This epilogue is a fast-forward approximately ten years into their marriage. The soundtrack for the chapter: Lady Antebellum's Hello World. (If you would like a list of all the musical valentines referenced in this story, as some people have requested, please PM me and I will gladly send you a copy.) On my profile page are the links to pictures of the two necklaces I combined in my mind for Brennan's final present from Booth.
It's a very, very strange feeling to be posting this, knowing it's the actual last chapter for this story. My final A/N, after the story, has some thoughts on that, as well as hints of other stories to come.
Here's hoping you enjoy this glimpse into their futures. As always, I'd love to know what you thought. See you in the next story!
Sometimes it felt like life was just one giant snafu after another. First, the unexpected extension of his FBI-mandated conference in New York, which meant he missed Parker's first major varsity game of the season. Next, the half-day delay of his flight in from the FBI-mandated conference in New York, resulting in Brennan being unable to pick him up as originally planned. Then, the 45 minute wait for a cab. And now, trapped in the backseat of a cab, unable to even try his own detour to avoid the bumper-to-bumper DC rush hour traffic.
Booth glared out the window and tapped his foot impatiently in the hopes of actually going more than two miles per hour at some point this evening. His frown faded slightly as a tow-headed little girl in a nearby car pressed her chocolate-smeared face to the window and made a funny face at him. They traded comical grimaces before her embarrassed mother shoed her away, waving apologetically from the driver's seat.
A cop car shrieked by and his bad mood returned quickly. Lately, his job required more and more paper-pushing and less actual footwork. Cullen was deliberately holding him back from fieldwork, watching to see if the unpredictable residual migraines from his relatively recent brain surgery had really receded enough for him to be certified fit again. Booth needed to see some action outside the office ASAP, or he was going to shoot the copier and wind up needing therapy again—and Gordon Gordon was definitively retired at this point.
Booth's phone beeped. He pulled it out of his pocket and flipped it open.
Back in town briefly. Can you & Brennan do dinner on Wed? ~Cam
He texted her back rapidly.
I'll check with Bones. Bring your plane tickets, so I can shred them. We're not letting you leave again! -Booth
He sent the message and sat back, thinking about the last few years and all the changes that had followed his wedding. Sliding that ring on Brennan's finger had almost been like a cosmic domino effect. They got married and in short order: Angela gave birth; Daisy and Sweets eloped and Mr. Nigel Murray won a couple million dollars on Jeopardy. Michelle departed to college and Cam suddenly decided she was due an extended sabbatical of her own and vanished off to Nevada to study ancient forensic techniques in mummification. Her replacement was much less competent and butted heads with Brennan so much that it was a wonder they both weren't brain damaged by now. Booth continued to hold out hope that he could bribe, threaten or otherwise blackmail Cam into returning, even after it became clear that her absence was likely to be permanent.
Shortly after Cam left, Fischer wound up interned for severe depression at almost the exact same time that Zack Addy tried to kill himself, citing a lack of usefulness to society in his goodbye note. His suicide attempt sent the team scrambling to figure out how they'd missed the signals and what could be done to change his mentality. Sweets had pulled multiple strings to get Zack relocated to a facility closer to home so that his family could visit him weekly, and the Jeffersonian team now took it in turns to fly out and see him at least once a month. They were trying to find ways to legally include him more in their investigations, so that he felt needed.
Little over a year into Booth's marriage, his father passed away and six months later Max Keenan waltzed back into town and turned their lives upside down yet again with the news that his pursuers were mysteriously no more. Deciding whether or not to investigate him for murder had led to one of the biggest fights Booth and Brennan had ever had. Then Max vanished again, leaving a gaping crater in their relationship that was still healing.
When life finally seemed to settle into a relatively routine pace, Booth and Brennan started trying for a baby, only to find that Brennan couldn't get pregnant. Predictably, this triggered her relentless scientific side, demanding answers, reasons, solutions. Endless doctor's visits provided no solid conclusions on why she couldn't get pregnant, and two torturous IVF cycles yielded no success. None of this had been easy on Booth, obviously, but it led to a sort of identity crisis in Brennan. Having initially disdained the idea of marriage and children, once she embraced it, not having a viable reason for why she couldn't expand her family left her angry, depressed and bewildered.
Booth hadn't known how to help. Everything he did seemed to make it worse. Thankfully, Brennan had developed enough emotional awareness that she did eventually realize she was blaming him for making her want the children they couldn't have, and Booth in turn realized he was angry at how long she'd stalled on their relationship and wondered whether if they'd tried when they were both a little younger, maybe …
Through it all, the center held, now comprised of Booth and Brennan, but also Angela and Hodgins, who took their place alongside the partners and helped ensure the team remained solid. Watching how the artist and Hodgins drew together as a couple to survive the miscarriage of their second child served as a model for Booth and Brennan as they seesawed their way through those initial turbulent years. When both couples decided to adopt, they supported each other through the long, drawn out process, learning from each other's successes and missteps.
Booth resurfaced from his trip down memory lane, finding the cab driver giving him an annoyed scowl. By law, the meter stopped running once he reached their destination, and Booth wasn't sure how long the cab had been idling in the driveway.
"Sorry." Booth shoved several bills into the guy's hand and climbed out, feeling the weariness from the last few days begin to dissipate as he spotted the blue bike sprawled across the front lawn, and picked his way around the many toys barring the way to the porch. Nearing the front door, he started to grin as the final lyrics of Mad About You floated towards him through the half-open window. Brennan was going through an 80s kick in her musical valentine preferences lately, and his calls home from New York had frequently been punctuated by the background music of ZZ Top, Van Halen, Sting, Bon Jovi—even Tiffany, once, which Booth had no intention of ever letting Brennan live down. But Belinda Carlisle wasn't much better.
Booth stepped inside and loosened his tie automatically as The Cars' You Might Think started up next, preceded by an electric guitar and keyboard intro that he hadn't heard in decades and certainly hadn't expected to find playing in his living room. Nor had he anticipated finding his wife bopping around the carpet with their excitable six-year old and Angela's equally hyper tween.
Becoming a mother hadn't been second nature to her. Just as she had wanted reasons for her difficulty conceiving, she had struggled to understand why the infant they'd adopted screamed endlessly even after being fed or changed or burped. It had taken Booth (and Angela) a long time to convince Brennan that she wasn't a bad mother, and that children didn't necessarily have reasons for everything they did. Typically, her learning curve had proved steep and in short order she'd learned to diaper change, sing lullabies, make up bedtime stories of questionable appropriateness, kiss skinned knees, etc.
Watching Brennan shimmy exuberantly while singing the lyrics along with her adorably off-key dance partners, Booth felt a grin spread across his face that matched his wife's. She was wearing work clothes, meaning she'd probably just picked the girls up from school. Her newly layered haircut bounced lightly with each step she took, echoing the metal jingle of her rings as they swung to and fro on their chain around her neck, occasionally intercepting the zipper on the jacket she had yet to shed.
He leaned against the wall comfortably and watched the antics until Brennan whirled around in a particularly wild dance move that looked like a squint version of an Irish jig and spotted him. She grinned and blushed slightly.
"Sorry for the interruption, ma'am," Booth drawled, digging his thumbs into his belt in TV-cop style. "We got a call about a noise disturbance."
"Hi, Mr. Booth. I'm spending the night." Sanaa, named after the Swahili word for 'art', gave him a smile that was the mirror-image of her father's, then flopped back on the couch breathlessly and reached for Caesar, who was always up for some attention.
"Daddy!" Nadia clomped across the rug in the overly large cowboy boots that she'd insisted on buying at a yard sale. She threw herself against his legs in a tangle of pink princess tutu and white miniature lab coat, paired with a set of plastic handcuffs jammed into her waistband and a bright purple bow in her hair. Angela insisted the little girl was a budding fashion plate. Brennan was more inclined to wonder whether she was colorblind.
"Hiya, squirt!" Booth scooped her up and tossed her into the air, thrilling at his daughter's delighted screams.
Brennan turned the music down and came over to the pair. "Hello, Officer." She leaned in for a necessarily fast kiss that hinted at better things to come. "Are you here to arrest me?"
"Noooo!" Nadia shrieked, twining herself like an octopus around her father's neck and gazing up at him with the same huge green eyes that had wrapped Booth around her tiny fingers the day she was first placed in his arms at three months old. She cozied close, pressing her face into his neck. Booth held her tightly, aware, as always, that here was another person he would willingly kill for. Die for. But it was so much more that he be doubly careful on the job and live a long, long time so he could give her everything she ever wanted and defend her from the outside world, just like he did with her mother.
"Daddy." Nadia poked at his chest to get his attention, then, when he didn't respond quickly enough, she snapped the rubber band he always wore on his wrist as an adjunct to his wedding ring. "You're not gonna arrest Mommy. Right?"
He kissed her head, spun her out in a circle that made her scream ecstatically, and swung her up onto his shoulders, then winked at Brennan as he piggy-backed his squealing daughter around the room. "I don't know, kiddo. Depends on whether your mommy is in the mood to be arrested tonight."
"It's possible that I might be persuaded." She gave him a look which the kids missed completely, but that made Booth's libido go zing.
"Nobody wants to get arrested," Sanaa said. "But it'd be pretty cool, I guess, to tell your friends. My parents got married in a jail."
"A jail?" Nadia echoed in amazement, squirming down to join her best friend on the couch. The girls were as devoted to each other as their mothers, in spite of the age difference. "What did they do?"
Sanaa sighed dramatically. "They fell in love."
"Dad, that car is so sick." Parker interrupted the conversation by appearing in the doorway, greasy towel in one hand, a wrench in the other. "She must've been a beauty before Bones killed her."
Brennan rolled her eyes at the familiar teasing and joined the girls on the couch. Veronica had become something of a joint project, the long hours spent laboring over her corpse helping the three of them to become a family when they were unexpectedly thrust together as an impromptu trio.
"Hey, son." Booth reached out to thump the teenager on the arm, but he shied away with an annoyed scowl. Sixteen was apparently a harder year than Booth remembered, even when he'd never been as good looking as his 6'1 son, who was already built like a linebacker. Pair those muscles with his sense of humor and intelligence, and Parker was considered a prime catch by all his female classmates and then some.
"You took her out last time." The teenager frowned. "When are you gonna let me take her for a ride?"
Booth considered for a moment. It had taken years to rebuild the car, starting with the engine. Pieces of the antique vehicle hadn't been easy to come by, and their work on her had been sporadic at best. It went in spurts—initially they worked on her every single weekend, then every month, then every other month, then half a year went by with virtually nothing, and then they once again returned to a semi-regular routine. Parker had really taken the lead on restoring the vehicle the last year or so, squeezing in time to work on Veronica in between taking AP exams and college credit courses, playing multiple sports, all while playing the field in a way that his father didn't necessarily approve of.
"Tell you what," Booth said thoughtfully. "I owe you for not making that game. You wanna take Veronica out for a spin a little later?"
Parker's eyes popped. "For real?"
Sanaa butted in. "The pictures on the fireplace say Sept. 17th. Today is April 10th."
Booth glanced at the photographs taken by Angela, one of him and Brennan exchanging vows against the backdrop of Havasupai falls, another of their first kiss as Mr. and Mrs., and a third of him carrying a hysterically laughing Brennan straight into the water, wedding dress, tux and all.
"Bones and I … we kind of had two weddings," he explained, trading a meaningful look with Brennan.
"Dad," Parker insisted, before Sanaa could ask more questions. "Seriously?"
"I'll make you a deal. It's Bones and my anniversary. We could use a little time. You take the girls out to dinner in my car, and later on I'll let you drive Veronica for a couple hours."
Parker grabbed both girls by the hands and dragged them towards the door, apparently afraid his father would change his mind. Neither girl minded in the slightest, one being totally enamored of any time spent with her grouchy older brother, the other simply enamored.
Booth trailed the kids outside, making sure Nadia was well-buckled into the car seat and that Parker didn't take out the mailbox as he backed out of the garage. "Don't forget to release the emergency brake. And don't speed. Or get on the highway. Or take her past the gas station. Make sure you adjust your mirrors. Do you have enough gas?" He watched the car disappear around the corner, belatedly calling, "Be back in two hours."
He turned and found Brennan standing on the porch.
"I would never have expected that from you, Booth."
"He's a good kid," Booth muttered, trying not to worry about his 16 year old driving alongside the same morons he'd been stuck in traffic with earlier. "That car is almost as much his as it is ours."
Brennan smiled and crooked a finger in invitation. "I believe you were planning on arresting me." She began to unbutton her blouse slowly, revealing a red bra that he knew she'd worn deliberately to welcome him home.
Booth hurried her back into the house and slammed the door shut with one foot as he pushed her up against the wall and finished unbuttoning the garment. "The things I do to spend time with my wife." She entwined herself around him, letting the sides of her blouse fall open as she framed his face with her hands and kissed him deeply. He returned the kiss with equal fervor and reached back to unsnap her bra. "Did I mention I missed you?"
"Possibly." She shrugged the bra from her shoulders, never breaking the kiss.
"Ahhhhh …." Booth groaned in pleasure at the feel of her soft, naked curves pressing into him. "I'm over-dressed here, Bones."
She worked her way down the buttons on his shirt quickly, shoving back the fabric and going to town on his bare chest with her tongue and teeth, then beginning the same efficient disrobing process with his belt and pants.
"Oh, baby. I … uh … wooOOOW. Bones," he insisted finally, tangling his fingers in her hair and tugging her gently back up to him. He chuckled at the impatient look on her face and held up the small plastic bag he'd somehow managed to extract from his pocket. She shoved the hair back from her face, and shook the contents of the bag into her hand. It was a clove necklace strung on a dark brown silk ribbon, anchored in the center by a large orange magnesite stone.
"Oranges and cloves," she said with a smile. "You never forget, Booth."
He reached up to touch the two rings on her necklace, then nudged them aside and leaned in to kiss the warm skin beneath the cool metal. "Happy anniversary, Mrs. Brennan."
"I have a present for you too."
"Yeah?" Booth continued to kiss his way over her collarbone.
She took both his hands in hers. Eyes locked on his, she guided them to her bare abdomen and rested them there, low on her midriff. "Happy anniversary."
It took him about three seconds to catch up to speed. When he did, Booth's eyes went as wide as Parker's had earlier. "Bones—are you saying you're—we're—you're—"
"Yes." Her eyes went shiny with tears. "I don't know the reason why it finally happened. The doctor confirmed it yesterday."
"Whoa, Bones." Booth gently stroked her stomach in amazement. "Baby."
She smiled and pressed her hands over his. "For once, that is an appropriate use of the noun."
"Holy—wow." At a loss for words, he pulled her in with one hand for a long kiss, keeping the other protectively over her belly. "Ha! We're having a baby, baby! A little brother or sister for Nadia and Parker!"
They danced around the living room exultantly, giddy as the kids had been earlier, then raced each other up the stairs.
Brennan looked up from her computer and found her daughter hovering in the door to her office, clad in pink Miss Piggy pajamas, her curly black hair mussed with sleep and the lines of the pillow still imprinted on her face.
"I had a bad dream," the little girl mumbled, rubbing her eyes with the hand that wasn't clutching a stuffed dolphin. "And there's a monster under my bed that wants to eat my toes."
Once, Brennan would have responded with some kind of commentary about monsters not existing. But by this point she knew very well that they did exist, and that they came in many guises. Even if not Grave Diggers or Gormogons, Toe Monsters were probably every bit as frightening to a small child, regardless of where she'd picked up the idea.
"I know the solution for that." Brennan pushed back from her desk and scooped her daughter up, settling her comfortably on her hip as they walked back towards her bedroom. She paused at a closet to pick up a large flashlight, which she entrusted to Nadia's care. "Flashlights and clean socks," she said in a secretive tone.
"Clean socks?" Nadia yawned.
They arrived at the door to her bedroom and Brennan set her daughter down, keeping a secure hold on her free hand.
"Turn the light on," she instructed. "And stay close to me."
Nadia did as instructed, her eyes wide in the glow of the flashlight. She burrowed into Brennan's leg as the scientist began to explore the room methodically, starting with the closet. They worked their way through each drawer, behind the dresser, between the window blinds, underneath the lampshade, above the bookcase and behind the books, and in the toy chest, by which point Nadia was feeling confident enough to loudly inquire, "ANY MONSTERS IN HERE?" on her own, before firmly proclaiming to her mother, "They must've run away." Her confidence wavered a little as she glanced at the dust ruffle hovering ominously beneath her bed. "But what about the Toe Monster?"
Brennan rummaged through one of the drawers they had just checked and extracted a pair of socks decorated with kittens.
"Put these on," she directed, standing guard beside the bed to make sure no monsters crept out while her daughter was obeying.
When she had finished, Brennan knelt beside the little girl and put her finger to her lips. She leaned in close and whispered in her ear. "Toe Monsters only like dirty socks. If this one gets a taste of anything clean, it'll run away."
"Really?" Nadia whispered back.
"Really," Brennan promised, kicking off her own shoes. "My socks are clean. Let me show you." She stuck her foot out close to the bed and waited. When nothing happened, she inched it closer, feeling her daughter's gaze on her. Still nothing. Finally, she boldly stuck her foot straight under the bed, at which point she felt Nadia stop breathing altogether.
"See?" Brennan retrieved her unscathed food and wiggled her five toes as proof. "It ran away."
"I'm still scared," Nadia confessed, clinging to her side. "What if he comes back? Stay with me, Mommy."
"Okay," Brennan agreed. "And tomorrow we'll come up with a sock trap, to keep the monster away permanently. Daddy can help us build it."
They climbed into bed together, with Brennan hovering on the outside edge while Nadia took up most of the space in the small twin. She rested her head on her mother's chest and sighed deeply. "Mommy?"
"Are you gonna love the new baby more than me? Because it's not 'dopted?"
Even with all she had learned about chasing away Toe Monsters, Brennan still sometimes found herself at a loss when dealing with her sensitive little girl's very sincere questions. She reached for an explanation that Angela had given her own adopted son, Nicholas.
"Of course not, sweetheart. You know how we explained that babies grow in Mommy's womb, right?" she said softly, stroking Nadia's back.
"Well, adopted babies grow in their Mommy's metaphorical heart. That's the only difference. Your daddy and I will love you every bit as much as the new baby. Where you came from doesn't change a thing."
"What's a forical heart?" Nadia mumbled.
Brennan smiled. "The one your head is resting above."
Nadia squeezed Brennan's waist with her strong little arms. "I love your heart, Mommy."
They drifted off to sleep, holding each other tightly.
She didn't have time to collect herself. One moment she was standing in the door of the plane, trying to steel herself to jump out. The next, she was being pushed out the door, before she'd finished settling the parachute on her back.
The cold wind blasted her in the face, ripping the scream from her throat. Brennan tumbled end over end, unable to close her eyes even when she knew that earth would be rushing up to meet her momentarily. She didn't want to die blind. Terror clawed at her chest like a hand from a horror movie, reaching deep inside to cut free her living heart. She steeled herself for the pain.
Then, abruptly, the parachute opened above her with a jolt. It shouldn't have—there was no rational explanation for why the chute opened when it wasn't primed, or even pulled—but it did, and Brennan found herself jerked upwards, then floating downwards again in a gentle sideways sway as the evening breeze buffeted the parachute silk.
She landed with a gentle thud in a damp meadow and stood, stunned, in the middle of a herd of cows who, judging from their lack of interest, seemed to have witnessed the occasional aerial landing before.
Brennan opened her eyes and realized after a moment's confusion that she had fallen out of Nadia's bed. The floor was damp from the cup of water that had been knocked off the nightstand, and a stuffed cow on the floor was lowing softly, its electronic microchip triggered by Brennan's body weight. She shoved the toy aside and got to her feet, rubbing her shin where she had banged it.
She swiveled around and found Booth in the doorway, bare-chested and rubbing his face sleepily, not unlike his daughter had done several hours earlier.
"I heard the thump," he explained, coming into the room and draping his arm around Brennan. She leaned into him and they stood watching Nadia snore peacefully, sounding like a combination of both her mother and father.
Brennan glanced up at Booth's face. There were a few new scars and wrinkles, along with a few strands of gray, but he remained the same handsome man who had charmed his way into her heart in spite of all the obstacles thrown in their way. There were definitely moments when she wanted to run away to where her only responsibilities were to silent remains, which she still understood better than live people, even ones she loved. But she never did, because peace, quiet and scientific credentials meant very little when juxtaposed with the sound of his keys in the door, or stepping off a plane, knowing he'd be waiting in the arrivals lounge.
In similar fashion, watching Booth chase their child around the playground left Brennan with a feeling of deep contentment, especially when he grabbed her and insisted she join in. Sometimes she would be held up at work or at a book event and come home late to discover that he'd made dinner, put Nadia to bed, and waited up in order to eat with her. Or she'd be helping Parker with a homework assignment and hear a loud snore, because Booth had fallen asleep watching a hockey game. The minutiae of daily domestic life were often boring and over-taxing, but the awareness that another person was sharing in the experience somehow mitigated the ennui. It all added up to a great deal of growth together as partners, spouses, parents and human beings, with Brennan accumulating increasing evidence that evolution wasn't confined to bones.
Booth lightly rested one large hand on her stomach and kissed her. "Come back to bed, Bones. You should sleep while you still can. Before you know it, we'll be getting up for feedings every hour of the night again."
"I'm looking forward to it," she replied, lacing her fingers through his and leading him towards their bedroom. "However, I have no desire to sleep at the moment."
They made love slowly, taking advantage of Nadia's temporarily sound sleep. With her instincts now finely attuned to small cries, Brennan slept lightly afterwards. She woke at some point, thinking she'd heard something, but it was only the sounds of Booth. She smiled in the darkness and curled closer to her, enjoying the awareness that the man beside her snoring like a chainsaw was her husband. And she was his wife. If there was any kind of ownership to be had in their relationship, it was mutual. They belonged to each other, a concept which she'd somehow overlooked completely when it came to the whole idea of marriage.
Brennan breathed in Booth and breathed out past loneliness, even if marriage certainly had its share of lonely moments. She closed her eyes and tumbled into dreams of exploring the aerodynamic properties of leaves with Nadia. Eventually she fell backwards into the tall heap and the leaves closed over her, almost covering her face, but before she could become afraid of suffocating, a large hand reached into the leaves and grasped her arm firmly, accompanied by a much smaller hand, with an equally determined grip. She smiled in her sleep, mirroring the expressions on the beloved faces of her husband and daughter as they hauled her upright into the sunshine, laughing.
Final A/N: This story began in late May, approximately 10 days before school let out for the summer. Any teacher will tell you that's one of the worst times of the year to attempt extracurricular activities, but the story grabbed hold and would not let go, so I basically didn't sleep those last ten days, what with attempting to teach one last little bit, administering finals, grading, and writing into the wee hours of the morning. As the summer progressed, and so did the story, I was fortunate enough to meet Eternal Destiny 304. Her endless patience, good humor and keen editorial sense helped mold these 78 chapters—and kept me afloat through many a turbulent day. Both she and Amilyn, whom I also owe a debt of gratitude for editing, advising, and counseling on all manners real-life and Bones-related, have become good friends, albeit ones I've never met face to face. Thank you, ladies. Multumesc mult. Del corazon: Mil y un gracias.
Perhaps unavoidably, the plot arc of Problem Solving frequently coincided with my life. In times of angst, that probably bled through, just as, in times of happiness, the prose may have tended a little toward the silly side. (The carnival chapter comes to mind.) I regret neither extreme, even if some were better written than others: They're all a part of me, and now they're a part of these pages. The destinations in the story are part of my dreams, both the places I'm saving money to return to, and the ones I hope to one day visit for the first time. The songs are ones I've danced to, or ones I dream of dancing to with someone. Booth is my fantasy, from his good looks to his sense of humor, compassion, loyalty and faith. Brennan's insecurities are the mirror image I sometimes see when brushing my teeth.
The story was a part of my life so long that it became a comfort to come home to—an old friend, if you will. In the same manner, feedback from reviewers kept me going on more than one occasion, when I thought I couldn't grade another paper, come up with another lesson plan, field another parent-teacher meeting or find the creative space necessary to write another chapter. If you've ever taken the time to leave me a note, my words in response are as inadequate as Booth's to Brennan in 78, but they're from the heart: Thank you. Please know that you're part of this story as much as I am.
There's a group of you who have been with me from the very first page. You've IMd me, PMd me, emailed me, made suggestions, pinch-hit when my regular betas weren't available, advised me on sundry matters, etc. I don't dare list your names here, for fear of accidentally leaving somebody out and hurting feelings, but you know who you are. The journey of Problem Solving has been mine, yours, theirs, and very much ours. Thanks for keeping me company along the way.
For those of you who have asked, yes, I definitely intend to keep writing. For a while, I will post regular Thursday one-shots (most less than 5000 words), at least until my small backlog of already written stories is used up. At that point, I'll re-evaluate how much time I have to write this semester and let you know my posting schedule accordingly.
Happy New Year! And thank you, again, to all those readers, reviewers and betas who were an important part of my life in 2010.