Brennan paused in front of the giant oak doors and took a deep breath. The sound of birds chirping from the large trees scattered around the lawn echoed faintly in the high arches above the door. The air was barely scented by fresh flowers and the sweet smell of flowers long since past their prime. She smoothed the front of her long, dark skirt and adjusted the waist of the matching jacket and took the ornate door handle in her hand. Pulling open the door, the sickeningly cloying smell of candles assaulted her senses as did the oppressive size of the mostly filled room. Low murmurs of whispered conversations hovered in the air as she walked down the main aisle to her seat, her heels tapping loudly on the hard wood floors. All eyes on her, the sudden silence was deafening as she made her way to her seat at the front and slid in beside Angela and Jack. She hugged her friend and reached across her to grasp her husbands' hand. Smiling slightly she nodded at Cam and Caroline already seated, their hands resting in their laps. The murmurs started back up, still hushed and then once again abruptly stopped as the last two people entered the large hall, his back straight, his hair as unruly as ever; Parker walked beside his mom looking straight ahead, his face not betraying the emotion that could only be simmering beneath the surface. Rebecca's face was stoic although faint remnants of her tears were still evident on her cheeks and reflected in her red-rimmed eyes. Light, filtered through the high stained glass windows made obscure shadows on the walls and trapped dust motes mid flight, these are what Brennan concentrated on as the man behind the alter rose and began to speak. She allowed his words to drape her as her mind tumbled through memory after memory of the past five years.
When he stopped speaking he allowed the people in attendance to leave through the large back doors, their procession was solemn as they filed outside into the warm, bright day and headed to their cars to finalize the services. Brennan elected to drive herself rather than ride with her friends. She was meeting someone afterwards, and she would need some time to herself before that meeting. She typically did not attend these types of rituals feeling they were unnecessary and didn't have any rationale. Gathered again now with her friends, she felt a small hand creep into hers; looking down she saw his large brown eyes begging her for solace. She squeezed his hand gently and knelt in front of him; he immediately wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight against his smaller frame for a hug. His tears, carefully held in check until now erupted as he held her and she could feel herself losing her tenuous grasp on her own control. Rebecca leaned over and smoothed his curls and then knelt beside him also. He wiped his eyes and released Brennan and turned to his mom. Now too large for her to pick up and hold, she held him close to her side and absorbed his warmth. Brennan touched her shoulder as she rose and the two women shared a sad smile.
The man behind the mound of fake grass and flowers raised his hands again and began to speak; Brennan closed her eyes on the feeling of déjà vu as colleagues and friend alike all spoke words of warmth, compassion and love. Angela took her hand as the commanding officer gave the commands for the traditional military salute. After the echo of the gunshots faded into the sky, the assembled people began to drift away in pairs, meandering through the stone reminders, and white crosses. Angela released her hand as she and Jack and Cam stepped to the side and Brennan waited, sure that this time, like in the past, it would all be a set up. Disregarding the fact that this time there were more people in attendance, and that this time Parker and Rebecca were there, she was sure this was just another clever ruse by the FBI. When she was the only one left, the only one still standing alone by the mahogany box that was to be the place where his body rested, but not his soul, she realized that these circumstances were different.
Angela, Jack and Cam allowed her to stand alone for a few more moments before breaking into her reverie. "Sweetie?" Angela whispered, taking a hold of her sleeve, "Are you ready?" Brennan turned to her and looked blankly past her friend, thinking she'd caught a glimpse of someone familiar behind her and then shaking her head at the absurdity of that focused on what she'd said, "I'm sorry Ange-no, I'm fine, I've brought my car. I'll be going to my appointment and then will meet you back at the lab?"
"The lab Brennan? You can't seriously be considering going to work today?" Angela said her voice thick with sorrow.
"I see no reason why I shouldn't, the rational thing to do would be to continue what I was doing before coming here today." She started to head to the parking area, glancing at her watch she would have a short amount of time to meet the person that she needed to before being able to escape back to the structure that the lab offered.
Jack stepped in and said, "Dr. Brennan, we understand how you feel, but maybe today we could all just step away from the lab, some of the interns and Dr. Sweets are going to the founding fathers, we could join them?"
She looked over at Jack and recognized his concern and what he was trying to do, "Jack, I appreciate what you and Angela are attempting to do, but…for me, I need to go back to work." Angela sobbed softly and Jack took her into his embrace, he held Brennan's eyes and she nodded and turned to her car, "I'll call you later Ange," she said as the three of them separated at the edge of the parking lot. Cam had remained silent throughout the exchange and only spoke to say, "I won't be back to work for the rest of this week Dr. Brennan, you'll be in charge." And then turning on her heel she stalked off, her irritation with her co-worker, and friend obvious to Jack and Angela, and only slightly noted by a still distracted Brennan.
Brennan got into her car and started the engine, as it idled she touched the gold medallion hanging from the rear view mirror, she'd only taken it off once and that was when she arrived at the reflecting pool. Putting her car in gear, she merged into traffic and drove sedately to her destination. Once she arrived, she parked and walked swiftly inside the glass building. Standing in the elevator as it ascended to her floor she felt an unfamiliar feeling in the pit of her stomach. Normally, calm and collected she wasn't sure why she was feeling lost and afraid. She had nothing to fear here, she'd been here many times in the past without any trepidation. The elevator stopped on her floor and she stepped out, holding the door briefly for a couple of men that were getting on. She navigated the myriad of hallways to the large, glass corner office and opened the door.
When she entered the familiar office, the man behind the large desk stood and walked around to greet her, "Temperance, welcome, please have a seat," she hugged him and took her seat as he went back behind the desk. As she took her seat, she caught the eye of the woman in the other seat, Rebecca's face was set in a concentrated effort to maintain her composure, Parker sat idly next to her, his tie loosened and his top button undone in an all too familiar fashion. Clearing his throat, the man behind the desk began to speak, "I know that this is a difficult time for everyone and I'm sorry that we all had to meet under these circumstances, so I'll be brief. The documents are very straightforward and are all in order, so hopefully this will go swiftly so as to not prolong anything. I know you are all anxious to resume a sense of normalcy." Both women nodded at the man as he spoke.
"I'll begin, Rebecca you have been left the bulk of his assets and a trust was established for Parker to be fully matured upon his 25th birthday," he handed Rebecca a stack of documents which she sat on her lap.
"Dr. Brennan, he left you the items documented in this list as well as a personal letter, the content of which has not been read. There was a request included with the letter and I quote, 'Bones-Please read this letter to yourself, and then if you feel you can, share it with Parker and Rebecca. I love you and have for years, there was a time when my grandfather was the closest person to me and I considered him my personal savior, in time I knew that he was going to pass that to you, and he did. You saved me Bones, you may not know it, but you did. I've never regretted even one minute that I've had since you came into my life, including the year after we first met, and most recently the year that we've been apart. My deepest regret is that I will not see my son reach his adulthood and I will miss all the moments in his life, but I ask that you please be with him for those moments, and remind him of the man that he is destined to be. Rebecca is a great mom and I love that she is Parker's mom, I know that you will never intrude on their relationship, but maybe you can help keep me alive inside my son.'" The lawyer stopped, his face slightly flushed at the intimacy of the request. For the first time, Brennan allowed some of the iron control she had to relax as she realized the enormity of his request; he was asking her to teach her son to be like him. Rebecca smiled at her and the look they shared clearly spoke volumes as all the old resentment and hurt that she'd carried towards him dissolved at his request to his partner.
He handed her the letter and she opened it carefully and began to read the cramped handwriting of her partner.
If you're reading this with Parker sitting there looks like I only got a one way ticket over here. I sure wish I could give you one more kiss and war was just a game we played when we were kids. I'm laying down my gun and I'm hanging up my boots, I'm up here with God and we're both watching over you. So lay me down, in that open field out on the edge of town and know my soul is where my Pops always prayed that it would go, and if you're reading this, I'm already home. There was a time when I gave you something of mine to use when you were ready, and I want you to know that I've made provisions for you to have access to all of my files and records as well as the two other samples I had saved for you. I want you to have a baby Bones and I want it to be mine. I know that you are reading this halfway around the world, and I won't be there to see the birth of our little girl (or boy) but I hope that she looks like you and I hope she fights like me and is like the two of us and stands up for the innocent and weak. Tell Pops I don't regret following in his shoes, and tell Jared I hope he is able to find the answers he's been searching for all this time. There's going to come a day when you'll move on and find someone else, and that's okay Bones. Just remember this I'm in a better place where soldiers live in peace and angels sing Amazing Grace and Bones, I'm already home. You are my girl, my partner and my love.
Brennan read the letter twice, her tears no longer restrained and falling freely. Rebecca watched her expression carefully and began to cry herself watching the walls that Brennan had erected so carefully begin to crumble. Parker watched the two of them and wished he was big like his father so that he could make them both feel better. Brennan looked up from her letter and rummaged in her purse for a tissue, wiping her eyes and nose she moved her things to the side table by her chair and beckoned to Parker, "Come here Parker, I want to read you something and tell you some wonderful things about your dad."
Song Story Lyrics attributed to Tim Mcgraw