A/N: So I'm not new to FF but I'm relatively new to the Bones community. I'm also new to the new format for uploading and editing stories, so please bear with me.
I don't ever like character death stories, but I know a lot of us writers sometimes get them stuck in our heads and cannot do or write anything else until they are out. I have been beating this one back for months and finally decided to just write it. Also, for now this is a one-shot but it enough people like it and hop on board with reviews and follows, I may be motivated to continue it.
Disclaimer: I unfortunately do not own Bones (the show or any of the characters.) The only things that are mine are Olivia and my great love for Booth and Brennan. That being said, this story is my own, so please do not take any of it in part or in whole. Please do not take my existing or future characters. Thank you so much!
I ran my fingers through her silky golden brown curls. Her long feathery lashes swooped down over her big chocolate eyes and her perfect pink lips puckered into a pout.
"Mommy, where's Daddy?" She asked for the umpteenth time.
My already shattered heart splintered a little more every time I saw the longing for him in her eyes. I couldn't stop the tears that bubbled over my lash line, so I let them fall as I pulled her closer to me.
"Bones?" The spitting image of him called to me. I looked up to see my step son approaching me. Now sixteen years old, he was so close to being the man Booth had always wanted him to be. He reached out and took my hand, squeezing softly before gently picking up his baby sister.
"I will get her dressed so you can have a minute to yourself." I nodded my thanks.
"You want her in the black skirt and purple shirt on her bed?" Again I could only nod.
I stood slowly as Parker carried Olivia to her bedroom. I walked to the room Booth and I had shared for four years. His very essence was in the walls. I could still smell the faint tinge of his cologne. His dirty clothes lay scattered across the floor. His toiletries were lined up against the mirror on his side of the bathroom counter. His colorful ties still hung neatly above his shoes in the closet. The sheets on his side of the bed were still wrinkled, as though he had only gotten up from them a few hours ago. Seeing him all around me was hard, but I knew that if all traces of him were absent from our home, it would be even more difficult.
I pulled a black pencil skirt from the closet that we had shared only 72 hours previously. I stared at my colored blouses for a long time. Booth had once told me how much he hated the doom and gloom of funerals and that if he ever died, I should wear something with color. To honor his wish, I finally settled on a dusty blue button up that he had always loved. He said the color matched my eyes exactly and he never seemed to be able to keep his hands off me when I left the top few buttons undone. I slipped into some heels and put on the necklace he had given me on our last anniversary.
Parker peeked his head into the bedroom and appraised the clothing I had chosen. He smiled softly and I realized it was because he was wearing a shirt in the same color as the one I had only just put on.
"Olivia is dressed. Are you ready to go?" I searched Parker's eyes for a moment, seeing the desperate heartache that he tried so hard to cover with a guise so brave it only crushed my heart more. He was trying to be strong for his sister and for me. I finally nodded my head and moved forward to find my daughter.
My sweet three year old was standing in the living room, looking at the family picture on the side table. Her finger was still on top of the glass and as I drew closer, I saw that it rested over Booth's face. To what extent a three year old understands death, I'm unsure, but in that moment I knew that Olivia understood that she would never see her father again.
I was in a daze through most of the funeral. I couldn't ground myself in the reality that I was going through this for real. When Booth's death had been faked so long ago, I was attached to him but not nearly to the degree that I was now. He was part of my soul, if I had one. Booth had been the key that unlocked my hurt and fearful heart. He had been exactly what I needed to allow people to grow close to me again. He was so tender and patient with me and loved me so completely for who I was from the very beginning. Although it took us six years and a baby for us to get it together, I had loved him all along as well.
Booth always spoke of fate and soul mates. He told me how two people are just meant to be together and if they are lucky enough to find each other, they can have thirty, forty or fifty good years of loving each other. Booth had promised we would get those fifty years.
When the director of the FBI finished speaking, I finally snapped back to reality. Booth was gone. My husband, best friend, partner and so much more was dead. My heart surged inside my chest and I felt the tidal wave of sorrow try to consume me. I pushed it back as friends and loved ones walked toward Olivia, Parker and me. With my composure dangling by a thread, I nodded, hugged and shook hands when appropriate.
When our friends, who were really more like family, approached I wanted so badly to reach for Booth's hand. Stark reality hit me like an atomic bomb when I realized I would never be able to hold his hand again. I could never touch him or kiss him again. I could never curl up in his arms after a long day and just soak him in. I would never again feel his hand on the small of my back while working a case. I wouldn't feel his breath whisper over the back of my neck when he wanted to share something with my ears alone. I would never again experience the electric shock of his hands on my body when we made love.
The string that was keeping me together snapped as Angela pulled me into her arms. I let out the gut wrenching sob I had been withholding and was only mildly aware of Olivia's head snapping up to gape at me. I glanced down and saw the fear written across her face; the face that so very much reminded me of him.
Cam quickly scooped Liv up in her arms and Hodgins pulled Parker into a tight hug. Knowing my family was surrounded by love and care, I allowed myself to relax into the safety net of family. I let the sobs come harder as Angela held me close. She had been by my side through everything, even before Booth had come into my life. Even though I knew my world was careening to the ground, I knew Angela, Hodgins and Cam would be there to help me pick up the tiny pieces and put them back together as well as they could.
A few minutes passed and I saw Rebecca approaching the group slowly. Even though she wore a mask of strength and composure, her red puffy eyes betrayed her true emotions. She pulled me into a tight hug and stroked my hair.
"Temperance, I'm so sorry. I can't believe – I'm so, so sorry." Her voice cracked at the end and tears welled in her eyes as I leaned back from the hug and took her hand.
"Rebecca, we both lost someone important. It's okay for you to be upset too." She needed to know it was okay and safe for her to grieve as well.
"But Temperance, he was your husband. He was your best friend and your partner. I shouldn't be crying – "
"Rebecca, he was the father of your son. You loved him once. This is just as much your loss as it is mine and Parker's and Liv's."
Rebecca nodded and stepped back into my embrace. After a moment, she looked up and saw Parker standing a few feet away.
"Hey sweetheart. Come here." Parker hesitated and looked at me. I nodded and held my arm out, welcoming him into the warmth of his two mothers. Together, Rebecca and I held 'Mini Booth' and for the first time since receiving the news, he cried.
I allowed Rebecca to pull him to the side and walked away to find Olivia. Angela had taken her a few feet away from the gravesite and was talking softly to her under a tree. I watched for a moment as Liv quickly smiled and then just as quickly frowned. I knew she was a smart girl, especially for being only three years old. But my heart was torn from my chest when I knew for sure that she understood what was going on. By the look in her eyes and the fact that she had stopped asking for her daddy, I could tell that Olivia knew Booth was gone.
She heard my soft footfalls on the grass and turned to look at me. Her eyes widened for a moment before she burst into tears. I spanned the last few feet between us and took her into my arms. I spoke softly, shushing her and trying my best to soothe her. From experience, I knew there was absolutely nothing I could say to make her feel the pain any less. I was so broken for her that she had to learn loss at such a young age. And even though I was broken, I was so unbelievably grateful for her existence. She was the very best part of me and Booth and although I longed for my husband, I was glad to have this piece of his heart.
"Mommy?" Olivia's soft voice drew me out of my thoughts.
"Daddy's not coming back, is he?" The clarity of her speech had always astounded me.
"No sweetheart. He went to heaven to be with your grandmother."
Angela's eyebrows rose to her hairline. I shrugged my shoulders and looked back to my daughter. I may not have believed in heaven before Booth's death, but I had to now. He couldn't just be gone and done, right? And for our kids, I had to let them know there was something else for their dad besides death, even if it did seem irrational and improbable.
"So no more bedtime stories?" A hot tear scorched my cheek and I closed my eyes for a moment.
"No Liv, not from Daddy. But I can read to you if you'd like."
I saw her mentally weigh my offer and ultimately come to no conclusion. Instead, she leaned into me and rested her head on my chest. Her sniffles and shuddering told me she had begun to cry again and for the first time in her short life, I wished that she wasn't so smart.
I never knew I could weep as much as I did in that first month. I took time off from work and holed away in our home. I sat on the couch all day, allowing Liv to watch cartoons while I acquiesced to my sorrow. Since Parker had entered high school, he had lived with us in our two story home. It was closer to the private school he attended and allowed him to be at the lab when we wanted.
In the short time since Booth's death, Parker had sunken into me. At first I was surprised, because the teenager was exactly like his father and I assumed he would withdraw and stay to himself. But I was the closest thing he had to his father and he and Liv were the closest things I had to him. Together, we worked through the sorrow that Booth's death had caused.
Angela came over a lot those first few months to make sure we were all eating and showering. She would sometimes take Olivia to the park or to get ice cream. She wanted to make sure I could still grieve but allow Olivia to have some normalcy back in her life.
By Booth's birthday, I still didn't feel any peace. I still missed him so much it made me want to throw up. His side of the bed was a frigid black hole and I avoided it at all cost. Even though I had never felt pain that consuming before, I knew that I needed to change things to bring our lives back to a semblance of normal. Parker had to return to school and Olivia needed a mother who wasn't a ghost. They both needed me more than ever because they were missing one of the most important people in their lives.
Little by little, the edges of the pain ebbed somewhat. It was still a struggle to get up in the morning and I still hated being anywhere that reminded me of him; which coincidentally was just about everywhere. I still cried when I found one of his striped socks in the laundry or happened upon some knickknack of his that had been lost under a dresser or chair. Every time I had coffee or his favorite ice cream, the space inside my chest where my heart once was, seized.
I still could not enter the FBI building and out of courtesy and respect, Sam Cullen had left Booth's office untouched. But when he called me one afternoon, I knew that I needed to clean it out to allow another agent to move in. Removing his belongings from the office felt like removing the last traces of Booth.
At home, his clothes still hung in the closet and his toothbrush was still in the cup in the bathroom. But if I took his stuff from the office, he no longer existed to the FBI. He was gone and that was that. As much as I hated it, I knew the cleaning had to be done soon. When Parker arrived home from school that day, I sat him down and told him what needed to be done. Immediately, he asked if he could accompany me.
The next day was Saturday, but I knew someone would be at the lab. I drove there, remembering every time I had made the exact trip with Booth. My heart ached. This would be our first time at the Jeffersonian since Booth's death.
When we arrived, I sat motionless.
"Bones, are we going in?" Parker asked softly. I nodded and got out of the car. I made my way around the vehicle and unbuckled Olivia from her car seat. We walked into the building together and made our way to the lab.
I paused just before we entered and took a deep breath. Keeping a thick wall of tears at bay, I pushed the doors open and walked through the halls of the place Booth and I used to share. I glanced at Parker and noticed a strange look on his face. It was one of remembrance and I knew that this must be just as hard for him as it was for me.
I walked toward Angela's office and proceeded forward when I saw the floor was illuminated by light. She was bent over her desk, reading through a file. She was in such deep concentration that I didn't want to disturb her. I was about to turn and walk out of the room when she looked up and smiled brightly.
"Hey you guys!" She oozed warmth and love. It was almost overwhelming but I forced my feet to walk and wrapped the arm that wasn't holding Liv around her shoulders.
"Hi." I paused uncomfortably, unsure of how to break the ice.
"Parker and I are going to clean out Booth's office today. I was wondering if you could keep an eye on Liv until we get back." I chose to be straightforward as it had always worked to my benefit before.
"Of course! You guys take your time and Liv and I will just paint or draw pictures." She smiled and reached her arms out for my little girl.
Liv attempted a smile and leaned forward into her unofficial aunt's arms. Angela immediately turned away from me and walked to where she kept art supplies for her son, Michael and my Olivia. When Liv was settled into one of the pint-sized chairs, Angela turned to me and waved.
Taking my cue, I grabbed Parker by the elbow and gently led him from the room. We paused in the hallway, both glancing at my office. By the look in his eyes, I knew Parker needed to go to it as much as I did. My office was the last place we had all been together before Booth was killed.
We walked slowly and as we reached the door, we simultaneously stopped. I reached out and slowly turned the knob. Cold, musty air whooshed through my hair and I stepped into the room that held so many, many memories. Parker flicked on the light and we walked into the room as if we were walking into a shrine.
The room had obviously been cleaned but traces of our life from before the devastation smiled up at us. My lab coat hung on the hook behind the door; Olivia's prized stuffed animal was on the couch. A few of Parker's most-read books were on the table and Booth's favorite coffee mug was on my desk. When I glanced back at my desk, I saw something that I hadn't remembered being there that day.
It was a small box and a letter.
A/N: Sorry for the cliffhanger. Please, please, please review and follow if you like it!