Disclaimer: Bones and all its characters belong to Fox.
As the falling snow turned into sheets of ice that clung to the windshield of the SUV, Special Agent Seeley Booth wondered if they shouldn't have waited it out at the hotel after all. He could barely make out the road any longer- he wasn't sure if that was due to the fact that the falling sheets of ice were blocking his vision or due to the fact that the road was now covered by nearly a foot of snow. Either way, he was having some serious second thoughts.
To his right in the passenger seat, Dr. Temperance Brennan seemed to be having similar misgivings. She was clutching the handle above the door tightly and her face reciprocated the worry Booth was feeling. Neither of them were angry- after all, they had both agreed to try and make it to the airport that night.
Cases in Alaska were as rare as they were interesting, and neither Brennan nor Booth had any objections to coming to Alaska. A body had been found in the wilderness, mutilated by wolves. Booth and Brennan did what they did best, and by the end of the week, they had determined that the bullet wound was a result of a hunting accident, and arrested the guilty hunter for manslaughter.
With their work done, they were ready to leave. But when they returned to the hotel, the weather report was grim and they were left with two options: wait the storm out and risk the possibility of being stuck in the town for another couple of days, or risk the drive to the airport. Since it was soon to be Booth's weekend with Parker and Brennan had an important meeting coming up, they both decided it was in their best interest to risk the drive.
Now, with the sharp sound of ice hitting the windows and the cold howl of the wind causing the SUV to tremble, they were both feeling like they had made the wrong decision. Booth's knuckles were white on the steering wheel. For every inch the SUV crept along, the wind blew it twelve inches in the opposite direction.
"Booth..." Brennan began shakily. "We should turn back."
Booth spared a quick glance her way.
"At this point I'm not sure it will make any difference," Booth told her over the wind. "I think by now we're farther away from the hotel than we are from the airport."
Seeing the truth in this, Brennan fell quiet and allowed Booth to concentrate on driving. Booth sat up straight with his shoulders and arms tense. He peeked at Brennan once or twice to make sure she was buckled in securely. They were in a bad situation, and he felt like an idiot for putting her in danger.
No sooner did the thought cross his mind, that he felt the tire slide beneath him.
"Shit!" he cursed, fighting for control of the SUV.
But the wheels seemed to have a mind of their own. Booth resisted the temptation to slam on the brakes, knowing that would only make it worse. Quickly he shifted the gear into neutral, steadily pumping the brakes with his foot. It seemed to work for a moment, but then they were sliding backwards.
"Booth!" Brennan exclaimed, bracing herself.
He reached out, his arm securing her small frame against the back of the seat. His other arm held himself in place, while he put the car back into drive, his foot pushing the gas in attempt to counteract their backwards descent.
His yells and Brennan's screams reverberated through the SUV as it spun sideways. It balanced for a brief second on its two left tires before flipping over completely. The vehicle was tumbling down a steep incline.
It all happened so fast that Booth's mind could barely process what was happening. He could hear metal crunching and skidding against the icy snow. He could feel his partner's small body under his arm straining against the seatbelt that was barely managing to keep her in the seat. He could see the white world outside go upside down and right side up over and over.
Then it was over. It took Booth a moment to realize that the SUV has finally come to a stop- luckily, resting on its four wheels rather than on its roof. His heart beat pounded in his ears. He was gulping in breath after breath, adrenaline coursing through his veins. It wasn't until he felt two hands feebly pushing against his arm that he realize he was still crushing Brennan against her seat.
"You okay Bones?" he gasped out, lowering his arm.
She too, seemed to be having trouble catching her breath.
"I think so," she replied between gulps of air.
Booth unbuckled his seatbelt, wincing at the cutting pain it had inflicted on his shoulder. His head hurt from being flipped around like a hotcake, but otherwise he felt alright. Beside him, Brennan was fumbling with her own seatbelt, but her hands were shaking so badly, she was barely making any progress.
"Let me." Booth said gently, pushing her hands away.
Her seatbelt had become jammed during the accident. Booth wiggled it back and forth carefully until it finally yielded. As the seatbelt snapped back into place, Booth grimaced at the angry red marks it had left across Brennan's collar bone. He touched the marks lightly with his fingertips.
"That's going to bruise Bones..." he said quietly. "Does it hurt?"
She shook her head, seemingly unable to verbalize an answer. Booth noticed that while his system seemed to be slowing down from the adrenaline rush, Brennan seemed to be doing the opposite. Her fingers clutched the sides of her seat tightly and she squeezed her eyes shut. Her poor, bruised chest moved up down with her rapid breaths.
Booth took a minute to evaluate the situation. The SUV was more or less intact, but they seemed to have landed in a snow drift, and the doors were blocked in by layers of snow and ice. It was almost as though they were buried. A sudden realization swept through Booth and he moved closer to his partner, who seemed to be hyperventilating.
"Bones...hey Bones," he intoned softly. "Just look at me for a second okay?"
Brennan shook her head rapidly, refusing to open her eyes. Without thinking, Booth reached out and cupped her face between his hands, turning it gently towards him.
"Temperance, look at me," he said.
Her eyes snapped open and immediately became darting around the confined spaces of the SUV. Her pupils were dilated with fear, leaving a much thinner ring of blue than normal. The tension in her face reminded Booth of a trapped animal- wild with panic and desperation.
"You're fine," he told her firmly. "We're both fine."
Booth waited to allow the words to sink in. He gently stroked her cheek with his thumb. Slowly, her eyes focused on his own.
"I'm fine," she repeated shakily.
Her body seemed to relax slightly. Booth reluctantly removed his hands from her face and allowed her to sink back into her seat. Sighing, he leaned against his own seat, eyes still on her. Her breathing was still ragged, but she seemed to have overcome panic that seized her when she realized she was buried alive once again.
"You okay now, Bones?" Booth asked.
"I'm okay," she replied. "Thanks Booth."
He shrugged it off with a smile, knowing how much Brennan hated to be seen vulnerable. Even as close as they were, it was still a rare moment that Booth ever saw her lose control. Booth had spent years in the military, as a Ranger, as a sniper, and still, she was one of the bravest people he knew. He watched as she sat up straight and began analyzing their predicament.
"What do we do now?" she questioned, her face scrunching up in concentration.
That, Booth thought, is an excellent question.