|The Life in the Balance
Author: lmraven PM
Brennan places herself in a precarious situation while trying to save Booth. Set in season 7.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - T. Brennan & S. Booth - Chapters: 13 - Words: 35,412 - Reviews: 62 - Favs: 56 - Follows: 130 - Updated: 01-27-12 - Published: 11-25-11 - id: 7580900
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N - So I started writing this one over the summer and had planned on posting it before the new season began but I was writing another story and wanted to concentrate on that first. I'm not even sure this is worthy of a posting but I figured why not? If reviews are positive enough, I'll continue.
This story takes place in season 7 towards the end of Brennan's third trimester.
Dr. Temperance Brennan drummed out a nervous beat on the wheel of her car as she waited for Andrew Hacker to pick up the phone. She scowled when the light turned green and he still hadn't answered. Her cerulean blue eyes focused not only on the task of driving but on what lay ahead. Pressing down hard on the gas pedal, her Prius lurched forward, steadily picking up speed on the near deserted stretch of road.
"Hacker." The gruff voice of the man she had once dated came over the earpiece of her blue tooth.
Finally, Brennan voiced in her head as she concentrated on the road in front of her.
"Write down this address quickly." She didn't bother with her usual salutations and just rattled off the address without any further preamble. There was no room…no time for the subsequent interrogation she was sure was going to ensue. Hacker didn't like to be told what to do. He relished being the man in charge. Not this time, she thought. This time he had no choice.
"Temperance? Is that you? What's going on?" Andrew asked with a flustered tone to his voice.
"I don't have much time to explain. Did you write it down?" Could he be any more predictable? Did he not realize the urgency in her request especially considering it was a tone she rarely used? How he could have at one time proclaimed to know her…really know her was beyond understanding. There was only one person that truly knew her and he was in danger right now.
"Yes, yes. I got it." He said pulling the pen from behind his ear and quickly scrambled for a blank piece of paper on his disorganized desk. His fingers tensed on the pen as he wrote. " Now what am I supposed to do with it?"
Satisfied that he did indeed take down the information; she could hear his paper rustling in the background. "I need you to send a team of agents there. Now this is important." She spoke slowly as if giving instructions to a child. She swore she could hear his teeth grinding together. "The agents cannot be seen at the house. They must be discreet. It's in a heavily secluded wooded area. They should be able to sneak up without being seen. Carson has Booth." She finished with her voice breaking just a little.
"Jesus." Andrew raked his hand through his thinning hair. "How do you know? Wait…where are you?" He asked suspiciously, his eyes narrowing to slits. She could almost visualize his brows drawn together as he asked the question.
"On my way there."
"Oh no. You need to turn around and get your pregnant butt back to the Jeffersonian. Right. The. Fuck. Now." Hacker was panicking. "This is not your call Temperance. Technically you're not even an agent. You have no business going there."
Normally, Temperance would bristle at his less than respectful tone but she didn't have the time. No, she wasn't an agent but she had certainly solved enough of their cases. But she knew his anger was in direct result of worry for her.
"He called me! " She shouted making her ear bud crackle. It was the first time she allowed herself to show her fear filled rage. "Me. Specifically." Brennan added toning her voice down. "So don't tell me whose business it is. Carson wants the evidence we acquired against him and he wants me to deliver it…alone. If I don't, he's going to kill Booth."
"Damn it Temperance. Think about the baby."
"I am thinking about the baby." She snapped back. And she was. She also was thinking about Parker. There was no way she could let her child be born without a father…no way she could face Booth's little boy if she failed…no way she could live with herself knowing she could've prevented Booth's death and did nothing to stop it. She wasn't impervious anymore…but because of Booth's love for her and the child she carried and her own for him, she was still strong. If she lost him…no…she was not going to think like that. She wouldn't be able to function if she did.
"This is highly against protocol." He sighed in resignation knowing nothing he said would stop her. "And a complete disregard to the regulations we have. We do not negotiate with criminals!"
She wanted to tell him to go fuck his protocol. "Listen Andrew...I didn't tell you so you could talk me out of it. I'm telling you so you can provide sufficient back up. Are we clear?"
It would be a waste of time to argue with her, he knew that well. The only thing he could do was ensure that she was as safe as possible. Booth was going to kill him. Hacker clenched his jaw. "Yeah...we're clear."
"Good." Brennan took the Bluetooth out of her ear and threw it down on the seat next to her. She could feel the baby kick in her womb, responding to the adrenaline and cortisol being released into her bloodstream from stress.
"It's okay, baby girl. Mommy's going to make everything okay." She said rubbing her abdomen in a comforting gesture. She used to scoff at mothers-to-be for talking to their unborn fetus' knowing that it would only hear a cacophony of muffled nonsense but since she became pregnant that had all changed. She found the gesture oddly reassuring now and it gave her a small semblance of peace knowing that just maybe the baby would recognize the tenor of her voice when she was finally ready to greet the world.
She was ten minutes away from her destination and there was one more thing she had to do. Reaching into the console next to the driver's seat, she pulled out her mini recorder and hit record. "Booth, I'm so very sorry…"
Brennan braked the car in front of the abandoned shack of a house, surprised that this place had a known physical address at all. Dust clouds from the wheels of her braking tires surrounded her vehicle making it hard to see the front of the building. Booth's SUV was parked at a haphazard angle near the door and not for the first time, she bit back a sound of despair. Why hadn't he brought someone with him? What was he thinking coming here by himself? He was thinking it was a routine questioning, she thought answering herself. Carson was barely on the suspect list up until that point. When they got out of this, they were going to have a serious talk about his unnecessary risk taking.
She reached behind her into the back seat and pulled the heavy Kevlar vest to her. It had belonged to an overweight FBI agent that had retired from the force and Booth being overly protective of her and their baby procured it for her. At the time she had scoffed, stating since she would only make necessary trips into the field and only to examine bodies she wouldn't need it. Booth being Booth had insisted however and now she was glad she had held on to it.
Shoving her arms into the sleeves with purpose, Brennan went to secure the front and encountered a dilemma. It wouldn't fit around her. She had grown much larger, now at over eight months pregnant and the vest wouldn't close properly. If she started from the bottom, the top wouldn't close and if she started from the top, the bottom wouldn't close. For her there was no choice to make. Maternal instincts prevailed and she fastened the bottom of the vest.
She slipped on her Burberry trench coat over it, hoping to conceal the fact that she was wearing a vest at all. In one pocket was the evidence Carson wanted; a partially damaged thumb drive. Angela already had been trying to reconstruct it before Brennan swiped it without her best friend's knowledge; an act she hoped Angela would forgive her for. In her other pocket, she felt the heavy weight of her handgun. She never used it before. She didn't count the numerous times she spent at the target range to improve her skill. Clicking the safety off, she lumbered out of the car hating the fact that because of her size her movements were limited. Her martial arts training would not help her today.
The first thing she became aware of was the ominous silence that lingered and stalled over the area. With the exception of her car's humming engine, not even the sound of a wild bird's call could be detected and what was more important, she could not hear Booth. She knew him…knew he would not remain quiet if he was able to speak. That alone caused terror for him to worm it's way through her. Brennan caught her self from stumbling under the weight of her worry and righted herself. She would use this terror as strength…would not allow it to debilitate her. The fate of her family depended on that.
Fifteen minutes and the cavalry should be here. In the broad span of the universe, it was not a significant amount of time…nothing more than a pin drop in the cosmos but in this context it could've very well been an eternity.
The front door creaked open slowly barely a fraction and the black nuzzle of a gun poked through the small opening. It was all the invitation she was likely to get. Holding her hands up in a surrendering gesture, she stepped forward until she was about fifty feet from the doorway.
"I knew you'd come." The disembodied voice called out gleefully to her.
"You did not give me much choice." She answered back, glad her voice was steady and did not project the fear she felt creep into her spine.
"Did you bring it?" He didn't have to say what "it" was. She already knew.
"I did." She confirmed with a nod.
"Show it to me."
She still could not see his face but the threat of the gun he waved at her was clear. "Where's Booth?"
"He's indisposed at the moment." He said with a chuckle at his own joke. "Now be a good little scientist and show me what you have or the two of you will die…or should I say the three of you." She could feel his eyes on her womb and suppressed a shudder.
Brennan audibly sucked in a breath at the warning and deliberately slow and calculated, she reached one hand into her pocket and took out the thumb drive and held it up to show him. He opened the door wider. She could see his face now. Carson was an ordinary man; average by all standards except for one – he was a brutal killer.
"Good. Now throw it over."
"I want to see Booth first. That was the deal." She said placing the small gadget in the same pocket as the gun.
"You should know better than to make a deal with a murderer, Doctor Brennan…or didn't they teach that to you at the F.B.I."
"I don't work for the F.B.I." She informed him tersely trying to stall him until her back up came. "I work for the Jeffersonian Institute. Now where's Booth? You will get nothing until I see him." Somehow she managed to keep the tremors from her voice. If there was any time she needed to compartmentalize it was now. The problem was; since being more secure in her relationship with Booth…since getting pregnant, her compartments were considerably smaller.
"Since I'm feeling a little generous today…" Carson opened the door wider and Brennan could just barely make out Booth's crumpled form on the floor. His head was turned away from them but she could clearly see his hands and feet were bound. That was good, Brennan let out a sigh of relief. If he was tied up, it meant that he was still alive. Why would Carson restrain a dead man? He was injured though, that much was obvious. She wished she knew how much.
"What did you do to him?" Brennan demanded, tempering the fear that was about to clog her throat.
Carson shrugged. "Nothing that some heavy duty painkillers won't cure…unless you don't give me what I want. Now Dr. Brennan, the evidence, if you please."
He trained his gun on her steadily. She knew he had watched which pocket she had put the drive back in, which was why she put it in the same pocket that had her gun. The only problem was, if she pulled out the gun he would shoot either her or Booth. Could she shoot him through the pocket of her coat? She had to try…even if she only disabled him. She could do this.
Her fingers closed around the trigger slowly as she made it seem like she was fumbling in her pocket. Suddenly his expression changed into anger and she knew without a doubt he was aware that she was armed. She was out of time.
Two simultaneous gunshots fired echoing into the thick woods surrounding them. Two bodies simultaneously hit the earth with a thud and somewhere in the distance was the blare of a siren.
As Brennan struggled to hold onto consciousness and her vision began to blur and darken, an old bedtime prayer came to mind.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
The irony wasn't lost on her that she was an atheist. A small smile flitted on her lips that were starting to lose their pink color. She could feel the blood seeping from her chest. At least her baby would be safe…she could hold on a little while longer for the baby.