Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: I cry whenever I think about Zack's involvement with a serial killer, so this is my take on the last scene of "The Pain in the Heart," in which Booth tells Bones that she gave Zack a home. Usually I ship Zack/Bones, but she can also be seen as a maternal figure.

As a child, Zack Addy had had to have the expression "Home is where the heart is" explained to him many times, and he still never believed it. He loved his family in a vague sort of way, but to him home was always just a house in Michigan, to which he sometimes went. There was no point getting emotional about it.

It never occurred to him that Michigan wasn't his home. He had a mother there. Granted, if he had a problem, he would much rather call Dr. Brennan than his mother, but surely that was only because his boss was the same sort of person as Zack himself. She understood. She made him feel better. She loved him.

His father was there as well. It didn't matter that no matter how his father had tried to relate to Zack, and as much as he loved him, he had never succeeded in making Zack feel approved. In fact, the only person who had ever felt like a father should was Seeley Booth, whose abuse of Zack masked a real concern for him.

Booth and Brennan were figures of authority, but the people Zack considered his colleagues were Hodgins and Angela. The amusing, competitive brother and loving older sister Zack had lacked despite his seven siblings, he found in the lab. Despite Hodgins's protests, he always felt comfortable asking his friend about sex, and a pocket Kama Sutra was a gift only a brother should give. Angela was always willing to explain human nature to him.

Zack knew much about many topics, but he knew nothing of this. He knew that golden retrievers, picket fences, and apple pie tended to feature prominently in other people's homes, and assumed that home must be the same. He didn't understand that his home had security cameras and human skulls.

Perhaps because love and friendship had been so foreign to him while he was growing up, Zack had always thought that home was where the people who loved you lived.

Zack never understood that home was where the people you love are.

He never saw that when he said he was going home for the holidays, he was lying—he was leaving home.

He never realized that when he delayed the explosion, when he confessed, when he led them to the killer, he was doing it to hold his family together.