Lost in thought, jostled by passersby, Temperance Brennan stood outside the Hoover Building trying to determine her next course of action. Under normal situations, she could think at least five moves ahead. However, normal situations did not include being dragged from her husband's hospital room, forcibly taken to FBI headquarters, questioned for hours before being released and being warned to stay away from her husband or face arrest. Her arrest was something she could not allow to happen. Christine needed at least one of her parents with her and the agents questioning Brennan had made it clear that Booth would not be returning home upon his release from the hospital.
Home. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the thought. She had no home to return to and probably wouldn't want to in any case. The house that Booth had worked so hard to repair and prepare for them had been all but destroyed. That was just the structure. The home, the life they had made there, the sense of safety and belonging, had also been destroyed the instant those men fired the first shot. She had found something in that house that she had lost at the age of fifteen and now wondered if it could ever be recovered.
She remained locked in place, on her tiny square of sidewalk, ignoring the bumps and complaints that she was blocking traffic, until she felt a hand on her shoulder, followed by a gentle shake. Her train of thought lost, she turned to tell the person who had invaded her personal space to back the hell off and found herself looking in the startling blue eyes that could only belong to her father. Without a word, he held his arms out to her. And without a word, she fell into them, silently sobbing, shoulders shaking, all illusion of control lost.
"Sweets called me," he whispered in her ear. "Christine is with Angela, excited to have a playdate with Michael. Caroline arranged for me to go in the house, with supervision, of course. I've packed bags for you and Christine. You're coming home with me. No arguments."
Pulling away from her father's arms was difficult, but she managed it. Swiping her hands across her face to erase the remnants of her tears, she nodded and allowed herself to be led to his car. Max respect her need for space and drove in silence instead of bombarding her with questions as her normally would.
Arriving at the condo that she had bought for him years earlier, she unpacked, showered and slept, promising herself that when she awoke, she would start planning, making the necessary decisions regarding what would come next.
During the day, Brennan occupied herself with whatever case presented itself on her table. While she would always perform her job to the best of her abilities, during this time there was always a part of her brain mulling over the facts of Booth's case. She knew there had to be a way to prove the existence of a mole within the FBI, to prove that Booth had not been the attacker, but the one attacked that night.
As soon as medically possible, Booth had been released from the hospital and taken into federal custody. Charged with the murders of three federal agents, he was in as much danger from the guards as he was from the prisoners, some of whom he was responsible for putting in prison in the first place. Knowing the danger he faced, only pushed Brennan even harder to find a way to end the insanity that had become their lives.
Pausing in her work to check the clock, she saw that she needed to leave if she was going to arrive at the prison to see Booth on time. Replacing the femur she had been examining on the table, she turned and walked determinedly toward her office, pulling her gloves off with a snap as she walked. Gloves tossed in the trash, messenger bag scooped up from the floor, she left her office almost as soon as she had entered it. She walked out of the lab and toward her car in the parking deck without a word to her coworkers, who, after a month of this routine, knew where she was going.
Upon her arrival at the prison, she flipped down the visor to check her appearance. Satisfied that the she had sufficiently camouflaged the dark circles under her eyes, she grabbed her messenger bag, squared her shoulders and headed for the highlight of her day, a visit with her husband.
If seeing her husband was the highlight of her day, then having to see him taken away at the end of their visits was the low point. Returning to her car, she collapsed in the driver's seat as she did at the end of every visit. The positivity that she forced, the light conversation that she maintained took so much out of her. She detested being phony with Booth, but he had enough to deal with without her adding to it. So, she planned their visits, their conversations, staying on safe topics. This time she told him about the house she had made an offer on. After describing the floor plan, the light, airy feel provided by the openness and windows, she realized he wasn't listening, only nodding occasionally, as if interested. She let her words fade out mid-sentence, finally taking in the faraway look in his eyes. The rest of their visit passed in silence as they were both unable to maintain the facades they had worked so hard to construct.
Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes passed until she was ready to face the rest of her day. Turning her cell phone back on, she listened to the message her real estate agent had left – her offer on the house had been accepted, closing would be expedited and she could take possession in two weeks. She breathed a sigh of relief. In light of everything that was wrong in their lives, this seemed like a minor victory, but she would take it all the same. She and Christine would be able to move out of her father's condo. She was truly grateful for everything he had done, but she needed her own space. Christine needed her routine back. Booth needed a place to come home to, because he would be coming home. No matter how long it took, she would clear him of all charges. He would return to his 'girls.'
She had driven to the condo on autopilot. Removing the key from the car's ignition, she smiled in anticipation of the other highlight of her day – dinner with her daughter. Christine's laughter was infectious and just what Brennan needed after a long day of just getting through, just surviving, just counting the minutes until they were whole again.
Christine was, as always, full of questions about her father. Brennan answered as best as she could, protecting the little girl from the worst details of Booth's prison life. Christine's face fell as she was once again told she couldn't visit her father. Brennan had pleaded with Booth to allow her to bring Christine for a visit, but he had refused. She understood his reasoning. He would never want Christine to see him in prison orange, or with the bruises and cuts that seemed to be a constant in his life. What Booth didn't understand was how difficult the separation was for their daughter. She missed her father and no explanation could ever fully explain his absence. As tempting as it was to defy Booth and take Christine along one day, she respected his wishes and watched her daughter's heart break a little each time she was told no or each time the door opened and Daddy didn't walk through it.
The nights were the worst. Christine went to bed early, as did Max. It was then that she was left alone with her thoughts, when she missed Booth the most, when her distractions were gone. She would try to read or review the research for her next journal submission. She had even tried to outline and begin writing an idea she had for a new novel. Instead of inhabiting their own world, Andy and Kathy seemed to be inhabiting her world, taking on the roles of Brennan and Booth in happier times, reminding her of everything she had lost. After the third attempt, she considered it a lost cause and deleted the file.
Eventually, she would go to bed, even though sleep was as much of a losing battle as distraction was. Perhaps it was because the bed she slept in wasn't theirs. The pillows and sheets did not carry his scent. His clothes were not in the drawers alongside hers. Nothing reminded in the room reminded her of him and maybe, just maybe, that absence is what screamed at her every night, kept her from sleeping, made her miss him even more.
This night, just like every other night during this nightmare, her body eventually gave way to exhaustion and she slept. Every morning, after what seemed like only minutes, the alarm would go off and she would begin the cycle again. Every morning, she awoke more determined than the day before to find the evidence that would free Booth and bring him home.
A/N - My original plan was for this story to be a one-shot. Now, I think it will be a two-, possibly three-shot. Please let me know what you think of it in that little box below. Thanks for reading! ~ craftyjhawk