A/N: Hey guys, here is the last chapter! I apologize for taking so long to post this – I was unsure of where to end this, but I've left it rather open-ended as you'll soon see. I really hope you've enjoyed this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
Thank you SO much for reading, and especially those who have reviewed! Your words seriously keep me writing, and for that I am so grateful.
And with that, here is the last chapter of Connection!
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones, just this storyline.
Gun in hand, Booth walked towards the stairs of the house and headed down to the main floor. He hated to leave Brennan up there without him within earshot, but this was just the way it had to be.
"Agent Booth, where are you going?" One of the agents called down after him.
"I'm gonna take this son of a bitch down."
With his gun drawn safely at his right side, Booth weaved through the multitude of agents and police who had gathered on the main floor of the house. He could feel their eyes staring at him sympathetically, but he refused to look at them. Booth had a mission, and he refused to lose his focus.
Finally making it to the front door, Booth scanned the lawn and the modest houses across the street for agents. He knew that there was a sniper in position across the street, but Booth couldn't trust anyone but himself with the shot.
Racing around the side of the house Booth located a slightly rusted step ladder, which likely had been as forgotten as the victim in the tub. Snatching it up, he set up the ladder near the garage; the ledge of which was close to the tiny tormenting bathroom window.
The gentle afternoon sun did nothing to take the crispness of the autumn breeze. Taking in a deep breath of air to calm his thoughts, Booth tucked his weapon into his pants and climbed up on the stepladder.
"Booth! What the hell are you doing?" An agent called, jogging toward the desperate man teetering on the ladder.
Booth shot the man a look that immediately silenced him. Sticking his hand out to signal the need for their silence, he proceeded to hoist himself up precariously on to the roof of the garage.
Praying that the shingles would not give way, he crawled towards the edge of the garage roof where the bathroom window's curtains blew out tauntingly from inside. It was then that he heard the slightly muffled voices in the room.
"We didn't mean to take anyone, Alex." Brennan said, the calmness in her voice struck Booth reassuringly.
"You took her… you took her… you took her…" Alex murmured over and over.
"Alex, was Sara in the bathtub?" She asked, her voice wavering. Brennan knew that she was dangerously close to pushing this man over the edge. If she could locate the source of his anger, perhaps she could calm and reason with him. Or, so she thought.
Booth tightened his jaw in anticipation of Alex's response. He positioned himself closer to the window, ready to face the window and take the shot if he reacted violently.
"I didn't mean to hurt her… I didn't know what I was doing… she was alive, and then I remember her blood… it was everywhere…" Alex whispered, causing Booth to have to strain to hear.
The man had just confessed to his wife's murder.
Brennan was silent for a moment, processing the heartbreaking confession that he had just made. "Why did you keep her here, Alex?" she asked, her voice constricting as he tightened his fierce grip on her body.
"I couldn't let her go. We were going to be together for always… and always…"
Booth cringed. This man had been so overcome in his grief that he'd left his wife's corpse in a tub to rot? This man had lived his life day to day with the knowledge that she was still up there. The smell of decomposition, the bodily fluids…
"Alex, you killed your wife. We needed to take her body so that she could be identified and buried properly." Brennan whispered, her voice quaking as Alex's lips curled up angrily, exposing his teeth. He quickly pressed the knife up closer to her neck, and she knew that if she moved an inch it would be all over.
"Please let me go. You don't need to do this…" she continued, her breath hitching. "My partner… Booth…. he said that he could help you… you just have to let me out of here."
Booth couldn't take any more of this. He silently crawled to the right and peered into the window for the first time as he removed the gun from his pocket. He ignored the commotion that was beginning on the ground; instead he was completely focused on the scene in front of him.
Both Brennan and Alex were faced away from him so he could only see their backs. The contents of Brennan's forensic kit lay scattered on the floor along with the screwdriver and air vent: evidence of their previous struggle. Brennan was favoring her right ankle and her body weight was pressed into her captor's left side.
"Please don't do this. Please." Brennan hissed, her pitch rising slightly at her last plea.
And then there was a bang.
The marriage of the blinding light and deafening blast forced Seeley Booth's world to a halt. The bullet had pierced straight through the man's right shoulder and had continued through to lodge itself in the glass door with a resounding crack. The glass did not shatter, but a spider web design of broken glass appeared around the lodged bullet like frost on a window pane.
He watched as they both crumpled to the ground, Alex's body trapping Brennan's. Booth tossed his gun inside the bathroom and then squeezed himself painfully through the window. He slid on his knees and wrenched Alex's unconscious, bloody body off of Brennan.
"Bones! Temperance!" he pled, rolling her over and hovering his hands over her body, not wanting to hurt her. Alex's blood had splashed and covered much of Brennan's clothing, but fortunately the bullet had not even grazed her. There were multiple seeping cuts on her bruising neck, and her ankle was twisted in an unnatural position. But she was alive.
Her tearful eyes fluttered open and she took in a ragged breath, "Booth" was all she could manage to say.
Booth wrapped his two arms around the back of her neck and torso, pulling her into a hug. She was too shaken up to hold onto his body as well, but she buried her face in his neck and tried to steady her breathing. Booth tightened his grip, though he didn't want to hurt her. It was as if he couldn't get close enough to her, he was afraid that he would wake up in his bed and she would be gone.
Booth raked his fingers through her tangled, sweaty hair and gently rocked her back and forth. As if not just trying to calm just her, but trying to calm himself too.
The door to the bathroom burst open and the agents halted slightly at the scene in front of them. Tiny glass shards crunched under their shoes as they entered the room, like walking on ice cubes.
"He's breathing." One agent said, crouching down beside Alex's bleeding and unconscious form. "We need meds now!" he ordered.
"She needs medical attention." Booth managed, motioning to his partner.
"We're on it." The agent nodded curtly. "Nice shot, Booth."
Brennan gently moved her body away from Booth's embrace to assess the reality around her. Booth could feel her tense slightly in his arms as she was made aware of their close proximity and the number of agents around them.
"I'm fine, Booth." she said trying to sit up.
Booth hushed her, "Bones, you're not fine. Just relax okay?"
She tried to sit up further, but then sucked in a sharp breath at the pain that shot up her leg.
"Whoa, whoa take it easy." Booth said, encouraging Brennan to rest her body weight against his chest.
"My ankle… when he came in, I fell" she said, as if explaining it to herself rather than Booth. She gently caressed her sore neck and winced at the feeling.
Booth sighed and pulled her closer, wondering what the hell was taking the paramedics so long to get up the stairs. He rested his head on top of her own and closed his eyes.
"Thanks." She murmured into his jacket.
Booth opened his mouth to reply, but found himself at a loss for words; pure emotion surged through his veins and he impulsively kissed the top of his partner's head.
This was not a dream. This was not a premonition. This was reality.
Angela walked purposefully through the sterile halls of the hospital trying her very best not to spill the murky coffee which was contained in two Styrofoam cups. Her unzipped sweater barely rested on her shoulders and her hair was tied into a messy bun. She and Booth had been waiting at the hospital for Brennan for what had seemed to have been hours. Though her injuries could have been tremendously worse, Brennan had received a bimalleolar fracture to her ankle and multiple lacerations to her throat.
Turning the corner, Angela eyed Booth as he sank lower into the confines of the uncomfortable chair. They'd been sitting earlier that evening mostly in reflective silence, but she knew that there were questions she needed to ask.
"Here" Angela said with a kind smile as she handed one of the coffees to Booth. He looked at her gratefully and took a sip. After sitting down and crossing her right leg, Angela let her head rest back against the white wall.
"I asked at the Nurse's Station… they said the ER was busy today, but she won't be much longer. They're just finishing up the cast." Booth said into his coffee cup.
Angela nodded. She took a deep breath and decided that this time was as good as any.
"Booth, you knew this would happen."
Booth took the cup away from his mouth and stared at the floor. He wanted to negate her comment, but he knew in his heart that he agreed with her. It wasn't really that he knew this exact situation would occur; it was more that he knew Brennan would be in danger.
"You're right. It's my fault. If I'd had her pulled from the field, then –"
Angela shook her head. "No, no Booth. That's not what I meant. Your predicted this through your dreams. There's no way anything is your fault. You saved Bren's life." She said emphatically.
"I don't know if I believe in premonitions…" Booth said thoughtfully.
"I don't think you have to believe in premonitions to understand what happened today. The connection you have with Brennan led you to feel that she would be in danger and you did everything to stop that from happening. You don't have to believe in psychics or magic to believe in that."
Booth nodded in agreement and took another sip of his coffee. Silence passed for a few minutes as they both silently observed the interesting people around them. There were both old and young people scattered through the waiting room – each of them yearning for the news of their ailing friend or family member.
While Angela watched the people around her, Booth's mind couldn't stop replaying the moments of that afternoon over and over again in his head. If that window had been properly secured, the intruder would never have been there. If Booth had gone up on that ladder to retrieve the vent instead, Brennan wouldn't have a broken ankle. If that bullet had been millimeters off, it would have clipped his partner's shoulder as well.
If, if, if…
There was one thought, however, that Booth couldn't repress. What if this happened again? Even if the dreams that had been haunting him for weeks disappeared, what would happen months down the road the same thing began to happen? What if he woke up in a sweat a night months from now, dreaming that his partner was in a new dangerous or lethal situation?
Angela looked over at Booth and could nearly see the varying stages of emotion play across his face as he sat deep in thought. She impulsively put a hand on his forearm and brought his attention back to the real world.
"Did you tell her about the dreams?" Angela asked quietly. She knew Booth had agreed to tell Brennan, but the attack had occurred so close to their conversation that she couldn't be sure.
"No." Booth said simply.
Angela nodded her head and stared at the floor. If she were in Booth's position, the first thing she would have done was tell Brennan. However, she was definitely not Booth.
"I might sometime, but maybe it's better if she doesn't know. All I want is for her to be safe."
"I know, Booth. I know."
Meanwhile, Brennan lay on the flattened mattress of a hospital bed and peered down at her fat ankle curiously. A thick white cast had been applied and, thankfully, had nearly set. Several bandages had been placed on her neck, but unfortunately many bruises were beginning to become more obvious on her white skin.
Becoming very tired of waiting, she reached up and felt around for her medical chart. She flipped it open and reviewed its contents, knowing that it would only satisfy her impatience for a few minutes. It was then that she heard footsteps outside her door and a slight jiggling of the doorknob.
Before the door even opened, Brennan knew that it was going to be Booth who would walk through that door. Though she'd really wanted to see him for hours, now that the time had arrived she was slightly nervous. She didn't want him to have to worry anymore, not to mention have to see her looking like this. In any case, she pushed these thoughts from her mind as Booth walked into the small room.
"Hey" Brennan greeted, as if everything were completely normal.
"Bones…" Booth began, not really knowing what to say. He took several slow steps toward her bed and let his eyes roam her entire body.
"It looks a lot worse than it is." Brennan supplied, answering his silent question. "If it hadn't been for you I'd be dead right now." She said bluntly.
"Don't say that." Booth breathed, taking a seat on a vacant part of her bed.
"Alex… is he?" Brennan asked, wondering if the troubled killer had died from Booth's bullet.
"He's still in the OR, but the doctor said that he'll probably pull through. We've got three agents waiting for him when he gets out of surgery."
Brennan nodded, unsure whether or not to be disappointed or relieved. Part of her was thankful that the man who tried to kill her wasn't dead since he needed to suffer the justice of his murderous acts, as well as the pain he had inflicted on her today.
"Angela will be in here any minute. She wanted to call the rest of the squints to tell them… well, you know."
"I'm sorry I scared you today."
Booth shook his head. "I'm so happy you're safe" he said simply.
Tenderly, he grasped her hand in his own. Their hands were barely touching, but the warmth radiated from her hand to his palm. They sat like that for a few minutes, just enjoying the feeling of their connected hands.
They lived in a world of danger. A world where husbands would kill their own wives, a world where bodies were forgotten and left to rot, a world where instant changes can alter lives forever.
But most of all, they lived in a world where emotional connectedness was the driving force towards safety and stability. For it is only when you have a hand to hold through the darkness and fear that you can really appreciate life outside the nightmares.
I'd love to know what you think! Thanks for reading, everyone:)