Nothing like AU goodness and angst, am I right?

"Get down!" he'd ordered her, pressing forcefully on her shoulder to nestle her safely below the line of danger; below the level of the windshield.

Grateful at her lack of protest, he twisted around, jerking the gear into reverse and slamming his foot on the gas. The tires of the taxi cab screamed shamelessly and sped back from the treacherous duffle bag that lay abandoned in the middle of the street. Despite his racing adrenaline, he kept himself as level as possible. He spun the wheel, angling his side of the vehicle toward the impending danger.

The explosion hit, and emblematic silence followed.

It jarred every bone in him and wreaked deafening chaos on his eardrums. He felt the vehicle flip into the air, and the split-second moments carried on as if for hours.

His act of selfless heroism, sacrificing himself to undergo the brunt of the damage in protection of her, faded futilely as the vehicle somersaulted and eventually landed with thunderous timbre on the scientist's doorside.

Slowly, Booth pulled himself from the dazed and dark fog that was assaulting his senses. His eyes gradually cracked open, and he lifted his head groggily. All sound surrounding him seemed miles away, and everything ached. He felt something warm seeping down the side of his face and carefully reached up a hand to investigate, in a cage of delirium. His fingers pulled away, stained and moist with dark crimson from the deep lesion that ran from the peak of his angled cheekbone to his hairline.

It was then that he realized everything was reversed. Up was down—he was overturned.

He blinked slowly, trying to adopt some semblance of bearing, and attempted to sit forward. A sharp jagged pain in his right shoulder prevented him from doing so and earned a broken protest from the FBI agent. Wincing, he dared a glance at the offending area and saw the sizeable piece of metal that jutted out from between his clavicle and his shoulder joint, blown from somewhere near the steering column during the explosion.

That would do him no good. Pulling a face, he reached over with his opposite hand and gripped the shrapnel between his fingers. Clenching his jaw, he achingly removed the foreign mass from his body, stifling a yell. It left a ringing in his ears that he struggled to force away. He attempted to gain a sense of his surroundings, and anything broken. He was sure he was bleeding from more than one injury, and it was evident that his seatbelt had severely bruised numerous ribs.

But that wasn't what he cared about. He could deal with his problems later. Only one thing was on his mind.

"Bones…" he voiced hoarsely, trying to get her attention and be sure she was all right. When there was no reply, he twisted painfully in his seat to look at her. "Bones—"

She was still.

Booth feared this more than he feared if she had been unmoving. They were completely different states. If a person was unmoving, they could still relay speech and tell you about the discomfort or ask what had happened—as foolish as such a question was. If they were unmoving, they could still feel your touch when you reached for them.

But stillness? Stillness was nothing. No reaction, no response, no thoughts…

He felt his pulse quicken in distress. "Temperance," he said her name, praying for an indication of any kind. A reply, a cough, a snooty retort—anything.

When she remained silent, wilted against the inside of her smashed door and shattered window, he reached quickly for his seatbelt, his injured arm burning. He ignored the hurt and focused on the fact that the buckle was stuck. Swearing, he began to tug frantically on the attaching strip of thick material. He had seen the red on her form as well. More specifically, the significant bruising and the blood flow on her forehead and cheek.

Another yank, and the buckle split with a loud snap. Scrambling out of the tangled belt, he twisted and kicked the door squarely until it finally gave.

He spilled out of the driver side, collapsing onto the rough pavement with a bark of pain, his bruised body trembling in agonizing protest. He forced himself to his feet, clutching his side and stumbling around to the passenger door. He collided roughly against the steel weight, but dropped to his knees and forced the door open.

Reaching in, he took hold of her shoulders and waist and pulled her from the wreckage, dragging them both across the unkind street. He sat up with a grimace, overcome with helpless dread, and rolled her over.

"Bones!" he pleaded, touching her face and trying to jar her awake. Leaning forward, he ran his fingers over pale skin, searching for any sign of life. He put his ear to her mouth, and whimpered at her lack of breath. He withdrew again, feeling his racing pulse through the rushing in his ears and the way his heart pounded against his battered ribs. "Bones, please," he whispered, unable to still the panic that flushed through him. "Please…"

Why wasn't anyone calling for help? he thought, breaking down, his bloody hands shaking. This wasn't happening. The shock blindsided him, like a knife digging into his heart and twisting without pity. His partner was lying here, lifeless and broken, in his arms. The sting of tears in his vision was the last thing on his mind. No goodbye would have the chance to pass through those soft lips, nor could one ever reach her ears.

Who was going to annoy him? Call him ridiculously absurd names like neanderthal or alpha-male instead of dumbass or wingnut? Steal his mea crob? Hold him and comfort him each time he had to give his son back? Honestly listen when he relived a moment of his past, without judgement or fear? The passenger seat in his Tahoe was now destined forever to be empty.

But then, a very fleeting, wavering calmness overcame him as protocol flooded his mind. It eased his nerves, if only in the slightest. If he was going to save her, he had to remain calm... rational. He had to be her, just this once. His dark eyes turned focused, still red with tears. Taking a shaky breath, he leaned over her once more, hovering. Slowly, as if time itself had stopped, silence flooded, and he brought his lips down to hers.

He surrendered his own breath to her, filling her lungs.

Not in this place—not like this. He wouldn't allow it. She would want to depart somewhere exotic, historically notable or of value. Not here. In the middle of some street, burnt and scorched by the aftermath of an explosion, surrounded by the petty remains of a taxi cab. She was better than that. So much more worthy.

He choked back another sob, closing the distance again and giving her more air. Time stilled once more.

Slowly, eyes the color of the sea fluttered open. Her breath—a gift—caught in her throat. She was unaware of her surroundings, but astutely aware of the lips that were pressed against her own in saving grace. She stared, mystified, up into the eyes of her partner. The eyes of Seeley Booth, who was now noticing her return to the living. She felt his tears on her skin, touched deeply by his grief. They remained there, frozen in time.

Finally, he pulled away, his lips leaving hers; hesitant. She felt a pang of loss at the sudden absence which she couldn't explain. They remained barely an inch apart, noses brushing. Inwardly, he wanted to release a glorified cry of triumph at the miracle of her awakening, but rather found himself immobile under the study of those oceanic pools. He swallowed thickly. While she breathed now with new life, he found he had nearly lost his breath entirely.

He waited for her to mock him, or admonish him about the situation—something Bones-like. Anything to assure him that she was fully back. Instead, after another passing moment, she reached up carefully and touched his arm, evident awe and something else foreign in her eyes. "You saved me," she said, barely over a whisper.

A warmth spread in his heart and a smile shone in his eyes, briefly. It did not reach his face—couldn't. Under her current stare and the proximity they shared, he found he couldn't accomplish much of anything that resembled expression or intelligent thought.

And yet the moment lingered, unforgotten.

He searched quickly for some sort of response. And he had to admit, what he settled with was a pretty dumbass thing to say. But the honesty and sincere care behind his words more than made up for the quality of it, she thought with a captivated smile, filled with wonder.

"Well, yeah."