Dec. 25th: RositaLG chose the word "Christmas" because she was late and wanted something fluffy to post. Thanks to all of the participants for helping me out this season and thanks to all the readers for coming back day after day. I promise I only have one more December post left and then your inboxes will be safe for quite some time. Merry Christmas!


Booth had been certain at the time that he would never feel more whole than he did in that very moment. His son and daughter were giggling over their new Christmas presents, his wife was curled up next to him with a cup of hot chocolate in her hands, and his heart was overflowing with the love and joy he had spent most of his prior life without.

"Daddy, look! Parker is opening my present!" She turned to her brother. "It's a new skateboard and it's purple!" Christine informed him proudly.

"Christine!" Brennan scolded. "You're supposed to keep it a secret!"

"Wow! That was very nice of you. Thanks Christine." Parker grinned at the camera as he began to unwrap his present.

"The secrecy of Christmas is lost on four year olds." Brennan explained to Parker. "But I hope that you enjoy it."

"I will. Thanks, Bones." He said as he set it down next to him. "You should open your present next before Christine spills the beans." He told her.

"Alright." She smiled as she reached for the present at her feet.

Even now, Booth held his breath as she tore the paper carefully to reveal the box underneath.

"Oh." She said as she pulled the locket out of the box. "It's beautiful."

"It's an artifact." Christine pointed out and Brennan looked up at Booth in surprise.

"It's an antique." Booth corrected her from behind the camera. "We found it at an antique shop." He explained to his wife.

"It's stunning. Thanks, guys." Brennan smiled.

"What are you watching this late at night?" Brennan asked as she came down the steps.

"Old home movies." Booth said unapologetically.

"Booth, they're coming home tomorrow. It's not like we won't be seeing them in person."

"I know, but they're too old for a real Christmas. Look at those faces." He said as he gestured to the TV with his remote.

"They were so small." She commented wistfully. "What year is this?"

"It had to have been at least 14 or 15 years ago."

"Christine was only four then." Brennan looked at the television screen as she did the math. "We were only…"

"Yeah." Booth said, cutting her off. "We've all gotten older."

"I know that she's only been at school a few months but aren't you excited to have her back home for vacation?"

"Very." He said, relief flooding him at the knowledge that she would be home in a couple of hours. "It's been so long since we've all been under the same roof. When does Parker's flight get in?"

"Ten. Christine gets in at 2:15. They're both very certain that they don't need to be picked up." She restated, obviously reading his mind. Booth rolled his eyes.

"They get that from you."

"Being capable adults was the entire point of raising them, was it not?" Brennan pointed out.

"Yes, but you're supposed to want your family to greet you at the airport."

"Says who?" Brennan asked.

"Now you're just pushing my buttons on purpose." Booth knew as he gave her a glare but Brennan was never one to be intimidated, especially by him.

"Come to bed. It's cold up there without you."

"I think you're fully capable of sleeping without me next to you."

"Yes, but I want you next to me." She smiled her charm smile coyly. Fully aware that he had been beaten by his own game, Booth sighed and turned off the TV. Brennan beamed.

"Twenty five years and I still never see that play coming." He muttered as he headed up the steps.

"Yes well, for twenty five years, you've been putting up a good fight." She consoled as she followed him up the steps.