A/N: Thank you to Wldwmn, Castiel of Gallifrey, and thehopefulone for your reviews last chapter. We made it to 100!


Chapter 27: Memories and Presence

As he holds her cradled in his arms Michael thinks back on their life together.

In his oldest memory of her that isn't just scents and texture they must be about 4. It Easter and she's insisting that they go look for eggs right now. They are at some sort of neighborhood party. Minutes before she had been twirling with the other little girl in a dress she said was blue as the sky and matched his eyes. The other boys had oohed and ahhed over the spinning skirts and she had noticed him standing to the side. The change of subject was sweet but not really helpful. Kids raced around grabbing eggs and Michael didn't have Mamba yet. But he did have a very determined friend. Kennedy took his hand tight and pulled him around calling dibs on eggs she saw until they could reach them.

Later that day, back at Kenzie's house, they had their own egg hunt. Angela and Brennan read clues to where the eggs were and the two of them worked together to figure out where they were. The clearest part of this memory is sitting on the worn leather couch. There is a heaping pile of eggs on the middle cushion and Kennedy on the next one. They are trying to open eggs as fast as possible and call out what's inside without letting them tumble on to the wood floor. The slippery round eggs, the smell of chocolate and jellybeans, giggles and shouts, his hand colliding with hers. They each grab half the egg and pull, like Lady & The Tramp. The prize falls on top of the pile and they both reach down eagerly. Her hand hits the candy first and his hand cups hers. Her fingers are warn and slightly sticky from all the candy. She turns over her hand. "Reese's," she says dumping it into his hand knowing it's his favorite.

That little girl turned into a woman before him. He reaches to take her hands and finds them cold. He brings them up to his lips and blows on them to warm them.

He remembers the last time she blew him a kiss. Last night, when she threatened to leave for good… She had stomped out yelling that she was going to pick up Emily and stay in a hotel. She came back in and for a moment he thought she was going to apologize. Instead she made a puckering sound and then said, "I'm blowing you a kiss goodbye," in a tone so similar to Sophia's "I'm rolling my eyes" he almost did a double take. Of course she hadn't left. He had hissed back, "You're a terrible mother. It's 2 am. Are you really going to go get her now? And what about Brandon? Or can he stay because he's with your parents and not mine?" Kennedy had hesitated and he knew she was tempted to say yes to anger him. She sighed, "No. Of course not. I love Ange and Jack. Brandon looks exactly like you, I really don't need the reminder right now". That led them to a shaky truce that lasted about 10 minutes.

Michael can remember a time when she hoped the baby she was carrying would look like him. When having a boy made her excited. Her belly was sloped and round. She insisted that she was getting fat but when he ran his hands over her it was all the same. It was like she was shoplifting a basketball, not having a baby. He kissed her belly and told the baby "I love you" all the time, always followed up with a kiss and the same sentiment for Kennedy. He would play Mozart the piano with Kenzie sitting beside him saying the baby liked it. They would snuggle and read baby names at night bickering until they settled on Brandon. After he was born Kennedy insisted Michael be the first to hold him.

"He's perfect. Same exact blue eyes as you and Lexie. Your light brown curly hair… A bowed mouth, full cheeks, and long forehead, just like your baby pictures. He's adorable. He's perfect. He's you. He, he's you, Michael. God, he's handsome," she had rambled on excitedly. He kissed her to shut her up and passed her the baby so he could hug her tightly.

"I love you Kenzie, straight up to the moon," he whispered into her ear.

"And all the way back," she reaffirmed, "Back atcha Daddy". And that word became magic.

Brandon followed by Emily two years later became his world. He made it a point to be home on Thursday nights. Kennedy had a book club meeting. They would go out to the diner and he let them order whatever they wanted. Afterwards they would go play at the park and to cap it off stop a stop at the ice cream shop. This was followed by baths, occasionally a movie if they had skipped the park (too cold), and snuggling in bed. He would read to them in silly voices for each character. Then give a good night hug and kiss to Brandon and pick up Emily. She was usually sleepy by then and curled into him as he carried her back to her room. Hugs, kisses, and turning on the nightlight for her wrapped up his typical Thursday night.

He knew Kennedy did something similar with them on Tuesdays when he played at a pub in the area. They stayed in though, ordered take out food. She usually made some sort of craft with them either holiday themed or for him. Then they'd bake cookies or cupcakes or something yummy she always saved him a piece of. Movies and cuddles singing along to silly Disney movies and letting the kids sleep on the pullout couch concluded her night.

Of course, he also spent alone time with them. Sunday nights Brandon sat and watched football with him playfully wrestling during commercials while Kennedy and Emily did hair and nails and played pretend. And after he picked Emily up from her Friday night sleepovers they always walked to get donuts and a coffee for him before going home. They would sit and chat while he swore her to secrecy from Kennedy and her brother.

But his best memories involved all four of them. Kennedy and him raking leaves together for Brandon to jump in and for them to lightly toss Emily in. Running down the street waving their arms to get the ice cream truck to stop. Going to the beach and making sandcastles, dipping baby Em's toes in the water. Introducing Brandon to his little sister for the first time and remembering meeting Sophia. Going to the old fashion candy store and letting the kids pick a piece after church. Sitting in a boat on the lake, his arm thrown around Brandon as they both clasp poles, Em and Kenzie whining about being bored and wanting to go swimming. Walking around the neighborhood one parents arms laden with bags of Halloween candy and the other with a sleeping child. Christmas was equally happy, both children eyes shining, both parents agreeing these are the most magical ages. And snuggling all together on Sunday mornings eating breakfast in bed. One parent would sneak out to make breakfast, usually him. Kennedy would wake up quickly without his presence beside her and grab the kids darting back under the covers. Then it was time for teasing, reading the comics, giggles, eating breakfast, cartoons, cuddles, stolen kisses, and fun.

The good times so out weighed the bad. He had forgotten that for a moment. Michael was so glad he remembered before it was too late. Kennedy was curled against him playing with his fingers silently. She had stopped crying and he had no idea how long they had been like this. He nudged her lightly.

She stumbled up out of his embrace and took a wobbly step.

"My foot's asleep," she laughed grasping onto his shirt.

Michael scooped her up and they went to find their better halves.


Eventually, they find the two in the playroom. Emily is playing with her baby dolls. Brandon is on the phone.

"Who are you talking to?" Kennedy says with a small frown.

"Grandma and Grandpa Hodgins," he replies quickly.

The frown lines smooth out on her forehead.

Michael grabs the phone, speaks briefly to his parents, and hangs up.

"Ok, speak," he prompts his son, "What were you talking to them about?"

Brandon hesitates then recites verbatim. That kid has an incredible eidetic memory, Michael thought.

"I called them because we could hear you fighting and Em was scared. They said that they wished they could kiss all of your marriage boo-boos better and that they hurt when we hurt. That you guys still loved us even though you were having problems with each other. It wasn't our your fault that you were fighting," Brandon started.

Michael sinks down on the floor beside him and wraps an arm around his son, "They're right, Buddy". Kennedy gathers Emily and her doll in her arms and sits beside them.

"They said that they'd always be there to talk to or help however they could. And they promised to never take sides between you and mommy. That the only side they'd be on is ours, mine and Emily's. They promised that we'd be happy again soon and said they loved us," Brandon concluded, sniffing back tears.

"I don't want you to get divorced like Matt's parents. He only gets to see them every other week," he whimpers.

"No," they both respond quickly.

Michael pulls Brandon onto his lap, "That's not going to happen".

"You both are going to be stuck with both of us, all together under one roof for a long time," Kennedy reassures him with a gentle kiss.

Emily reaches up and tugs a piece of Kenzie's hair.

"Everybody's happy now?" she asks innocently.

"Everybody's happy," Kennedy answers.

"And about to be even happier," Michael counters playfully, "Get your coats kids, we are going for ice cream".

The little ones stampede down the stairs racing to get coats and shoes.

Michael helps Kennedy up.

"We're good now, huh?" he asks slinging his arm around her shoulders.

"So good," she answers happily, "and about to be even better".

Michael looks at her confused.

"Ice cream dude, it was your idea," she says with a laugh, "Oh yeah and this," and she kisses him cheerfully.

Children don't need your presents, they need your presence.


A/N: There is only one more chapter to come. It'll be Kenzie's take on all of this. I love this story but I've sort of lost interest in Bones this season. After this story ends, expect a new one, just not in the Bones universe. Thanks for reading this chapter, please let me know what you thought.