Title: Aftermath
Author: smitha-r
Rating: G
Fandom: Bones
Pairing(s): Brennan/Booth, Jack/Angela
Summary: Immediately after the rescue of Brennan and Hodgins, Brennan is detached, Angela is emotional, Jack is panicking, and Booth is concerned. Before the night is over, they will all have to deal with the events they've been through.
Notes: This fic is supposed to fill in what took place between the actual rescue and the next scenes right after in the episode 2x09 (Aliens In A Spaceship). Unbetaed.

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Brennan couldn't stop touching her neck. Seconds would tick by and once again she was compelled to reach back and touch the burns on the back of her neck, the skin raised and slightly charred against her fingertips. She did it because there was this strange notion bobbing around in her head, that the last several hours had been nothing but a bad dream, a singular instance of unreality that her brain was unwilling to accept. Yes, she'd been trapped underground in a car. But she'd always known that the others would get to her, that Booth would be there to save her in the end. Which he did, grabbing her hand before she fell into unconsciousness and pulling her from the pebbled ground like something out of a Greek myth. It was all over, like she had known it would be, and now everything could go back to normal.

She watched as Booth finished talking to the doctor was had been in charge of Hodgins' surgery and walked over to her. "Ready to go home?" His hand skimmed across her shoulder before settling on the small of her back and guiding her towards the elevators.

"Yes, definitely." She nodded with a pleasant smile. "I could sure use a beer right now."

Booth looked at her curiously as they got on the elevator. "Are you sure you're fine?"

"Of course I am. And before you say it, I am not suffering from any post-traumatic stress issues." Brennan felt light-hearted and weirdly cheerful. Who wouldn't be? Life was good.

They were out the elevator and walking towards the front doors of the hospital when a shout caught their attention.

"Temperance!" Brennan turned at the last moment to find Angela barrelling towards her. The slender woman stopped just short of tackling Brennan, her hands gripping Brennan's shoulders tightly. "I just wanted to say good-night before you left. And that... I'm really glad you're safe. I was so worried about you. About both of you." Tears were beginning to spring to Angela's eyes as she hugged Brennan.

Brennan hugged Angela back haltingly, a little perplexed at her outpouring of emotion. She looked to Booth for assistance, but he just frowned at her and motioned for her to say something. Something reassuring probably. "Don't cry on my account, Angela. I'm fine." Brennan said, drawing back from Angela and looking at her in what she hoped was a comforting manner. "The doctor said that I'm completely fit to be discharged."

"But you could have died down there." Angela said in a fretful whisper.

"Angela, I knew you guys wouldn't let us down." She glanced to her side where Booth was standing and watching them silently. "I knew Booth do anything to get to Hodgins and myself, and that you would all help him. I wasn't going to die down there."

Angela pressed her lips together for a moment of thoughtful consideration, then sighed tearfully. "Okay, I'll keep my freaking out to a minimum. I'm pretty sure that the last thing Jack needs to see anyway." She hugged Brennan one last time, waved good-bye to Booth, and headed back upstairs to see if Jack had woken up from surgery yet.

---

All around him was the horrible shriek of twisting metal, assaulting his ears like painful demons. The clogging scent of ash and gravel was suffocating him, filling his nose and his mouth, as the crushing pressure built up and he felt the earth itself pound down on him, burying deep into the ground until he couldn't breathe or think or scream-

Hodgins awoke with a gasp, realizing that he was actually sitting in a hospital bed. He took several deep breaths, willing his breathing and heart rate to calm down. A nurse walked by the open door to his room and noticed he was awake, coming in to make a few notes on the chart at the end of his bed. Minutes passed and Hodgins tried to push the dream out of his mind, but he couldn't. It was all he could think about. His mind wouldn't stop recreating the horrible trauma he'd been through, the threat that had held his hostage for so many hours.

After a moment, Hodgins looked around and realized that he was alone in the hospital room. There was no one there keeping him company, no one watching to see how he was dealing with the events of the day. Just as well, he thought, pushing the sensation of Angela's lips on his out of his mind. He didn't want anyone to see this version of Jack Hodgins, shaky and terrified of his own dreams. There had to be some way to stop this, to stop his mind from psychologically punishing himself.

I know what I have to do... I have to find the Grave Digger. It was so clear what the solution to his problem was. The sooner the madman was behind bars, the sooner he would be able to sleep soundly, without dreaming of sediment suffocating him...

It was a lot harder getting out of bed and changing into his clothes than he had suspected it would be. But he persisted, thinking that if Booth had busted out of a hospital before then so could he. However, Booth had damaged his ribs on that occasion, not his legs. Hodgins found it nearly impossible to walk, what with the drugs that were still running through his veins and the effects of the operation. Trying not to look too obvious, he shuffled down the hallway, spying a supply closet near the nurses station. He waited until activity went down to a lull, then grabbed a pair of crutches.

He only had one though as he hobbled out of the hospital and hailed a taxi. I'm going to find the Grave Digger. And I'll do it all by myself if I have to.

---

"Oh! And after that, Hodgins figured out a way to generate oxygen through a reaction between the soil and the chemicals in my batteries." Brennan rambled, holding the almost empty beer bottle in her hands. "It was highly resourceful of him, but not as resourceful as when I figured out how to use the airbags to-"

"Whoa there, Bones, I think that's enough for the night." Booth said, pulling the bottle out of her hands and setting it on the table.

"But I've only had one."

"I still think that's more than enough. And I've let you run your course."

She frowned, puzzled. "But I haven't been running anywhere."

"That's not what I mean, Bones." Booth sighed, rubbing his forehead. "I mean I've let you talk non-stop for the last two hours about all the cool and wonderful things you and Hodgins did to keep yourself alive."

"Oh." Brennan was silent for a moment. "Sorry if I've been extremely verbal for the past few hours. It's just that I'm feeling rather... upbeat."

Booth's eyes were serious and penetrating as he looked at her. "I noticed. Has it occurred to you that the reason you feel so upbeat is because you're trying to forget about what happened?" He shifted closer to her concernedly. "I mean, you went through a very traumatic experience. It's natural to go over the kidnapping in your mind, wondering what might have happened to you if we had been too late."

"Booth, why would I want to think about something like that?" Brennan asked, truly curious. "I'm fine now. It would be a lot more beneficial for my psychologically to put the past behind me."

"But you can't let yourself forget." Booth's voice was quiet. "If you forget, then they win."

Brennan didn't reply, instead contemplating what he had said. There was truth in his words. By pushing the event out of her mind, she was doing a disservice to not only herself, but the past victims of the Grave Digger. She couldn't do that to herself, or Hodgins, or innocent people.

"I still knew you'd come for me though." Brennan replied finally, agreeing with Booth's previous statement but still somewhat determined to defend herself.

Booth couldn't help but smile a little at that, but his eyes were still serious. "Bones... Temperence, didn't you have a moment where you thought about your death, I mean really thought about it?" He continued when she didn't say anything, gazing at her hands instead. "I know what that moment is like. You don't want to give up hope, but there's that part of you that's just thinking... 'what if'."

"Yes." Her voice was barely a whisper, choked with sudden feeling, and she looked up at him. "Yes, when I wrote the note. My last message in case all they found was..." She couldn't continue. The tears started to fall from her eyes

"Hey, it's okay." Booth was quickly at her side, holding her against him as hot tears fell against his skin. "It's okay if you were scared."

"I just..." Brennan sniffled and wiped at the tears running down her cheeks, looking up at Booth with unguarded eyes. "I just didn't want to contemplate the idea of you not succeeding in finding us. Because if I can't depend on you, I don't think I can depend on anyone."

Booth opened his mouth to speak but then closed it again, struck speechless by her openness. He was looking at her with a certain intensity that made Brennan want to do... something. Something she couldn't quite pinpoint.

Oh, wait. I know what. She put her hand on the back of Booth's neck and pressed her lips against his, softly and only once. When she pulled back, she looked at him, wondering what he would say.

Booth looked at her, a range of emotions rushing across his face. "Want to come to church with me?" He blurted out.

Brennan burst into laughter and after a moment Booth joined her. Finally, he held her hands in his and she nodded. "Of course. And I promise to behave in a manner expected inside a religious institution."

Booth gazed at her with a knowing smile. "I know. I can always depend on you."

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