I like angst. Really, I do. But this is an awfully angsty hiatus and I need to be distracted from studying for my Ph.D exams in a big, fluffy, happy way. This is me skipping ahead to the reunion we all hope/know is coming eventually...though there may be some retroactive angst...

It was originally going to be a considerably longer one-shot, but then this happened. Now I'm thinking 5(ish) chapters.

Alas, these characters do not belong to me.

He had butterflies in his stomach as he pulled into their driveway. Their driveway.

He hadn't seen or heard from Temperance Brennan or the baby girl she had taken with her for over three months. It had been complete radio silence. Max Brennan had disappeared a few hours after his daughter and granddaughter, and Booth had been left to fend for himself. With everything that had been going on, Rebecca thought it best to keep Parker in London for the summer. Booth couldn't really fault her for it, but it did mean that he had been excruciatingly alone, the people he loved scattered to the four winds. In the short span that he had actually had the family he'd always wanted, the 'mighty hut' he had found and renovated with his own hands had become an honest to goodness home. Their home. And no matter how empty and cavernous it now felt, no matter how far away his happy memories of it seemed, he would always, always think of it that way: as theirs. She hadn't abandoned him. She would be back. They would be a family again.

Today, for the first time, that longed for return was actually possible.

They hadn't succeeded in putting Pelant away yet; he was still there, taunting them all, just out of reach. But Angela had been able to prove that the video placing Brennan at the hospital had been doctored. That, combined with some particulate evidence Hodgins found in the trunk of Brennan's car, proving that Ethan Sawyer's DNA had been planted there, was enough for the charges against Brennan to be dropped. Nobody––not even Flynn––now doubted that she had been framed; they just couldn't prove who had done the framing.

It was enough, for now, because it meant Booth's girls could finally come out of hiding. They could be together. He could protect them from here on out.

He had rushed to his SUV as soon as Caroline had given him the news. The squints were going to celebrate at the Founding Fathers, a brief respite after the endless hours they had put in over the past months. They would get back to the grind tomorrow, working to nail Pelant for good. Booth knew they deserved to celebrate, and part of him even knew that he should be there celebrating alongside them. But the only thing he could think of when he got word was that he had to go home. Their home.

It was completely irrational, he knew. He had long since internalized Bones' voice, and it had prattled on inside his head as he drove.

It is completely unreasonable to expect us to resurface less than an hour after a change in my fugitive status and even less reasonable to expect me to physically materialize in our house so quickly. First of all, how would I even know about these most recent events? Second, as the warrant was issued in DC, you can be sure that we are neither in the District of Columbia nor in the surrounding states, where the search for us would logically be conducted more vigorously. In fact, the most likely scenario is that we have fled the country entirely, perhaps on board a small plane piloted by a former associate of my father. It will take some time before we can make it back. You must be patient and consider the situation rationally. I fear that you will only distress yourself further if you continue with these implausible fantasies of immanent reunion.

He shook his head slightly, a sad smile creeping across his face. As was so often the case, Bones (even his inner Bones) was right. Though he did think Max would be keeping an eye on developments in the case, they couldn't be expected to pop up at a moment's notice.

He did try not to get his hopes up, knowing that his (metaphorical) heart would be crushed just a little bit more if he did.

But try as he might, he still had butterflies in his stomach as he pulled into their driveway.

And how are we feeling, people?