.
There were happy times – weddings, births, graduations, commendations, book releases. There were sad times – the death of her father, the miscarriage of their second child, the car accident Parker was in right after he got his license. There were nights when she stayed at the lab, too angry to come home. There were nights when he slept on the couch, too hurt to join her in their bed. Somehow, they made it through.
The wind picked up and she was considering going back inside when she heard the door open and her husband walk out.
"I thought I'd find you here."
She turned her head to greet him, a smile on her face. "I just needed some space."
Noticing the small shiver she tried to hide, he sat down behind her, putting his arms around her. "I can understand that. Our family can be a little overwhelming."
She snuggled in against him. "They are our family, aren't they? Angela, Hodgins, Cam, Sweets, Jared, Russ, Amy, all of the kids, they're all our family."
"Yeah, Bones, they are."
"Is he here yet?"
Booth's arm tightened around her. "Not yet, Bones. He called. He's running late."
"I told you that you should pick him up, Booth."
"I know, Bones. I offered. He wanted to get here on his own. He says something about it being part of adjusting to life outside of the loony bin."
"If you had picked him up, he'd be here by now."
"I'm sure he'll be here soon."
"I don't want him to miss the party."
"He'll be here, Bones."
They sat in silence for a moment, until Brennan asked, "Do you still feel responsible for what happened to him?"
His jaw clenched. "Yes. Do you think I'm responsible for what happened to him?"
"I think I'm responsible for what happened. He was my assistant. I should have known something was going on."
"We all should have, Bones. Maybe we could have stopped it. But you know what? Zack could have stopped it. I wish he had."
"Me too, Booth."
They sat in silence, listening to the sounds of the party going on without them.
Finally, Brennan stood up. "I'm getting cold. Let's go in."
Booth stood and took her hand as they walked into the house.
The party was in full swing inside. The dining room table was full of a variety of finger foods, the trays now half empty. Throughout the main floor, small groups were standing around chatting. Parker's daughter and Michelle's two sons ran from room to room chasing each other until Angela tired of it and banished them to the basement. From the den came the sounds of the older kids playing video games.
The doorbell rang and Brennan went to answer it. "Zack!" She wrapped her arms around him, happy that he had arrived at last.
Zack returned the hug. "It's good to see you, Dr. Brennan."
Booth held out his hand. "Zack. Glad you could make it. Bones was worried you'd miss the party."
Zack grabbed Booth's hand and shook it. "Agent Booth. I'm glad I could join you. I'm sorry I'm late."
"It's just Booth now, Zack. I'm retired. Come on, let's get you something to drink."
The day was filled with laughter, good food, and the company of friends. Angela seemed to have been keeping a list of women she wanted to introduce to Zack and every couple of minutes she would extol the virtues of another one. Sweets's son had just started university and was sharing what he'd learned so far with anyone who would listen.. Parker hovered attentively around his pregnant wife. Booth kept a close eye on Hodgins and Zack, concerned that they would blow up the house in an ill-advised experiment. As it got later, those with young children left to put the kids to bed. Soon the others headed home as well and Booth and Brennan were left alone.
They sat on the couch, Booth's arm around her.
Finally, Brennan spoke. "Zach looks happy."
"Of course he looks happy, Bones. He was in a mental hospital for thirty years. He must be thrilled to be out."
"Do you think he'll be OK? Zack was never good at understanding the real world."
Booth reached out, his fingers idly playing with her hair. "He's smart. He'll figure it out."
"And we'll help him."
"Yeah, Bones. That's what family does."
"Most people don't have families like ours."
"No, they don't. We've never been like most people."
She laughed. "That's true."
They sat in silence, enjoying each other's company. Finally Booth stood, pulling Brennan to her feet. "Come on, Bones. Time for bed. Tomorrow is a new day."
And … that's it. I still have a couple of fight scenarios that might someday be written, but not as part of this story. Also, a couple of these will be expanded (if they start cooperating). People have requested that I expand X-Rated and Over. I've started X-Rated, so hopefully it will be up soon. Over will follow. If you have any other ones you'd like expanded, let me know.
Thanks so much to all of you for your suggestions!