I naturally multitask! This story came to me when Brennan complained she wanted a story mostly to herself.
I don't own anything to do with bones, other than the ones in my body, and I'm making nothing out of this story except the experience it brings me, which is in every sense priceless.
The first step in any vacation is planning where you are going to.
Brennan was aware that Deputy Director Cullen was at the Jeffersonian Institute for a meeting with her boss, Dr Goodman, so she was only vaguely surprised at first to look up and see him standing in front of her desk.
"I'm sorry," she said, slightly flustered. "I didn't notice you come in – I must have been concentrating."
He smiled slightly. "Dr Brennan, I'm sorry to disturb you, but I thought you'd like to know – Booth has been involved in a slight incident."
Her fluster turned to alarm. "What happened?"
"He and a team of agents were raiding a suspect's house and apparently it turned nasty. He's been shot. Only a slight wound, nothing serious," he added hurriedly. "But they've taken him to the hospital. I just got word, and I'm headed there now. Dr Goodman suggested you might like to come with me."
"Oh, yes, of course." Brennan reached for her coat, her heart racing. Nothing serious. But she had seen cases where an injury that should have been slight had resulted in something out of proportion to the original injury. She told herself to stop reacting emotionally, to deal with one thing at a time. Right now, Booth was slightly injured, and she must deal with that. If it turned out more serious – well, there would be plenty of time to panic then.
"What's up, sweetie?" Angela called after her as she strode across the floor of the lab after Cullen.
"Booth's been injured. It's not serious, but I'm – I'm just going to check he's okay."
Angela frowned in concern. "Tell him we hope he's better soon," she ordered. "And let us know how he is."
Brennan nodded, and then concentrated on keeping up with the long strides of the deputy director.
They reached the hospital in a few minutes – one of the advantages of travelling in an FBI car with the flashing lights, Brennan reflected – and met the ambulance arriving at the ER entrance. Brennan watched in shock as Booth was lifted out of the back of the ambulance on a gurney and wheeled into the hospital. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest over shirtsleeves, and his left shoulder was soaked in blood, with a makeshift dressing pressed over it. He had an oxygen mask over his face, but he pulled it down weakly as he saw her.
She stepped over to him and stared down at him, struggling for words. He tried to smile. "Bones, could you do something for me?" he asked.
She nodded and bent down so she could hear better. "Of course, what is it?"
"My – my phone. Could you call Rebecca? I'm supposed to have Parker tonight. She's going to kill me."
"Looks like someone else already tried," she commented dryly.
He grimaced. "It's okay. It probably looks a lot worse than it is. But – but I don't see myself getting out of here tonight. Please, ring Rebecca and tell her. Tell her I'm sorry, I know how much this time meant to her."
He shifted on the gurney and winced. "She's gonna think I got myself shot on purpose," he complained.
"Don't be silly, I'm sure she'll understand," Brennan soothed him, aware that the medical staff around her were fretting at the delay in the corridor.
"No, she won't – but I can't – I can't do anything about it." He relaxed back onto the gurney, the pain showing in his face.
"Where's your phone?" Brennan asked.
A man in an FBI jacket, who had appeared from the ambulance, held a denim jacket out to her. "All his stuff is in the pockets," he explained.
"We must go," said the orderly at Booth's head. "He's losing blood. We must get him seen to."
Brennan nodded and stood back. Booth's jacket felt heavy in her hand. When she shook it she heard the jangle of keys, and a quick search through the pockets revealed his phone. "Outside, please," said a passing nurse, seeing the phone in her hand. Brennan took a last look at Booth, who was being wheeled at speed away from her along the corridor, then went outside to use his phone.
A quick search of his phone found the speed dial button for Rebecca. She hit the button and waited. After just one ring the phone was picked up. She heard nothing but breathing for a few seconds, then a small voice said, "Hello?"
"Parker," she sighed in relief. For a moment she had been scared that the number was wrong, that she would not be able to contact Rebecca.
"Is your mommy there?"
"Yes." She waited, but he said nothing else. She could still hear him breathing.
"Oh. Well, could you go and get her for me?"
"Okay." Brennan heard the clatter of the receiver being placed on a hard surface, then the voice moved further away, calling, "Mommy!"
It was only a couple more minutes before the phone was picked up again. This time a woman's voice spoke. "Hello, can I help you?"
"Oh, hello, yes, is that Rebecca?" Brennan realised she didn't even know Rebecca's last name.
"Yes it is. I'm sorry, I didn't hear the phone ring. Parker must have picked it up as soon as it started. I'm afraid he loves answering the phone at the moment, but his phone manners aren't quite all they should be yet. I hope he didn't cause any trouble."
"Not at all," Brennan assured her. "I'm Dr Temperance Brennan. I work with Booth."
She could sense the change in Rebecca's attitude. "What's it about?"
"He tells me he's supposed to have Parker this evening."
"I'm dropping him off tonight and he's staying with his dad until Monday night. Why?" Her voice rose. "Don't tell me he's trying to get out of it! He promised faithfully he wouldn't let me down. If he mucks us about this time, that's it. He's not seeing him again. He knows this is important!"
Brennan could sense the panic in Rebecca's voice. Oh hell. She could tell the other woman meant it; Booth had mentioned before that Rebecca resented him spending time with their child. This could be the excuse for her to cut off contact altogether. She thought fast.
"No, it's okay," she replied. "He's still having him. He's just – he's been delayed. He asked if I could look after Parker for him until he gets back."
"Oh." Rebecca still sounded suspicious. Did she think that Booth hadn't okayed this? Well, to be accurate, he hadn't, but she was sure he would rather she cared for Parker overnight than disappoint him and upset Rebecca. How could she convince her?
"He said the password to let you know it's genuine was 'pokemon'," Brennan added, thanking the fates that when they'd been working to rescue young Donovan Decker she'd asked Booth about whether he had a password for his own son.
"Oh. Okay then."
Had she got away with it? "I was just ringing to check what time he was coming. You are dropping him off, aren't you?"
"Yes. The plan was to drop him off at his dad's place at around seven. Is that still okay?" Rebecca definitely sounded happier now.
Brennan thought of the keys in the jacket pocket. She guessed that one must be for Booth's apartment. "Yes, that's fine," she agreed. "I'll see you there."
She hung up and put the phone back in Booth's pocket, trembling slightly. What the hell had she let herself in for? At least it was something to distract herself from worrying about Booth.
Heading back into the hospital, she found Cullen talking to the man in the FBI jacket. Cullen nodded when he saw her. "They've just taken him in for surgery," he told her. "They need to remove the bullet. But it should be straightforward, no serious damage done. It's mainly a flesh wound."
Brennan thought of the muscle damage, of the ligaments that could be torn by a bullet forcing its way between the fibres. She thought of the damage a bullet could do if it made contact with bone. She thought about the possible organ damage caused by a more direct hit. "Good," she managed.
It was just over an hour later that a doctor approached her and the deputy director. "All went well," he said cheerfully. "Agent Booth is in recovery. We'll get him settled in a room, then you can see him."
Until then, Brennan hadn't realised that she had been breathing shallowly. Now she took in a deep breath and filled her lungs. She turned to Cullen, who smiled sympathetically at her. "I told you he'd be fine," he pronounced.
A nurse fetched them shortly thereafter. Cullen entered the room first, and had a short conversation with Booth. Then he came out. "He wants to speak to you," he said.
Brennan entered the room nervously. Booth was lying back on the pillows, looking pale. The oxygen mask had been replaced by cannulae, and the makeshift dressing by a proper, cleaner one. His left arm was strapped across his chest, to immobilise his shoulder. An intravenous drip went in the back of his right hand. Chest sensors led to a monitor that bleeped and flashed rhythmically next to the bed.
She sat down on the chair next to him, and gently stroked the back of his hand, avoiding the needle. He tried to smile, but was very drowsy. "Did you call Rebecca?" he asked.
"Yes, I did, don't worry," she reassured him.
"Was she very mad?"
"No." Brennan considered for a moment keeping quiet about what she had agreed to, but then thought better of it. "I told her I'd look after him until you came out of hospital."
"You did?" He half sat up in surprise, then sank down again weakly.
"Yes." Well, that was almost accurate, she told herself. She hadn't actually mentioned the hospital, and she'd skimmed over the part where she indicated it would only be for a couple of hours, but basically – yes, she supposed she had agreed to look after Parker until Booth was home.
"Are you sure you can handle it?"
"Of course. It will be like a mini vacation for me, playing with Parker instead of working. I should get some writing done as well." She was starting to feel more comfortable about it herself. The chance for a break from work appealed; she rarely got to sit down and enjoy free time. Maybe it was time she learnt to relax.
"Thanks, Bones." He closed his eyes, and she thought for a moment that he'd drifted off to sleep. Just as she was about to leave, he moved his hand and took hold of hers. "Bones – you'll need my car."
"Parker's seat. In the back. It's parked at the bureau."
She thought of the child seat. "Oh, of course. Booth – is it okay if I look after him at your place?"
"Yeah. Make yourself at home." He was drifting off again. A nurse came in to look at the monitors around him, and Brennan looked up in alarm.
The nurse shook her head. "He's fine," she reassured her. "The anaesthetic is making him a little sleepy still, that's all. It's quite normal."
Brennan turned her attention back to Booth, who was breathing steadily. She gently slipped her hand out from his and stood up. His eyes flickered open. "Bones?"
He smiled faintly. "Tell Parker hi for me. And have fun." Then he fell asleep.
Please let me know how you enjoy this one. You know where the review button is, and your words might spur me on to update faster. I promise to keep up with the Boy on the Building Site as well, honestly!