I don't own Bones, I know I have 206 in my body, but the Bones from Fox isn't mine.

Emptiness

He awoke to an empty bed, again. He thought after three years he would have gotten used to it, but his heart still ached for her presence. Like clockwork, he heard footsteps in the hall. Kelsey was also awake. The day she slept any later than six, he thought he would die of a heart attack. She would have told him that was impossible, but she was not here, so he could think whatever he wanted.

The pain still encompassed his heart. He woke with it and he went to bed with it. It followed him around daily, becoming part of his being. Like an old unwanted friend, constantly there, never leaving. He realized that it was time to start his day, so he got out of bed, just as his daughter burst into the room.

"Daddy why are you still in bed? I'm hungry, and today is the first day of school. I can't wait, when can we leave? I hope it's soon, because I'm impatient, and I want to meet my teachers."

He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and looked at his five-year-old daughter.

"It's still too early to leave, but how about pancakes for breakfast? I can make the Mickey Mouse ones today."

His daughter climbed onto the bed and began bouncing, "Oh, Daddy I love pancakes. It's my favorite."

"Well, then stop bouncing, and go get dressed. I will see you in the kitchen."

She would have loved this; watching her daughter go off to school. The feeling of nostalgia again took over his heart, and he had to force himself to suppress it. This was going to be a bad day. A day filled with memories of her.

He knew today would be difficult, it usually was when Kelsey passed a milestone, but he forced those feelings deep down into his heart, and began his day.

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"Daddy, I'm ready. Are you going to do my hair? I want a side ponytail like Stephanie; remember from my books? I think everyone will like that, and maybe tomorrow everyone will have a side ponytail, because side ponytails are the best."

"Yes, I will do a side ponytail. Sit down and eat."

"I'm going to eat the ears first."

She stopped talking and looked at her father.

"Daddy, you look sad today. Are you thinking about Mommy again?"

"Yeah Baby, I am."

"I miss her sometimes, even though I can't remember her, but Michael has a Mommy, and I think I would like one too. Do you think we will ever find her Daddy?"

On days like today, he didn't think it would ever happen, but he smiled at his daughter, and tried to be happy.

"You never know, maybe someday. Eat your breakfast, so we can do that fancy hairdo you want."

"Ok, Daddy."

He realized his melancholy mood had affected his daughter. He forced himself to be happy, so he wouldn't ruin her day.

"I have an idea, how about if I pick you up after school, and you can visit with Michael today? We haven't seen Michael in a while, and I think he would like that."

His daughter's face immediately brightened.

"Oh Daddy, that would be fun. Can I go to the lab, too? I love seeing Uncle Jack. He always does the best experiments. Remember last time he blew up the watermelon, and I had to take a bath in the decontamination shower. Cam was real mad at him, and then all those alarms went off and we had to stay there forever?"

Booth remembered that day. Jack was trying to show her what happened to a watermelon, when exposed to extreme heat. He made a mess, and he thought Cam was going to have a heart attack. He laughed as he remembered Cam's face.

"Yes, I remember."

"So, can we go?"

She looked at him with her mother's eyes, and just like Bones, he couldn't say no.

"Sure Baby, I'll pick you up and we will go to the lab."

They finished breakfast, and he did her hair in a side ponytail. Surprised at how well he adapted. Over the past three years, he had become very practiced at hairdos.

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After breakfast, she sat down and read a book, while he showered, and got ready to start his day. He was going in late today, because he wanted to bring Kelsey to school first. He thought about taking the day off, but he knew that he would just sit home and think of Bones, and how miserably he failed her.

He put the dishes in the dishwasher, and they headed off to school.

"Are you ready Kelsey?"

"Yes Daddy."

He helped her out of the seat, and she grabbed his hand tight, looking up at him with those beautiful blue eyes.

"I'm scared."

Booth knelt down on the ground, and pulled her close.

"It's ok Baby, you'll have fun. I'm going with you, and I'll stay for a little while. They'll have lots of books there, and toys to play with. You're going to learn so many new things."

"You'll stay?"

"Yes, I will stay with you."

He could see tears in her eyes, and had to fight to control his own.

"OK."

She grabbed his hand, and they walked toward the big building in front of them. He led her to her room, and helped her hang up her coat. Her teacher walked over to her.

"Hello Kelsey, do you remember me?"

She held tight to Booth's hand, and nodded her head.

"Would you like to come find your nametag? I know you can read, so let's go find your name."

She held Booth's hand tight, and followed the teacher dragging her father along.

Booth hadn't experienced this with Parker, so it was new to him too. It took him months to find this school, but he thought Bones would approve. Each classroom had three grades, and each child would be able to learn at his or her own pace. He knew Kelsey was very advanced for her age, so he thought the advanced techniques that the school used would be helpful.

Kelsey began reading all the other children's names, and he watched the amazement in her teacher's eyes. His daughter definitely had her mother's brains. Kelsey eventually let go of his hand, as the teacher showed her the books in the reading center. He was concerned that she would spend all her time here, and not socialize.

"Will she have time to play with other children? She will read all day, if you let her, and I want to make sure she gets exposed to the social norms."

"Yes, we have a time during the day when the learning materials are put away, and the children socialize with each other. We also have recess, and specials."

Kelsey was seated on a huge beanbag reading a Boxcar Children's book.

"She really is advanced for her age."

"Yes. Her mother was extremely smart, and I think she inherited her abilities. Sometimes I wonder what will happen when she surpasses me."

"As long as you have established a good relationship with her, you shouldn't have any problems. Where is her mother?"

The teacher watched as Booth's face fell.

"She was taken away from us three years ago. Since then it has just been Kelsey, Parker and I."

She saw the pain in his eyes and realized that it was still fresh. He must have loved Kelsey's mother very much.

"Did she die?"

"No, someone kidnapped her."

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