THIS OFTEN SILENT PLACE

E. Stevens

-x-x-x-

Rating: T. (Though it's probably going to be milder).

Disclaimer: Bones and all related characters are, sadly, not mine.

Spoilers: All episodes aired.

Note: I'd like to say a huge thank you for all the encouraging reviews that I received for my first story, I was really astounded that you all took the time to read and give me such nice feedback. This is a work in progress, and as a warning - updates will be slow in coming. (Life is very hectic at the moment!) Criticism is always valued and much appreciated.


PROLOGUE

-x-

This was home, this often silent place, with her paintings on the wall and her books in the shelves, the well-worn coffee machine and the space in the living area where a television once stood.

-x-

Her apartment lay shrouded in darkness, the feeble haze of the city teasing the shadows but never quite filtering through the gaps in the curtains.

She awoke with a vague sense of uneasiness, a crackle, a spark in the air telling her that something was drastically wrong. Instinctively she knew not to move and froze, stilling her breathing until the only sound was the faint hum of the refrigerator in the next room and the ghostly hiss of the blood rushing in her ears.

There was a pause, stagnant and chilling, before her mind became aware that the red laser beam, staining her bedroom wall had disappeared and her heart began to race.

She moved to pull back the covers when a hand pressed her mouth closed and a weight pushed her into her mattress. Struggling, she tried to roll over, but with her arms pinned all movement was minimal and exhausting. Momentarily freeing a limb she managed a sharp elbow to the ribs, but was quickly subdued.

He grunted and a sharp whisper pierced the room: "Bones.."

As his words penetrated the haze of fright and flight surrounding her mind, he felt her body sag with relief. Anticipating her anger he kept his chest firmly against her small form and tightened his hand around her mouth.

She felt his lips brush the flesh of her ear, his breath hot on cheeks, as he hissed:

"Roll off the bed and stay low. Get your shoes and bag. No talking, no light switches, got it?"

She nodded, confused, but the urgency in his voice was eerie and unsettling. Creeping along the floor she grabbed her shoes and her bag from where she'd tossed them only hours before. His hand found hers, and he tugged her towards the door, shutting it gently behind them.

The hallway was unlit, and a numb feeling prickled in the pit of her stomach as she caught Booth's eye settling on the broken light bulb. A grim smile tugged at his lips and instantly she knew that he was responsible. Her skin began to crawl. Question after question flitted through her mind, but she could only push them aside and follow blindly as she was pulled away from the stairwell, towards the fire escape at the other end of the passage.

"Booth - "

The word hung in the air like a desperate sigh, and she cursed herself for feeling weak and afraid. He gestured at her to be quiet, as he grappled with the door, eventually flinging it open. A gust of freezing wind rattled through the building and she shook in her flimsy string top and light pyjama bottoms. She moved deftly out onto the metal grill, wrapping her arms around herself and willing her hair to stay tied up in its loosely fixed ponytail. He stood behind her, shut the door carefully and together they descended the stairs that hung precariously from the side of the building.

The yard was deserted. Leaves and tin cans bounced off gutter and gravel as they wound around the perimeter to a hole in the back fence. She didn't dare look behind her as the noise of the traffic nearby began an imaginary crescendo.

Hastily he made his way to a battered white van, parked at the end of the side street. She followed, clumsily sloshing through the puddles and bits of debris that littered the darkened alley. They slid, gasping, into the front seats. Her hands trembled as she fastened her seat belt, the white droplets of her breath collapsing back against her face.

When she had finally calmed, she looked up to find his gaze resting upon her face, silently checking up on her. She swallowed and catching his eye, nodded.

He put the car in gear and sped out towards the highway. As she stared at the building in the rear view mirror, the light in her apartment flicked on.