Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines
Author's Note: Here it is! There's a healthy dose of angst and fluff, plus a reference to Hannibal the Cannibal. I hope you enjoy! Review, as always.
"Booth," she says. "Booth! Seeley!"
Temperance's hand finds his, cold and still shaking slightly. She squeezes it reassuringly, forcing Booth to look at her. Slipping his phone from his hand, she slides it back into his front pocket, fishing out his car keys at the same time. Temperance grabs his jacket from the floor and hands it to Booth, urging him to put the garment back on.
"Let's go," she instructs, jingling his keys in his face.
Booth nods, tucking his shirt back in and folding the jacket over his arm. His eyes, so dark with desire mere moments before, are wide and distracted as he looks at her. Temperance moves towards the door and slips on some shoes, Booth close behind her.
"Bones, I-I'm…" Booth tries to convey his fears to her.
"I know," she replies, voice soft and hand seeking his. "Come on," she reiterates.
For the third time that night, they find themselves in the hallway of Temperance's building. It's late and they don't pass a single person on the way to the car. Temperance presses the automatic unlock button on Booth's key ring and climbs into the driver's seat. For once she gets to drive, but she'd rather like to have the privilege under other circumstances.
Booth buckles in beside her, leaning his elbow on the door, chin resting in his hand as he stares out the window. Temperance navigates the streets quickly but safely, keeping a close watch on Booth from the corner of her eye. This is strange; she's the temporary rock in their relationship now, rationally taking control of the situation and promising the best for him. Her thoughts though are on what lies before them at the hospital.
A half-hour passes and they're in the parking lot. The bright red sign pointing towards the emergency room mocks them as they walk swiftly beneath it and into the building. The waiting room is packed, typical of any D.C. hospital, but Temperance hardly notices. She marches up to the desk, Booth lagging slightly behind her, and immediately catches a nurse's attention.
"Excuse me," she says. "Noah Booth? What room is he in?"
The nurse looks up from the chart in her hands and grimaces.
"I'm sorry ma'am, I can't give you that information," she replies. "New privacy acts, it's classified," she explains, stony gaze fixed on Temperance.
Temperance's eyes narrow and her hands curl into fists by her sides.
"Look, I don't care if it's classified or not," Temperance retorts. "If you don't want to tell me, I'll--" a threat of bodily harm is on the tip of her tongue, but Booth's hand on her shoulder, fingers digging firmly into her skin, hastily stops her.
"I'm his son," Booth states. "And she's my wife," he adds, nodding at Temperance.
The nurse, obviously used to being threatened and hardly frazzled by it, huffs a breath and rolls her eyes at the pair.
"Where on earth did you find her?" she asks Booth while gesturing to the slightly calmed Temperance now hovering behind him.
"Museum," he explains.
"Ah," the nurse smiles. "Room 117, down the hall to your right."
"Thank you," Booth replies, steering Temperance towards the double doors of the corridor, hand still on her shoulder.
Temperance gives the nurse a tight smile, teeth grinding. As soon as they pass behind the door, she wheels on Booth.
"Your wife?" she asks.
Booth nods, the hint of a smile passing over his lips before vanishing into a frown again.
"Bones, you know that only family is allowed, and calling you my wife makes you family," he chastises. "Unless you want to stay out there. I saw an empty seat next to Hannibal Lecter in the corner," he jokes.
"Who?" she questions, obviously perplexed.
"Fictional sociopath psychiatrist and cannibal," he responds. "You two would have loads to talk about," he quirks an eyebrow at her.
Temperance opens her mouth to rebuke, but closes it suddenly and tilts her head slightly to the side.
"You're doing that teasing thing again, aren't you?" she asks.
This, combined with the look on her face, draws the first full smile from Booth since they left for the hospital.
"Yup, you bet I am," he replies, nodding.
They continue on down the hallway, Booth counting the numbers on the doors until they reach 117. Three chairs rest outside the room and one is occupied by Booth's sister Danny. She looks up at the sound of footsteps and immediately stands to hug her brother.
"Seeley, thank God you're here," she says with relief.
"Where's Mom?" he asks, releasing his sister from the hug.
"She went to get coffee downstairs. Jared couldn't get off work," she replies.
Temperance watches this exchange with a mixture of feelings, and she wills away the little green monster called 'jealousy' by reminding herself of why they're here in the first place.
"Temperance, nice to see you again," Danny greets her with a hug as well.
A bit taken aback, Temperance nods in reply and doesn't miss the look that passes between brother and sister, the latter most likely wondering about her company with Booth at such a late hour.
"How's Dad?" Booth asks then, running a hand through his tousled hair.
"He passed out and hit his head on the corner of the dining room table. The doctor is saying the fainting is heart-related," she explains.
Booth is relieved, though a slight hint of worry still lingers in the front of his mind. His knees feel weak and he sinks down into one of the chairs. Temperance comes to sit beside him, her hand resting on his arm lightly.
Just then, the door to 117 opens and a kindly looking elderly man in a white coat pokes his head out and smirks, glasses perched precariously on the edge of his nose.
"Miss Booth?" he addresses Danny. "Would you be so kind as to assist us, please?"
A pair of squabbling voices can be heard coming from the room behind the doctor.
"Mr. Booth, you need to sit still. I have to stitch the cut on your head," the nurse scolds.
"Get this damn gown off of me and give me my shirt!" is the reply. "I'm getting out of this hellhole and I don't care what you have to do!"
"Please, Mr. Booth. Sit down!" the nurse's voice raises.
"Go to hell!" he bellows. "And it's Colonel Booth!"
The three people in the hallway exchange glances, and a bemused Danny excuses herself and follows the doctor back into the room. As the door swings shut behind her, Temperance and Booth look at each other, identical grins on their faces.
"He never did like hospitals much," Booth comments.
"Like father, like son," she counters.
They fall silent, staring at the white of the wall across from them. When Booth speaks again, his voice is low and quiet, barely audible even to Temperance.
"When I got back from the Middle East, after…" he trails off.
She nods, remembering. You know on your x-rays, there's a history of multiple fractures on your feet consistent with beating. It's a common method of torture in the Middle East, beating the soles of the feet with pipes or hoses. Her hand finds his and she angles slightly in her seat, encouraging him to go on.
"I was in the hospital for three weeks. My dad didn't come and visit me once," his voice breaks a little, but he clears his throat and continues. "It just would have been nice to see him, that's all," Booth attempts a smile, one side of his mouth quirking upwards.
"Booth, I know better than anyone that the past can haunt a person, make them hollow inside. Finding out what happened to my parents doesn't change the fact that they're gone and they're never coming back, no matter how much I wish it," Temperance tries to reassure him by relating her own problems.
"It's difficult to forget," he says. "Not just that, but everything," he shrugs.
"We can't define ourselves based on our pasts. Finding out my real name, that whole thing with my mother's case, it changed me," she admits. "I know now that my life is defined by the people in it. Russ, Angela… you," she smiles. "Now I'm not so hollow."
Temperance wonders at the ease with which her confessions come out to Booth. Her words are supposed to be comforting, but rather than consoling him about his father, she's burdening him with her troubles. When she looks at him only to find that he's staring at her, eyes dark and serious, she blushes.
"Sorry," she ducks her head. "I'm much more articulate on paper."
"Nah, that was a compelling speech, Bones," he says gently, ignoring her apology.
"Well I--" she tries to speak, but Booth cuts her off.
"Thank you," he utters, pulling her into a hug.
It seems as if the universe is conspiring to abruptly break up all of their moments at the worse possible time. The door to room 117 swings open yet again, and Danny, along with the same doctor from before and another annoyed-looking nurse, emerges. Danny and the nurse take off down the hallway, the former muttering something about finding her mother. Booth reluctantly releases Temperance and they rise from their chairs, going to meet the doctor.
"Agent Booth, I'm Dr. Peterson," he introduces himself and shakes Booth's hand.
"How is he?" Booth asks.
"He hit his head pretty hard going down, but it just looks superficial. There's no sign of a concussion, but we're going to keep him overnight to make sure he's clear," he answers.
"What about his heart?"
"That's what we're worried about. As far as we can tell, it was the angina that caused him to pass out. We need to do some more tests before we can be completely sure that he's out of danger," the doctor explains.
Booth nods, taking it all in.
"You can see him now if you like," Dr. Peterson says, vivid blue eyes twinkling behind narrow-rimmed glasses as takes leave of the pair.
Booth thanks the doctor and steps aside, letting him pass. Temperance watches him, noticing how the lines on his forehead grow deeper as he moves to the door. Pushing it open, he slips into the room and Temperance follows, hovering in the threshold.
"Colonel," Booth greets his father briefly.
"Seeley," he says, apparently content to see his son. "Temperance, come over here," he instructs with no intention of leaving her out.
She obeys, swiftly walking to the side of the bed next to Booth.
"Colonel Booth, how are you feeling?" she asks him courteously.
"Truthfully? Like hell. I hate hospitals. Except for the pretty nurses, of course."
Temperance glances sideways at Booth to see him roll his eyes.
"They have me hooked up to so many damn machines. I'm not supposed to be moving around too much," he grumps. "Hand me one of those puddings over there?" he asks Temperance, gesturing at the food cart sitting just out of his reach.
The look on his face is so similar to the one that Booth had given her during his stay in the hospital that Temperance has to work hard to stifle a grin. She obliges and deftly tears the lid off, handing the treat to the Colonel along with a spoon.
"Mmmm, good stuff," he scoops the pudding into his mouth eagerly.
Temperance, sufficiently calmed, gives Booth a look and he shrugs. Like father, like son indeed. What an interesting concept.
"How was your date?" Colonel Booth pipes up, breaking up their staring contest.
"What?" Booth replies.
"Your date," his father repeats. "I can put two and two together," he raises an eyebrow and glances at Temperance's attire.
Looking down at herself, Temperance remembers that she's still dressed up. On her feet, however, are some worn gray running shoes, the first pair she had encountered in their mad dash to get out the door. Hardly believing that she had traipsed around the hospital in them, Temperance blushes.
"Nice shoes, Bones," Booth mocks.
"Shut up," she glares at him.
"And our date is none of your business, Colonel," Booth says pointedly to his father.
Seeing their flashing eyes and sensing a battle in the making, Temperance steps in and averts a crisis. She smoothes her dress down and smiles at the Colonel.
"It was great, Colonel Booth. We went to Geranio Ristorante," she successfully calms the Booth men. "Your son has good taste."
"That he does," the Colonel replies, nodding at Temperance. "I'm surprised you weren't too busy to stop in and see me, with your FBI work and all," he addresses Booth.
"Don't start that," Booth sighs.
"That. I came and that's what matters, okay?" Booth fights to control his temper.
Temperance clears her throat and Colonel Booth looks askance at her. I'm familiar with what it's like to live with that regret, with knowing that you never got the chance to apologize. His gaze returns to Booth and he nods, trying to smile through his annoyance.
"Sorry," the Colonel's voice is rough, evidently not used to making an apology.
Booth looks up sharply, as surprised as his father is that the man actually verbally expressed a request for forgiveness. He can't remember ever hearing the Colonel use that word before, at least not when it really mattered.
"Me too… Dad," Booth replies, sharply nodding at the Colonel, even though his brown eyes had softened their severity.
A moment of understanding passes between the two men. Right before the silence would otherwise become awkward, a nurse pokes her head around the door.
"Visiting hours are over," she says.
"Alright," Booth thanks her. "I guess we should go. It is getting late."
"Okay, goodnight," the Colonel bids farewell. "Enjoy the rest of your date. And Temperance, keep him in line," his eyes sparkle with mischief.
"I will, Colonel," she grins at him.
"Bye," Booth says, glaring at his father. "I'll be back tomorrow."
Temperance and Booth go to leave the room, but the Colonel's hesitant voice stops them.
"Seeley? I do love you, son. You know that, don't you?"
Booth turns around, examining his father closely. Temperance's hand hovers over the door handle and she wonders if she should give them some privacy. However, before she can make a decision, Booth's answers him.
"Yeah… yeah, I do," he says quietly.
Booth joins her at the door and they leave the room, dimming the lights with the light switch on the wall. Side-by-side, they start down the long hallway towards the entrance, both weary and exhausted from the long night, but completely aware of the other's presence. Booth slides a hand onto the small of Temperance's back, catching the fabric of her dress between his fingers. With a charming smile, he leans in close to her ear and speaks.
"Ready to go enjoy the rest of our date?" he wickedly suggests.
She turns to him, a reply forming on her tongue, but a swarm of dashing nurses and doctors pushes them out of the way and against the wall. Temperance and Booth watch in horror as the throng stops at room 117 and swiftly enters, firing commands at one another in scientific jumble.
Booth takes off after them, Temperance hot on his heels.
"Booth, wait!" she yells, pushing people out of her way.
She catches him at the doorway of the room and grabs his arm, pure adrenaline giving her the ability to jerk him around to face her. He's breathing hard and his eyes are wide, pure anxiety showing in the brown depths.
"Let go!" he roars.
"Seeley, you can't go in there," Temperance attempts to calm him down. "The doctors know what they're doing, give them room to work," she reasons.
"It's his heart, it has to be his heart," Booth repeats. "Oh God, what if--"
"No, don't say that," she stops him. "Don't say that."
She rubs her hands up and down his arms, trying to get through to him. Gradually, he slows down, bringing his emotions into check again. Slumping against the wall, he slides until he's sitting on the ground to the left of the door. Legs bent, he rests his elbows on his knees and holds his head in his hands.
Temperance watches him crumple, and without giving a second thought about her dress, she lowers herself down to the hospital floor beside him. Tentatively reaching out a hand, she lays it on his tense shoulder. Booth leans into her touch, and she pulls his head against her chest, slipping an arm around his body.
"He seemed fine," his voice drifts up to her ears. "Just a few minutes ago."
She responds by holding him tighter, tucking his head beneath her chin and lazily running her fingers over his cheek and through his hair, any words she might have said getting stuck in the back of her throat.
Author's Note: Seriously? Seriously. The unfortunate Colonel, I don't think he deserves heart problems. And I didn't mean to make his illness so involved, it kind of just happened. Poor Booth and Brennan, they're never going to get to finish their date. At this rate I'm thinking something along the lines of supply closet sex, whaddya say? Haha, leave a review and tell me how you liked it.