Although the medics had thought she should be checked out at a hospital, and Booth agreed with them, Brennan refused.

"It's a mild concussion I incurred hours ago. It's fine."

"I'd feel better if you got checked out at the hospital."

"And I would feel better at home, in our bed, with you."

He found it impossible to argue against that, mostly because that's what he wanted, too.

So they went home.

Once they got there, Brennan went straight upstairs to the bathroom, turning the shower on as hot as she thought she could stand it. She just wanted to scrub the entire experience off of her.

She stripped off the cheap, scratchy pajamas Todd had given her and deposited them directly into the garbage can.

She would have liked to have burned them.

As she was about to get into the shower she heard Booth on the phone downstairs and she knew by his tone he was talking to Parker. She glanced at the clock, surprised to see it was only slightly after ten pm.

The entire evening had seemed like a lifetime.

She stepped into the water and simply stood there, allowing it all to wash away under the scalding water.

She knew she couldn't really rinse the last several days down the drain, but it felt like a damn good start.

She carefully washed around her head wound and lathered every inch of herself, trying to get the smell and the dirt and the blood off her skin.

When she had succeeded as well as she could, she turned the water off, wrapped herself in the biggest, most luxurious towel she had been able to find and emerged from the shower in a puff of steam.

"Hey," said Booth softly from the doorway. "Someone wants to see you." He smiled and bounced the baby in his arms.

"Oh," Brennan's voice wavered and her face crumpled. "Hadley." She couldn't cross the room fast enough, even when Booth met her half way.

Hadley dove for her mother and Brennan pulled the baby close against her. "Hi, Sweet Girl, hi. Oh, I'm so happy to see you." She kissed her daughter repeatedly. "I missed you."

"Angela brought her home."

"Is she still here?"

"I think she wanted to stay, but Hodgins made her leave. He said you needed your time with us, first."

She nodded, pressing her cheek to Hadley's. "I'll call her tomorrow."

"I'm sure she'll be on our doorstep by nine."

Hadley reached up and touched Brennan's face, and Brennan took her tiny hand and kissed it softly. "I love you. I'm sorry I had to leave. But I'm home now." Her breath hitched. "I'm home now."

Booth stepped forward and kissed the foreheads of both his girls. "I made you some soup," he offered.

"I'm not hungry," she answered. "Can we just…" her eyes flickered toward their bedroom and Booth understood what she wanted.

"I'll change her diaper and lock up. You get settled."

She kissed Hadley again before handing the baby back to Booth, who kissed her, too. "Come on, Little Girl. Let's make sure we're shut down for the night."

Brennan changed into her favorite, comfy pajamas, then dried her hair a little before pulling it back into a ponytail. She was just pulling down the bedding when Booth returned, Hadley still in his arms. Brennan climbed into bed, lying on her side and Booth placed a sleepy Hadley down beside her, then went into the bathroom. He emerged a few minutes later, freshly showered, and joined them in bed, Hadley nestled cozily between them.

It was silent at first. Brennan couldn't take her eyes off Hadley, while Booth was propped up on one elbow, unable to take his eyes off his partner. She stroked Hadley's cheek with one finger as the baby's blinking became longer and more pronounced.

"She's tired," Brennan whispered.

"She hasn't slept in her own bed in days."

"I just want to keep her here for a little while. I'll put her in her crib soon." She seemed to hesitate and then met his eyes. "Were…were you angry?"

As much as he wanted to gloss over it, he had to be honest. "Yeah, but not at you. I mean, not really. I was mad at the situation, mad at this psycho…" He blew out a deep breath. "And then I was just scared, you know? All that mattered was you and Parker. When Parker turned up safe, I knew that was because of you." He cupped her cheek. "You did what you did because you love my son. I can't be angry about that."

"He kept saying I chose to join him." Her voice trembled just a little. "It all happened so fast…but it wasn't a choice. I couldn't leave Parker when I knew how to save him."

"I know. Just…don't ever do that to me again. I don't think I could live through it twice."

"Maybe I should…step back from writing."

"No." Booth shook his head. "No way." He sighed. "You know, the fact is, Bones, that you have fans; people who really love you. I have people who really hate me. Hell, we both do. And all it takes, in that love or in that hate, is for one crazy person to cross the line. But we can't live in fear of them."

She looked back down at Hadley, now so close to slumber. "I would do it again. For Parker or for her. It's who I've become."

"It's who you've always been, Bones."

Hadley's eyes blinked closed and did not open again. She let out the tiniest baby sigh of sleep just as the doorbell rang.

"What the hell? It's almost midnight!" Booth rolled out of bed and retrieved his gun. "Stay here."

She nodded as he slipped out of their room and down the hall. He moved noiselessly down the stairs and to the front door, to look out the peep hole.

Stashing his gun away in the top of the coat closet, he turned on the lights and opened the door.

"Hi!" He said, surprised by his late night visitors. His hand ruffled his son's hair as Parker gave him a sideways hug.

"I'm sorry it's so late." Rebecca smiled wanly. "After you called he was insistent. He really wanted to come over."

Parker moved into the house and only then did Booth notice the backpack over his shoulder. "You're letting him stay?" He asked in surprise.

"Well, it's your weekend."

"I just figured after everything that happened this week you wouldn't want to let him out of your sight."

"I don't," she admitted. "But…sometimes a boy needs his father." She looked past Booth, into the house. "And sometimes he needs his father's partner, too." She nodded towards the bottom of the stairs.

Booth turned to see Parker and Brennan wrapped around each other, Brennan murmuring something quietly into Parker's ear, Parker nodding, both of them close to tears.

Booth turned back to Rebecca. "Thanks," he said, his voice thick with gratitude.

She nodded. "Parks, I'll see you Sunday, okay?" She called into the house.

Parker stepped away from Brennan and ran back to his mom, kissing her cheek. "Thanks, Mom. See you Sunday."

Rebecca blinked back some tears. "Love you, Bud."

"Love you, too."

Rebecca turned away from her son and hurried down the steps of the porch, and Booth knew she was hurrying to leave so she wouldn't have the chance to change her mind.

"Rebecca!" Brennan called, brushing past Booth and pulling the front door shut behind her as she followed Rebecca out the door. "Wait!" She caught up just as Rebecca reached her car. "I appreciate you allowing Parker to spend his weekend here. I know it means a lot to Booth." She looked back towards the house as the light in Parker's room came on. "It means a lot to me as well."

Rebecca nodded. "Thank you."

"Sure."

"No. I mean…thank you." The two mothers' eyes met and Brennan felt the full weight of the meaning behind Rebecca's words.

Wordlessly, she nodded her understanding, fighting her own tears now.

Rebecca got in her car, gave a small wave and drove away. Brennan watched until she couldn't see the tail lights anymore, then turned back towards the house.

Towards her family.

She locked the front door behind her, set the alarm and went upstairs, stopping at Parker's room, where the light was still on and the door still ajar.

"Hey," she said, knocking softly and pushing the door open far enough to peek in. "Do you need anything?"

Parker looked up from his bed where he was reading a comic book. "I'm just waiting for Dad to say goodnight. He said he'd be in in a second."

"Okay. I'll see you in the morning, then. Sleep well." She turned to leave when Parker stopped her.

"Hey Bones?"

She turned back around and stepped all the way into his room.

"I have something for you." Parker slid out of bed and went to his desk, where the jeans he'd been wearing hung over the chair. He dug in one pocket, then the other, before he found what he was looking for. "Here." He put out his hand and when she extended hers, he dropped the small object into her palm.

"My mother's ring," she whispered.

"I'm sorry I never gave it to Hadley, but I kinda just wanted to save it for you for when you came back. I knew my dad would find you. I just didn't think it was Hadley's turn for it yet." Parker sniffed back his tears. "I hope that's okay."

Brennan nodded as she spoke, her voice rough with emotion. "You are a very smart boy, Parker. Thank you."

"I'm glad you're okay."

She smiled and placed an affectionate hand on his cheek. "I'm glad we both are."

Booth tapped lightly on the door. "What's going on in here? Are you having secret meetings without me?" He joked.

"Just saying goodnight," Brennan answered, dropping her hand and giving Parker a wink.

"'Night, Bones," said Parker.

"Goodnight." She walked past Booth, giving him a small smile and went back down the hall, creeping quietly into Hadley's nursery.

She watched her daughter sleep. Hadley's little hands rested near her face and every now and then a small smile would grace her lips.

Her dreams were sweet and Brennan hoped it would always be that way.

Booth wound his arms around her waist from behind and placed a soft kiss just behind her ear before he rested his chin on her shoulder. "She's the most amazing baby girl, ever," he said softly.

"I agree."

"We should sleep, too."

"We should." But she made no move to leave Hadley's bedside.

"Bones," he whispered after several more minutes. "C'mon." He took her hand and spun her around to face him. "You need your rest. We both do."

She nodded, then turned back around and softly brushed back a small piece of hair from Hadley's forehead. "Goodnight, Sweet Girl."

They went back to their room, and climbed back into bed, more in the middle than on their own sides, lying almost nose to nose.

"Parker gave me this," she finally told him, opening her palm and showing him her mother's ring. "I gave it to him to give to Hadley, right before Todd let him go."

"Bones…"

"I did to her exactly what my mother did to me. I left her."

"You came back."

"I didn't know for sure if I would," she admitted. "I knew I would try. I knew you would try. But I also knew he was crazy." She worried the ring between her thumb and forefinger. "I'm a scientist. I had to consider every possible outcome. Death was certainly one of them. And in that case, I wanted Hadley to have this." Her voice dropped to a tearful whisper. "I was afraid of repeating the past."

"You didn't. We aren't. We're all here, now, safe and together, okay?"

"And the next time?"

"There won't be one."

"You can't know that."

"What I know," he took the ring from her and slid it back onto its proper finger. "Is that I love you. And that the kids love you. And that you love us. Those are the only things I need to know to know that we're going to be okay."

"I do love you, all of you, very much."

He still held her hand as he leaned forward to kiss her.

It started sweetly, tenderly, but soon, like so many nights before, it began to catch fire and she could feel that familiar pull of desire start to burn.

And yet, that wasn't what she wanted. "Booth," she whispered, as he broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers.

"Listen, Bones," he said softly. "Tomorrow night, I'm going to lay you down on this bed and I'm going to show you over and over again just how much you mean to me; how much I love you. But I think tonight, I'm just going to hold you. I just want to fit you inside my arms and feel you against me and know that you're safe and that we're whole, alright?"

A tear escaped down her cheek. Somehow he always knew what she needed. "That sounds perfect."

"Turn around," he instructed gently.

When she did, he wrapped his arms around her, so her back was to his chest, his knees bent inside the "V" of her bent knees. He tucked himself around her, like the safest of blankets, sheltering her from the worst kind of cold.

He could breathe in the sweet smell of her hair, she could feel his strength enveloping her and there was nowhere else either of them loved to be more than this place; this home, this life, this love.

Like pieces of a puzzle, they fit together. Belonged together. And they would fight to be together.

Always.

~The End~

Thank you all for your nice words, your alerts, your favorites and your amazing support. It was a great ride because of your kindness and enthusiasm and I am grateful to you all.