Title: Why He Fights

Author: Mel

Rating: PG

Summary: Booth's fight is only partly about redemption

Warnings: Boy in Bush spoilers

Disclaimer: Booth is owned by the owners of the Bones series

Cases like this were hard for everyone, and Booth knew it. Child victims always disturbed those working the case on some level or another. But Brennan and the squints hadn't known anything about much of what he felt during the case; the different perspective he had. Jack and Angela had been talking about how they didn't know anyone in regards to Zack's revelation about his rich family, but no one knew as much about him, Booth, as they thought either.

There were the nightmarish thoughts that flashed through his mind while looking at the small corpse; the flicker of a vision of another tiny body lying there with a hauntingly familiar face. It wasn't him, and Booth knew it, but the thought was never far from his mind: It could just as easily be him. The next time, he could just as easily be the parent who was being informed of his child's death. His rage had grown even more when he found out about the sexual assault, and it further fueled his determination to catch this monster. At least he could lock him up even if he couldn't do the things to him that he really wanted.

Later, when he and Bones had gone to talk with the boy's mother, Booth had enjoyed playing with the other two boys, had felt a combination of wistful longing and hope. He might not be able to do as much for his son now as he would have liked, but he still looked forward to doing those types of things and so much more with him. And even with the circumstances of the mother's suspected possible involvement in the case and the kidnapping aspect, he had still empathized with the pain she felt about the child's death.

When Brennan had begged him to try and ensure the family was reunited, he had learned something of her past as well, although she hadn't told him everything. He'd been reluctant to attempt what amounted to bending the law at first, but the more he thought about it, the more he knew he had to. He knew from experience the pain a parent felt at not being able to be with their children, even if they weren't biological. He knew that he couldn't sit back and let her experience the same pain he knew all too well.

He'd been at the release and reunion, and knew he wouldn't forget the things that were said. There wasn't a great deal of actual conversation, but so much was said when his eyes met with hers. He wasn't Seeley Booth, FBI agent then, just one parent doing what he could to help out another, giving a gift that he hoped would be his own one day as well: Family. Helping parent and children stay together.

All along, just as with every case like this, the questions came that would not leave his mind. Could he do enough? Were the badge and the gun and the law enforcement experience enough to protect his own child from the dangers in this world? Or would he one day be the one trapped in the same sickening nightmare as so many others?

He was so young, so vulnerable, so innocent and unaware of how evil some people could be. They all were. Despite how many had already been caught, so many of these predators still lurked, still waiting to strike at unsuspecting innocent victims. Someone had to stop it, had to make sure they could grow up safe and protected. Someone had to get these animals off the street. He knew he couldn't stop it all, but still, every killer he put away meant a few lives might be saved.

Part of his battle was about redemption, about atoning for the time when he himself was the killer, but that wasn't all that drove him. It was Charlie. It was Parker. It was the knowledge that he was doing everything he could to make the world just a little safer for his son to grow up in.