Author's note: Writing about the things I go through in real life helps me deal with them. Last night I was in a car accident. Nothing too serious though. I didn't really get hurt; I had the luck of sitting in the backseat. The car was pretty damaged though … Anyway, I decided to pour my experience into a story. It's intended as a one-shot but I can be convinced to turn it into a small multi-chaptered story. :-) If you guys are interested of course …
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones, any of the characters or anything else connected to it. Except this plot of course.
Music suggestion: I wrote this thing while listening to Hayling by FC Kahuna. I suggest you do the same. :-) The song pretty much sets the atmosphere.
--° Just Be Glad To Be Here °--
They were speeding along the highway with blaring sirens. The lights switching from red to blue every three seconds were casting an eerie glance upon the rapidly passing surroundings and on the two people sitting inside the SUV. Special Agent Seeley Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan were heading to the airport to catch a murderer who was about to board a plane. If he got on it, all their hard work would go down the drain. They couldn't let a murderer escape his punishment.
Booth sped up even more, muttering something under his breath about certain idiots not making way for him. He wasn't about to let the killer of five innocent people slip through his fingers because of a couple speeding limits or because of stupid drivers who didn't know the meaning of a siren coming from an official looking vehicle.
Temperance gripped the handle above the car door firmly to make sure every sharp turn Booth took wouldn't knock her over. She glanced over at her partner. The look of sheer determination on his face once again convinced her that he was fully dedicated to his job. She didn't regret having him offered her help at the beginning of their partnership. Together they made a great team. She was the brain, he the brawn - a perfect match. Temperance turned her attention back to the road.
Traffic wasn't usually this dense at this hour. They were surrounded by all kinds of cars and trucks. Booth had to keep a very close eye on the road. Even the slightest interruption of his concentration could cause the SUV to swirl just a tad too much to the left or the right, making it hit another car. Temperance stopped for a moment to think about possible disaster scenario's that could take place if Booth lost control over his car but she brushed the irrational and horrible images playing through her head aside. She trusted Booth. He was a good driver; one of the best she had ever had the chance of driving along with actually. He'd never lose control over his car. Not in a million years. She'd sooner understand all the pop culture references people threw at her then that Booth would lose control.
And then the impossible happened.
The red car in front of them was making his way to the right lane to make room for them. Just when he was halfway, his left rear tire exploded with a loud bang, sending the vehicle swivelling over the road.
One minute she was thinking about how she trusted Booth behind the wheel, the next minute she was staring at the rapidly approaching trunk of the car before them. Time seemed to slow down with every inch the SUV came closer to the swivelling car.
Booth did the first thing that came to mind: he slammed down hard onto the brakes. But he couldn't stop the SUV from ramming the back of the out of control red-coloured car.
The impact of metal on metal launched them forward against their seatbelts, knocking the air out of them in the process. Temperance lost her grip on the handle of the car door; Booth slammed hard against the steering wheel which elicited a deep groan out of hurt from him.
The faint sound of Booth's body coming in contact with the wheel and the groan that followed resonated louder in her ears then the sounds of metal crashing into metal. Please not him. it briefly flashed through her mind just before another metal wrenching sound was heard.
The green van behind them had tried to avoid their car by steering to the right but had instead hit the right back side of the SUV. This sent the rear end of the huge car sideways, disentangling the hood from the red car and smashing it against the small stone wall that ran alongside the highway. Booth was thrown to the side, as was Brennan who ended up bumping her head hard against the window.
The SUV slid sideways over the road for a couple of yards before coming to a stop. Temperance ignored the thudding feeling in her head and turned to look at her partner who was trying to catch his breath. For maybe two seconds she believed the nightmare was over.
That was until an impossibly loud sound coming from the horn of a large truck broke the silence.
Her eyes widened with fear. She locked eyes with Booth, who was staring back at her, equally frightened. Please don't let him get hurt.
The sickening sound of a twenty ton weighing truck burying its front into the side of the SUV was heard. Temperance felt the two left tires being lifted from the ground by the force of the impact. It seemed to take an eternity for the SUV to topple over onto its side. All the while she was screaming Booth's name; only she didn't know if it was in her mind or out loud. Either way, she was shouting - hoping - praying for his safety.
Finally the right side of the SUV landed onto the road. The blast made all the windows, except for the windscreen and the rear window, shatter into thousands of pieces. Temperance felt a sharp pain rush through her shoulder when it hit something hard. Shards of glass were flying around, tearing at her clothes and scratching her face. And all she could think about was the health of her partner sitting next to her.
Several yards further the large truck and the SUV slid to a stop, leaving behind a trail of skid marks, broken glass and several liquid substances. The second she felt the car come to a halt, she unfastened her seatbelt. Ignoring the stabs of hurt flashing through her body, she shifted around to check on the man hanging slumped over in his seat next to her.
"Seeley!" she shouted.
Her voice was drowned out by the still roaring engine of the car. Temperance put two fingers under his jaw bone to check for his pulse. Feeling his heart beat steadily under her touch sent a wave of relief washing over her. One moment later the fear took her by the throat again. Why isn't he opening his eyes?
Temperance willed herself to stay calm. Panic wouldn't do Booth any good. She had to remain focussed and balanced. That was the only behaviour that could help him. She took in the blood trickling down his face from a rather deep looking cut on his forehead. Another cut ran across his cheek and he had a split bottom lip. Temperance vaguely wondered if her face was in the same state as his. Then she began examining his head, neck, arms, torso and the part of his legs she could reach. Please, if there is a God, don't let him be hurt. She pressed her fingers softly down to check for any broken bones. To her relief she didn't find any.
"Temperance?" Booth croaked, slowly opening his eyes.
"Yes, Seeley. I'm right here." The sound of his voice sent a second wave of relief surging through her body.
"Temperance … the engine." he choked out.
It was now that she became fully aware of the noise coming from the still roaring engine of the SUV. The stench of oil mixing with gasoline, of metal having being scraped over a concrete surface for several yards and the foul smell of burned rubber penetrated her nostrils. She reached out for the ignition key to turn the engine off. Immediate silence filled their ears.
"Temperance … We need …" Booth grunted as he put a hand on his ribcage. "My seatbelt." he managed to say.
With a curt nod of her head, she made clear that she understood his request. Obeying him she unfastened his seatbelt. Unfortunately they both hadn't realised that the seatbelt had been the only restraint that kept the FBI agent from tumbling down onto the ground. With a grunt he slid a bit down against Temperance who felt shards of glace penetrate her clothes and the top layers of her skin. She sucked in a hissing breath.
"Sorry." Booth apologised while shifting around until he was no longer leaning on her. "Bones, listen carefully to me now. We're going to kick out the windscreen so we can get out of the car. Put both of your feet on the windscreen. On three you push as hard as you can. You got that?"
Temperance nodded again and did as she was told. Booth slowly counted and on three they both pushed against the large window with all the force they could muster. Eventually, because the blast had loosened the frame up, the glass pane popped out and fell onto the ground. Booth crawled out first and reached out a hand to help his partner out of the vehicle.
He wasn't sure the term 'vehicle' described the thing lying before him correctly; 'wreckage' seemed more appropriate. Silently they gazed at what was left of the former black standard FBI issued SUV. All the windows were shattered, except for the rear one who only showed a long thin crack running from down left onto the upper right corner. Black paint had been scraped from large parts of the car. The hood had been reduced to a wrinkled package of metal of about 1,5 feet long. But what really caught their attention was the front of the twenty ton weighing truck being buried into the side of the SUV.
They both blanched at seeing how narrowly the truck had missed Booth's seat. The entire back side of the SUV had been crushed together. If they had had any passengers with them, they would've been killed by the blow, literally being smashed into a bloody pulp.
Booth ran a hand through his hair. "My wheels … Gone … Bones, my wheels are gone!"
Temperance glanced at her watch who was miraculously still working. "As is our killer." she muttered.
They both stared at their ex-SUV. It dawned on them how close they had been to becoming a number in the statistics of car accident victims. The shock momentarily paralysed them. It wasn't until they heard the faint sound of several ambulances and police cars approaching the scene that they startled from their intense and shocked staring. They lifted their gazes from the wreckage onto the chaos surrounding them.
A disaster. It was an absolute disaster. Temperance's logical mind had a hard time processing how a sudden flat tire of one car could cause such destruction. There were at least ten wreckages scattered over the entire width of the highway, blocking the flow of the traffic that had managed to stay out of the entire incident. A large traffic-jam was already forming behind the last wreckage.
Her eyes darted from the red car stranded a couple of yards back to the green van whose hood appeared to be glued to the rear of another car. Then her gaze travelled back to the truck who had drilled its nose into their SUV. She swallowed the lump in her throat away. Just one more inch and Booth would've …
Booth placed a hand on her shoulder. Temperance turned slightly towards him.
"Booth, our killer … He's boarding his plane as we speak. We lost our murderer."
He sighed. "That's all right, Bones. We'll find another way to catch him."
Without any warning she launched herself into his arms. Booth firmly embraced her, somehow understanding how much she needed the physical contact now. As for Temperance, she momentarily forgot the promise she had made to herself to never hug him again. Right now, she needed to feel him against her - skin on skin, his heart beating strongly against his ribcage. She needed to verify that all her praying to a God she didn't even believe in had paid off. In the middle of the chaos that surrounded them, she clung on for dear life to the one stable point she knew she'd always have but had come close to losing: her partner.
Booth soothingly ran his hands down her back. "It's all right, Temperance. Just be glad to be here." he whispered into her hair.