By: dharmamonkey
Rated: K
Disclaimer: Hart Hanson owns Bones. But people like me who play in his sandbox give you all those little moments that Hart and friends leave out. In this case, insight into what might've been going through Booth's head at the very end of 7x13.


That's how I felt, sitting there on the stone steps of an empty church staring at my newly-baptized daughter's empty car seat carrier.

I wasn't even angry. Maybe I should have been, but I felt too empty to be angry. I wasn't even angry at Max, even though he made all the arrangements so Bones could flee while I was pulling the car around front. Deep down, I knew that, right then, there wasn't anything else I could do to help her, to protect her—I couldn't protect her from the weight of the law that was bearing down on her with all the evidence Pelant had manipulated to make her look guilty, or from, I feared, from Pelant himself—and more than anything else, that left me feeling empty. I'd failed Bones. I'd failed Christine. I'd failed my family. I'd let them down.

I felt like everything I had, and everything I wanted, and everything I'd fought for had just driven away. If I'd had food in my stomach, I would have thrown up, but like everything else in those moments, my belly, too, was empty.

I leaned forward with my arms on my knees, buried my head in my hands and began to cry. I cried and cried and cried, eventually covering my face in my arms as I gripped my head with my hands, as if somehow I could squeeze myself into a tiny ball of pain and just disappear. I sat there and sobbed—tears streaking down my face, my hands aching as I clawed my scalp with the tips of my fingers—until I was empty, too, of tears.

I looked up again at the archstone over the tall, heavy wooden doors of the cathedral. Though my legs felt like pig iron, heavy and stiff with raw pain, I stood up and dusted off my slacks. I reached for the door, then stopped and swallowed. I looked back at Christine's car seat carrier as it lay there on the steps, her green and brown blanket tucked in and waiting for her. I remembered Bones swaddling our baby girl in that blanket after she was born, and the way she'd held her when we got back home from the hospital after getting Bones checked out and sewn up. A wave of nausea washed over me as I thought of the two of them, driving away in Max's car.

I wiped away the last of my tears with the back of my hand, reached down and picked up Christine's car seat carrier, then opened the heavy wooden door and walked back into the church.

I dipped my fingers in the stoup and crossed myself as I gazed into the cool gray interior of the church. My eyes burned but I was all cried out as I walked to the front of the church and took a seat in the first row of pews, in the same place that Bones and I had sat when I thanked God for saving her—for saving all of us, me and the squints, too—after the Gravedigger had buried her and Hodgins.

I took a deep breath and looked up at the stained glass as the morning light shone through the image of the Blessed Virgin.

I glanced over at the empty car seat carrier next to me and fisted Christine's blanket as the tears welled up in my eyes again. I held the blanket, with its brown fuzzy outside and soft, polka-dotted green lining, up to my nose and inhaled the smell of my sweet baby girl. I pressed it to my eyes and my lips brushed against Chrissy's blankie as the prayer fell from my lips.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

I knew it had to be this way. I knew I had to be strong, to do for Bones and our beautiful baby girl the only thing I could do for them now.

To get Pelant. To put him behind bars. Or to lay him in the ground if I had to.

Whatever I had to do to get my family back and keep them safe.

Holy Mary, watch over them, I prayed. Give me strength. Give Bones strength. Let them both know I love them and will see them soon.

The soft lining of Chrissy's blankie soaked up my tears and swallowed up the sound of my sobbing.

God help us.

A/N: I had to get this one out. It's been simmering in my head all morning—all night, really, since the end of 7x13. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think of it. My erstwhile coauthor Lesera128 wrote a great piece showing the other side: Brennan's thoughts in the wake of her flight. Go check it out.