Title: Taking The Risk
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: This is a Hodgela fic, post up for 2x09
He couldn't breathe.
His lungs burned, and his hands frantically pressed against the glass that seemed to close in around him. He body was cramped, folded into a confined space, and he was going to die. In minutes, his lungs would cease to draw air into his body, and his heart rate would gradually slow until it stopped beating altogether. He'd be dead. Dead, and with so many things in life he had never gotten around to doing.
His fingers knocked the windows, and at his feet, nestled on the floor between the back seat and the front, Temperance Brennan had stopped breathing already. Her lifeless body a solid, yet terrifying weight. He felt a sob catch in his throat, and far in the back of his mind, he heard his father's stern voice command him to be strong – to be a man. But his lungs, they hurt so much, and his body was weakened, his muscles dying a painful death along with his mind. He was disorientated, losing sight of logic. His fist collided with the glass, and the pane cracked, but beyond, the heavy dirt pressed, waiting to slide into the car and suffocate him. He was, immaterial to everything else, going to die.
He had never sky dived, bungee jumped off a bridge, kayaked in South America, skied in Andorra, taken a picture of the Eiffel Tower or told Angela Montenegro how much he loved her. So many opportunities, never carried out, because he was sure he had so much time life. So many years to complete all the things he had wanted to do. And yet, as his breathing closed, his arms no longer having the energy to pound the glass, he realised his beliefs had been foolish, stupidly optimistic.
He sobbed, dropping his head back against the seat, tears catching in his throat, hindering his ability to breathe further still. He tilted his foot, a terrible pain shooting through his calf, burning where Temperance had performed her impromptu surgery, and his toes touched her lifeless body. He recoiled, heaving, suddenly repulsed by death. He had never been bothered by it before, but the woman on the floor was his boss, his colleague, his friend, and together, their wits had been unable to save them. Alone, he had no chance of saving himself. He was dead.
Swallowing, he squeezed his eyes shut, willing away the morbid image of her body, and his own regrets. Choking, he cried out. The last of the oxygen was gone, and he was unable to breathe at all. Words formed on his tongue, in the back of his disorientated mind, but without air, he couldn't voice anything.
Then, on the ground, Temperance stirred, her lifeless eyes opening as she looked at him, dead, yet not. "Wake up, Jack," she commanded him, her neck craned in an odd, uncomfortable manner. His eyes widened, his throat dry and aching. "You need to wake up…" he choked. "Breathe, Jack," he shook his head, indicating that he couldn't. She blinked, the rest of her body unmoving – as dead and stiff as before. He felt cool, smooth hands move over his face, stroking the creases of his forehead, and he wondered at the invisible entity. "Wake up…" it whispered, no longer voiced through Brennan's body. "Shush…" he tried to sob, and suddenly he could breathe again, and he sucked a harsh, ragged gulp of air into his lungs, the feeling acidic, almost painful. His body had been deprived only for a few moments, but it felt like hours.
"…never got to ski," he cried, "in Andorra. Never bungee jumped. Never told Angela…" he felt hot tears scorch his cheeks, as the interior of the car twisted like a mirage, the effects of prolonged moments without oxygen. Perhaps he would be forever brain damaged. "…I love her…" he sighed, closing his eyes. His lashes were wet against his cheeks, and the cool hands on his face stilled.
"Jack, it's me," she said, and as if it were only these words he needed to hear, his eyes flew open, his body tense. His skin felt moist with sweat, and he'd thrown off the blanket in his sleep. To his right, the bedside lamp cast a pale, comforting glow on the ceiling, and he shifted, leaning into her touch. "Are you alright?" Angela asked, laying next to him, her cheek pressed to the pillow, her hand stroking his cheek. He nodded, his mouth too dry to form a coherent sentence. It had been his third nightmare in a week, and each time he fell into a deep sleep, the images came to him, harsh and terrifying. "I'll get you a glass of water," she shifted to move, and his fingers found her wrist, drawing her back to the mattress, pulling her body against his. When he slid his arms around her, she came willingly, nestling against his side. She felt real, beautifully real.
"I'm alright," he whispered harshly, his voice as dry as his throat. His tongue felt like sandpaper against the roof of his mouth. "Thanks for being here, Angela," he said, pressing a tentative kiss to her forehead, her breath tickling his throat when she tilted her head, her lashes fanned against her cheek.
"You're welcome," she replied. "How's your leg?" Jack shrugged, even the smallest of movements still irritating his muscles. So many hours spent within the confines of the car took longer than a week to recover from, that, and the stress of being on a breathing deadline, meant that his body was emotionally and physically exhausted.
"Is Brennan okay?" he asked, suddenly panicked as he recalled the horrifying image of her body on the floor.
"It's the third time you've asked this week," Angela sighed, her tone filled with concern. "Yes, she's fine." He breathed a heavy sigh of relief. "Jack?" He hummed, his arms tightening around her. "Did you mean it?" He tensed, quite certain that he knew what she was referring to, and suddenly he cursed his nightmare. She looked up at him, her eyes expressive, deeply curious. He could have lied to her, told her that it was too soon to tell, but eventually, she would speak with Brennan.
"Yes," he whispered. "Nothing quite like suffocating in a buried car to put life into perspective, Angela." She blinked, dropping her cheek back to his chest. "It made me realise that I don't really care about what anyone else thinks or how anyone else gets hurt." He could never have imagined lying in bed beside her, sexual or not.
"No," she sighed. "Me neither." When she lifted her head, pressing her lips to his, softer and tender than before, yet so much more confident, her body relaxing in his arms, almost yielding and matching the curves of his body with her own, he felt as though she had washed away all his nightmares.
"Are you sure?" he asked, and she nodded.
"Lets give it a try… we'll keep it between you and me… and if it doesn't work out, well, no one else has to know." He nodded, liking that she was willing to try. "I don't want to wake up one day, with you gone and me never knowing what it could have been like." She sighed. "Perfect."
I have been watching clips, and I cried watching them. When he tells Brennan that he loves Angela and then tells her it's been a privilege working with her… awk…