Connection. Some say that when you are so close to someone, so emotionally in tune, you feel when something is not right. Like a Mother who feels a pang of loss as her Son falls in a war so far away. Like kissing someone goodbye when you know it will be the last time your ragged breaths will mingle.
Sometimes, it's not so simple. Perhaps it's an intriguing glance, or a series of events that make you feel an ominous pressure gripping your consciousness. You will live and breathe this premonition and await the day that your loved one shall fall. But is it your imagination; just some sort of over-protectiveness that will drive your love away?
Tragically, there is a fine line between imagination and premonition.
Temperance Brennan thrashed against the glass door. Her white arms beat against the thick transparent barrier as if her life depended on it. Blood streamed down her arms and smeared against the cool glass, clouding her appearance on the other side. He could tell by her lips that she was screaming his name over and over again.
Her partner was on the other side of the glass and watched numbly as the paralysis of his fear overtook him. He tried to move his hands and feet, but found them bound together by unforgiving orange twine. It was the look in her eyes, the sheer panic that scared him the most. She was screaming, screaming…
Seeley Booth awoke in a cold sweat. He sat up in bed immediately and leaned his head against the wall as his breathing began to even out. Stray lines of moonlight leaked through the curtains and highlighted his muscular torso as he breathed in and out, in and out. He wiped the sweat from his brow and rationalized with himself, knowing that his partner was in no danger, and it was just a nightmare.
It was just a dream. He had been telling himself that for the past two weeks as he awoke every night after the same horrific nightmare. He let his body slowly sink back down into the bed as his heavy head made its way from the wall down to the pillow. Rolling over, the blaring digital numbers of his bedside clock read 2:56AM. He let the numbers lull him into a restless, shallow slumber.
Resisting a nearly overwhelming urge to drop by the Jeffersonian the next morning, Booth instead found himself riding the elevator in the Hoover Building. Besides, he had no reason to be at the lab this morning, other than the borderline compulsive need to make sure she was okay.
Which she is Booth thought to himself.
Making his way to his office, Booth hardly made notice of the curious looks he was getting from his coworkers. As he walked past the shiny elevator doors, he could see why; his suit was uncharacteristically ruffled and his buttons were done up the wrong way. Booth's normally clean shaven skin was dotted with stubble – a result of oversleeping his alarm and running out the door in a panic earlier that morning.
Booth ran a hand through his short cropped hair and unenthusiastically grabbed a Styrofoam cup off the refreshment table in the break room. He filled it up with stale black coffee and downed it in one big gulp. He winced and dropped the cup in the trash can. I am going to get through this day… he thought to himself, trying to shake the nagging feeling of dread in the back of his mind.
Sitting at his desk hours later, Booth could feel his eyelids begin to droop. He was trying to justify taking a quick nap right there in his office, when a sharp knock came to his closed door.
His eyes automatically popped open and he cleared his throat quietly. "Come in." he called politely, picking up a pen and pretending to work.
"Agent Booth." Deputy Director Cullen greeted as he entered the office.
"Good morning, sir." Booth replied, immediately straightening up in his chair and motioning for Cullen to take a seat in the deceptively comfortable chair across from his own.
"Booth I'm just here to congratulate you on another successful case, you and Dr. Brennan make quite the team." Cullen said with a curt nod.
"Thank you, sir."
"Unfortunately, that's not the reason why I'm here. Glancing through the case notes of the infiltration, it came to my attention that yet again Dr. Brennan had been placed in unnecessary danger –"
"But sir, she insisted –" Booth began, but was silenced by a hand motion from Cullen.
"I don't care if she got down on her knees and begged. I'm telling you that you have to remember that she is not an agent. She is your responsibility, Agent Booth, and you need to remember that." Cullen continued.
"With all due respect, sir, I would never put Bon—Dr. Brennan in a situation where I felt I could not protect her. I'd give my life –"
"Agent Booth, I am not looking for an explanation, nor do I want one. Just don't let this sort of carelessness happen again." Cullen said as he rose from his chair and moved toward the door. Booth heard the door click as Cullen exited the room, and he leaned back in his chair. Booth rubbed his eyes and stared up at the ceiling.
If only Cullen knew.
Booth parked his car in the underground garage at the Jeffersonian and made his way to the door. Before heading into the lab, he stopped into the washroom to make himself look more presentable. He turned the cold water on full blast and splashed his face with it several times. Tearing away a generous piece of brown paper towel from its holder, he dried his face with the rough material and turned off the water faucet.
Taking a few steps back from the mirror he flashed a few different charm smiles and winked at himself. Oh yeah. Booth's back, baby, he reassured himself.
"Booth, you look like crap." Angela said as he made his way up the steps to the forensic platform.
"Thanks, Ange." Booth said sarcastically, reassuring himself that his washroom makeover was a valiant effort.
"You didn't sleep last night" came a familiar voice from behind him. Booth turned around quickly to see Brennan walk out of her office and closer toward her co-workers. Booth took note of her uncanny ability to judge his persona, yet still be completely engrossed in the file folder opened up in front of her as she walked.Brennan took his silence as an agreement to her comment, but decided that she'd drop the subject. "Do we have a case?" she asked, handing the file folder to Zach who grabbed it out of her hands like an over-eager child on Christmas morning.
"We have a case." He confirmed, trying to plaster on a friendly smile, which looked more like a wince. Brennan turned on a heel and went to grab her coat and kit, and Booth and Angela were left standing at the platform.
Booth's eyes were concentrated on the ground where Brennan had just stood, but immediately he refocused his attention when he felt Angela's stare burn into him.
She was squinting carefully at him, as if trying to decode him like a puzzle.
"What?" he asked innocently as he made his way down the platform.Angela shook her head and watched as the two partners exited the lab together, the sound of Brennan's peppering questions fading as they walked further and further away.
"Agent Booth, Dr. Brennan, right this way." The attending officer said as the partners walked up the lawn toward the crime scene.
Booth understood Brennan's silence to simply be concentration as she walked carefully ahead of him and into the house. She looked around, gazing at every detail before following the officer in the direction of the remains.
"Bones, go with Officer Cortez, I'll be there in a minute." Booth said as he lingered outside the house, nearly sure that another SUV had been tailing them to the site.
He walked outside onto the sun-baked brown lawn and slowly took off his sunglasses as he peered up and down the road. Satisfied that the SUV was nowhere in sight, Booth shrugged and re-entered the house.
The home smelled unmistakably of decomposing flesh which Booth had, morbidly enough, become nearly accustomed to in this new branch of his job. Hearing the oddly comforting sound of Brennan ordering poor Officer Cortez around, Booth grinned and walked toward the sound which was coming from the master suite.
There were many officers in the bedroom collecting prints, but Brennan's position in the bathroom led him to deduce the location of the remains. Turning his head toward the bathroom door, Booth stopped dead in his tracks.
The glass door in front of him was the exact one from his dream the night before.
This was the very room where he was tied up, watching Brennan scream his name and beat her bleeding arms against in utter urgency. Booth's throat went dry and his vision blurred slightly. He could hear her voice again… screaming…
"Booth!" Brennan called for the third time. "Get over here – don't you usually take notes or something?" she demanded with one hand on her hip, the other ominously hidden in the bathtub.
Booth quickly snapped back into reality and entered the bathroom. He looked over at Officer Cortez who was sweating, clearly exasperated by the anthropologist, and Booth shot him an apologetic look.
"The victim is female," Brennan said in a professional tone, "growth suggests late twenties, early thirties. All phalanges are fractured; the angles suggest they were defensive wounds."
"How long has she been here?" Booth said automatically, wanting to get Brennan out of this room as fast as he could. There was something about this house that was not right.
"Between 6-8 months, maybe more." Brennan said with a frown, looking up at Booth. "Booth the rest of the house seems lived in, that means someone must have known she was here the whole time."
Booth didn't answer her, instead peered further over the tub and observed the abandoned remains in front of him. His jaw tightened immediately and he put his notebook away."You done here?" he asked Brennan curtly.
She stood up from her crouched position and took one more look at the remains."Yes. I need the entire tub brought to my lab so I can work on the bones."
"And I'll get the house searched clean. We're going to find the son of a bitch who left her here." Booth said as he led Brennan out of the bathroom, a shuddering feeling coming over him as they both passed through that glass door.
Just under an hour later, the partners were stopped at a red light just minutes away from the Jeffersonian. They had mainly been in amicable silence since they left the house, and Brennan continued to scribble notes to preface her preliminary report.
"So Bones…" Booth started as he adjusted his large sunglasses and sat back comfortably in his seat. "What did you think about that house?"
Brennan looked over at Booth and shot him a confused look. "It was a… crime scene. Though disturbing that the home is still lived in after the body's been there for so long, it's no different from other homes we've investigated." She replied slowly, thinking over her recollection of the house.
"Yeah that's true. Anything else though?" Booth prodded, trying to see if she felt the same sense of eeriness that the house had evoked in him.
"I don't know what you're talking about." She shook her head.
"Yeah me neither. I just had a bad feeling about it, that's all."
"Like a gut feeling?" She inquired; trying to understand where he was coming from.
"Maybe. Do you think you've ever been there before? To the house, I mean."
"Never. Why do you ask?"
"Just curious. It just reminds me of somewhere…" Booth's comment drifted off and he failed to finish his sentence.
Brennan watched the scenery fly past them as they continued to drive to the lab. Angela wasn't the only one who'd noticed Booth's strange behavior today; Brennan could sense that something wasn't quite right. He had said that he was tired, but she couldn't help but think there was something more.Watching him now, more relaxed than before, with one arm resting against the window edge and the other lazily steering the car, Brennan thought that she should drop the subject for now. After all, whenever she was tired or despondent he usually knew to let her have her privacy.
After all, partners should know when something is wrong.
Booth knew this more than anyone.