Booth was getting itchy. If he could pace, he would. Jack and Angela had been aboard the docked sailboat for 45 minutes and he had yet to see their signal. They had pre-arranged that one of them would come up on deck and drop a white handkerchief overboard once the deal was in progress. They both carried one in case one was better able to get on deck than the other. He didn't want to scare Perchenok off and he had to make sure he caught him in the act or nothing would stick.
He saw movement on deck and tensed, but it wasn't either of the Squints. He watched the man light a cigarette and lean against the railing. He was large and looked around the entire time he smoked the cigarette. And then it struck Booth. He had the demeanor of a bodyguard or hired thug. Was this the guy who had beaten Bones up? Booth narrowed his eyes and felt his breathing begin to come faster.
Suddenly he was aware of a presence behind and to the left of him. He looked over casually and recognized one of Cullen's squad members. The man nodded once in Booth's direction and raised his hand - five fingers – pointing quickly right and left. Booth understood this to mean they had their back-up in place and were ready to go. Now all they needed was one of the pair to give the signal…
And almost as if on cue, Angela appeared on deck. She walked over to the thug Booth had been eyeing and apparently asked him for a cigarette because he stood up straighter and reached in his pocket. Angela took that momentary distraction to drop her handkerchief over the railing and Booth nodded quickly to the team leader, pointing forward.
The first two FBI agents were on board and had their guns at the thug's head before he has finished fishing out the cigarette. They disarmed him while the other three agents and Booth came aboard at the other end of the ship. Booth stopped quickly in front of Angela and raised his eyebrows. She gave him the thumbs up and pointed to the steps leading down to the cabin.
Booth and the team disappeared from sight and Angela heard the sounds of a scuffle. One shot was fired and she gasped as she ducked instinctively, thinking of Jack. Before she could do anything foolish, Booth re-emerged and tossed his cell to her.
"Angela, call 911. Perchenok shot an agent in the calf. Everyone else is okay." Booth disappeared for a moment and then came back on deck with one of the agents and Perchenok. The two still on deck took Perchenok down the ramp and to a waiting car. Booth looked the thug over. "So, you want to tell us anything about your boss? It'd go easier for you."
The thug shrugged. "Not much to say. Perchenok likes dealing in 'fine art'."
Angela spoke up. "Yeah, but an original Goya worth over a million dollars is a bit beyond 'fine art'."
"What about Peter Radcliffe, huh? What did he do that your boss wanted you to kill him?" Booth questioned pointedly.
"Wait a minute! I didn't kill nobody! Perchenok was pissed at him because he was getting greedy. Said if he didn't get more of a cut, seeing's how he was the one getting the stuff, he was gonna tell everything to the sheriff who kept poking around. Perchenok's the one who shot him. I just got rid of the body," the thug spilled his guts.
"And how did your boss feel when the scientists uncovered hour handiwork?" Booth asked, looking over Angela's shoulders at the car where Perchenok was. An ambulance and two cop cars were coming down the hill towards the docks.
"He wasn't happy. How was I supposed to know they were gonna do a dig there? Everyone thinks that place is 'haunted' and steers clear of it."
"So when the scientists found the body, what did your boss do?" Booth had a feeling he knew what he was going to say.
"Perchenok knew they'd realize Radcliffe's body didn't belong there. And then he found out some smart dead-body doctor was on the dig and freaked out. Said he wanted to get her off the case. We found out where she was staying and he told me to take care of it. I waited for her to get in one night…" He never finished the sentence.
Angela let out a tiny shriek as Booth lunged at him with a massive shot to his jaw. The man stumbled and Booth pressed his advantage, knocking him completely to the ground where he lay heavily, his handcuffed hands behind him. Booth was on top of him in a second, grabbing his collar in a strangle hold. Through clenched teeth he ground out, "You're dead!"
Booth pulled back and delivered another devastating punch to the man's face, then another and another. Angela was screaming for help and the blood from the man's broken nose was splattered everywhere. Booth was in a frenzy. He heard and saw nothing except the animal in front of him who had so badly abused his Bones. Hands grabbed at him, trying to pull him off, but he was able to land two more crushing blows to the man's jaw and neck. Finally, Angela got through to him.
"Booth! Did you hear me? We got a call from the hospital! They want us there right away!" She shouted at him through his murderous haze.
"What's wrong? What's happened to Bones?" He turned and the two FBI agents used the distraction to help get him up and away from the man on the ground.
Angela looked stricken. "They didn't say…just that they wanted us there right away!" She repeated.
Booth spared three seconds for the man laying on the ground in a pool of blood at his feet. "I swear to God that if anything happens to her, I'll kill you myself!"
EMTs arrived on the scene, two bending down to the man Booth had just pummeled and the other two heading for the cabin where the wounded agent sat. The sheriff came behind them and stopped in front of Booth, taking in the state of the man and Booth's demeanor. The two agents who had helped pull Booth off the thug looked at him.
"I guess it's a good thing that you guys finally got him handcuffed, huh?" Booth nodded his head once and just about ran to his car.
Jack had reappeared once the EMTs had arrived on the scene. Now he looked at the bloodied guy and Angela's look of shock as she stared at Booth's retreating back. "What the---?"
Angela snapped her mouth shut and grabbed Hodgins' hand, pulling him with her. "I'll explain in the car. The hospital called---we have to go there right away."
"Jack! Not now! Let's go!" She urged, dropping his hand and sprinting away towards their car. Realizing she wouldn't wait for him, he flew after her.
The entire twenty-five minute drive to the hospital felt more like twenty-five hours. Even with his siren and lights on, people seemed to pull out in front of him every few yards. He was forced to take small, winding roads to get to the hospital and couldn't go any faster. Angela still had his cell or he would have called the hospital for more information. What was wrong? Was she---? No! Booth shook his head viciously, refusing to allow that thought to enter his mind. Instead, he dropped the wall back down in place as best he could and fiercely gripped the steering wheel. He would not think about this: not until he got to the hospital.
He pulled into the hospital's patient drop-off zone with tires screeching. Jumping out of the car, he ran through the doors and straight towards the elevators. As if in anticipation of his arrival, the doors on his right opened just as he skidded to a halt in front of them. He waited impatiently as two elderly people exited the elevator and then he jumped in, hitting the 3rd floor button and then jamming his finger on the "close doors" button repeatedly.
Thankfully, the elevator went straight to the 3rd floor with no stops. The doors weren't fully open and Booth was shouldering his way through them. The nurse at the station looked up and quickly called to her two co-workers. They converged on Booth, effectively blocking him from running down the hall. As it was, he was able to keep moving in the direction of Bones' room.
"Agent Booth! You have blood all over you! Are you all right?" the first nurse asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. How's Bones?" he asked, still pushing and now looking over their heads towards her room.
"Bones?" One nurse asked, arching her eyebrow.
"Brennan! Dr. Brennan! We got a call---'Get here right away,' you said. What's wrong?!" He nearly shouted in his frustration.
"Easy, Agent Booth! This is the ICU!" The third nurse shushed him.
The first stopped dead in front of him and put her hands on his chest, halting him. "Agent Booth, if you don't calm down, we won't let you in. We don't want to upset her when she sees you like this."
That stopped him dead. "What?"
The nurse smiled and she said, "You don't want to upset her when she sees you. It's bad enough you've got blood all over your shirt, but you don't want to act all crazy."
"She's awake?" Booth was almost afraid to ask the question---didn't want to allow hope to blossom just to have it crushed.
"Yes. She came around just about an hour ago. She was a little confused---kept insisting you went for coffee. I'm not sure why she has that thought in her head, but she knew without a doubt you were here."
Booth felt his face flush and he cleared his throat. "Can I see her now?"
"Of course. She'll be happy to see you," the nurse said, moving out of his way so he could go to her.
Seeley Booth was afraid of very little, but right now he was terrified. Part of him was convinced that this was a great dream and once he saw her with his own eyes, he'd wake up to see she was still in a coma. Another part of him was afraid he wouldn't be able to keep himself together when he saw her; and he certainly didn't want to make an ass of himself. He paused at the door, took a deep breath, and walked inside.
Her blue-gray eyes met his immediately and she smiled at him---then winced at the pain in her cheek when she did. He walked over to her and simply stared into her eyes. She was awake; and she was going to make it.
"Hi," she said simply, her voice weak and raspy from the ventilator tube.
"Hi," he whispered gently, leaning over and smiling at her as he took her hand.
"Did you kick the guy's ass?" She managed to ask and his smile grew into his famous charm smile.
"Oh, yeah! You think this blood's mine?" He gestured towards his shirt.
She held open her hand to reveal the little pink pig, Jasper that Booth had given her and then brought to her hospital bedside when he'd found it in her cottage. "Thank you. I knew you were here," she said.
He couldn't wait any longer, He leaned towards her and very gently kissed her cheek, holding his head to hers. "Don't you ever do this to me again, Temperance. I can't do this again."
Bones blinked in shock, first at his kiss and then at the use of her name. When he pulled back, she frowned and touched her cheek. It was wet. She looked up at him and saw his eyes had filled up.
"Can others join this party or is it invitation only?" Came Angela's voice from the doorway.
"Ange, you're here, too?" Brennan rasped out.
"Half the Squint Squad is here," came Hodgins' voice as Angela went to Brennan's side and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
Brennan smiled at them, then frowned. "But who's taking care---" Her voice finally gave out and she frowned, irritated by her vocal chords' lack of cooperation.
"Don't worry. Cam and Zach are doing fine by themselves. You've only been here a little less than a week."
Brennan's eyebrows shot up alarmingly and she struggled to speak until a nurse came in and asked them to say their good-byes so she could get some rest.
"We'll talk tomorrow, Sweetie. Oh, and Jack may decide to quit the Jeffersonian and start working undercover for the FBI," Angela laughed, squeezing her friend's hand.
"Over my dead body!" Booth said.
"In a pig's eye!" Was Jack's simultaneous reply.
Angela grinned wickedly. "Come on, let's go. I'm kind of in the mood for some role playing tonight, G-Man."
Jack's eyes grew wide and he turned to Booth. "Can I borrow your badge?"
"Get out!" Booth shooed them and then he was alone with Bones. She immediately motioned for the small pad of paper and pen she saw on the nightstand and Booth obliged.
"Take it easy, Bones. You need some rest and I'll be back first thing tomorrow."
She shook her head and began to write, then handed the pad back to him. He looked at it and sighed.
"All right. To make a long story short, the body you uncovered belonged to a criminal involved in black market stolen art. His boss killed him and one of his goons dumped the body where you found it. When word got around about your discovery, the boss decided to have someone get you off the case. That's how you wound up here. We did some undercover work and nailed them tonight," Booth answered.
She motioned for the pad back. She scribbled furiously and then handed it back.
"I don't know when they're going to let you out of here. You had internal bleeding, a hairline fracture to the skull, a punctured lung, broken ribs…and you were in a coma, Bones! You need to take it easy and listen to them. I'll make sure of that!"
She took the pad back and wrote another question.
Booth had the grace to blush. "Um, yeah. That was kind of my idea. I didn't think it would be too easy to convince them I should be able to stay with you as much as I did if they thought we were only partners. Jack posed as your brother, Angela was your sister-in-law, and it really didn't leave much of a choice for me. Sorry about the lack of a ring. I'll make it up to you," he explained, flashing that charm smile again.
Brennan rolled her eyes, but smiled. She reached out for his hand and then stopped. She motioned for the pad once more. Booth frowned and said, "This is it, Bones!"
She nodded and impatiently snatched the pad. She handed it back along with her pen and Booth looked at what she had written.
Did you say something to me about getting coffee while I was still under? I was sure I heard you say something about wanting more coffee.
He swallowed hard and smiled weakly. "Yeah, well…you know how much I like coffee. I guess I mentioned it when I left."
Bones frowned at him, clearly not believing him, but the nurse popped back in again.
"Agent Booth! I really must insist that you let her rest now!"
"No problem. I was just leaving," Booth said, jumping up to escape Brennan's piercing gaze. He leaned over and gave her a quick, gentle kiss on her forehead and smiled at her. "I'm sure glad you're back, Temperance. I missed you." Here he lightly tapped her on the tip of her nose. "I'll be back bright and early tomorrow morning. We'll find out when you can leave and everything's going to be fine." And with that, he left.
Brennan stared at the door after he left and then looked down at Jasper still in her hand. Why was the question of coffee still bothering her? He wanted more coffee? He wanted more than coffee? Yes, that was it! So, he wanted a bagel? She frowned and then, suddenly, her eyes widened as she remembered back to their counseling session a few weeks prior. They had agreed, if reluctantly, that if they were no longer partners, then they would still meet for coffee from time to time. He'd said he wanted more than coffee…she was sure of it! But what did that mean? Was he insinuating he wanted more now? Even though they worked together? Maybe Angela could help her puzzle this out.
The last thing that went through her mind as she drifted off to sleep was, "I want more than coffee, too."
Thanks again for all your reviews. I had fun writing this. I had originally planned on just writing a little fluff, but I was amazed that it turned out to be an entire story. I ended it here on purpose because this way it could actually take place within the third season without causing any storyline problems. My next attempt will be more AU as far as them actually finally getting together. Have a happy holiday, All!