AN: Here it is, the end! I want to thank everyone who has ever written a review for this story, I am awful about responding, but I appreciated every single one of them.
Also, I was lucky enough to have seen The Prisoner in the Pipe back in March, but I can guarantee this does not spoil anything. I can't wait to watch it (and cry) again tomorrow night. Enjoy!
The man had walked the well-wishers to their cars and said goodnight. It has been a long day, but there was no way he could sleep yet. His head was still spinning, his heart was still racing, his hands still shaking.
He walked into the room and the racing pulse stopped abruptly as he took in the sight before him. The woman sat in a rocking chair with a bundle held close to her chest. The moonbeams shining through the curtains tracked her movement back and forth as the cadence of the rocker kept the beat for her lullaby.
He wanted to somehow remember this moment, lock it away, for when things weren't this perfect. He knew their life together would not always be like this. The baby would cry and refuse to sleep some nights. She would get sick, be sad, have bad dreams, and worst of all, grow up. But tonight she is content enough to be rocked by her mother. Perfect.
And there will be nights when the woman will be angry with him and refuse to sleep as well. She will be busy with work, frustrated with his choice in TV, have bad dreams, and worst of all, spend a night away from him. But tonight the woman is humming with a secret smile on her face, content enough to start a family with him. Perfect.
"Booth?" the woman whispered, breaking through his thoughts and dreams.
"Yeah, Bones?" he answered as he came to stand next to her.
"I can't put her down."
"I find that I am very attached to her. I don't want to put her down."
The man smiled, gave her a kiss, and took the baby from her. Slowly he put her down in the bassinet they had spent weeks researching and shopping for and hours assembling, making sure it was perfect. He stepped back and helped her stand from the rocking chair and get into bed. There were tears in her eyes, and while he knew she was still in pain from giving birth, he also knew that part of it was the hormones and being more than inches away from the baby.
He quickly got ready for bed and climbed in next to her. She had moved to the very edge of the bed so that she could reach a hand out and place it on her daughter's little belly feeling it rise and fall with every breath, protecting her from the world around her. He just moved over closer to her and placed his hand on her abdomen, trying to somehow simultaneously convince himself that their baby was no longer there, comfort her, and even though he knew it wasn't possible, take some of the pain away.
The woman fell asleep, no matter how much she tried to keep her eyes open, the gravity and exhaustion of the day set in and the need for sleep took over. The man stayed awake watching over his family, not quite ready for the day to be over.
As the man lay there listening to the steady breaths of his two girls, his thoughts and dreams returned to keep him company. The woman in his arms was the great love of his life. It certainly wasn't easy, but it was worth fighting for. Real love always was.
He sees their past, their present, their future and now he sees the precious baby with them; the precious baby that is slowly waking up. He rolls out of bed and rushes to the bassinet employing every ounce of his sniper training so that he wouldn't wake up the woman in the bed.
He picked up the swaddled bundle and settled into the rocking chair.
The woman was lying in bed, quietly watching the man rocking the baby in the chair.
For a long time, she was sure she would not have this. A child, a partner in life, a home, she was sure she would never have love. And now she was surrounded. It still scared her to depend on anyone so completely; to have faith and trust in something so unscientific. But, watching him rock the baby, she finally had her proof. And even if there were days in the future where the ephemeral nature of this bliss and love reared its ugly head, she had learned that it was all worth it.
She finally understood what her father had been trying to explain for years. It didn't matter that the life he and her mother had planned fell apart and that she was killed. Because the time they did have together was worth it, and he would love her to the day he died. And the woman knew she loved the man the same way.
She missed her mother more today than she had in years. But she finally had her own family to build a future with.
She wanted to be a part of the twosome rocking in the chair; she needed to be nearer to the daughter who was a combination of them both. "Booth?"
"She has you nose," was all he said.
"She has your chin."
"She has your eyes," he said looking up with a smile. She didn't even bother to correct him; she hoped that her eyes stayed blue as well.
"She has your ears."
"She has your zygomatic arch," he shot back making them both dissolve into quiet laughter.
"Do you even know what that means?"
"Bones, it's been 8 years, I have picked up on some of the lab speak."
She just smiled. He was right anyway. "You should put her back down if she is asleep."
"I can't." They both wanted to hold onto this perfect beginning just a little bit longer.
"Bring her over here."
"Just come here."
The woman half sat against the pillows and the man and the baby joined her. She took the baby and laid her against her chest while he wrapped his arms around the two of them.
They learned that night that dreams of 'happily ever after's were not only for children. And if they were, then it is possible that for just a few hours, we can achieve the innocence and hope of childhood once again. All because of love.