CHAPTER 1

"It's freezing. Can't you turn the car on for a few minutes?" Brennan whined, her voice muffled as she spoke through her scarf, huddling in the passenger seat of the SUV.

"This is a stakeout, Bones. Turning the car on is completely counterintuitive," Booth replied, looking to her and then past her as he raised a pair of binoculars to his face.

Brennan rolled her eyes and clasped her gloved hands together. "How long have we been here anyway?" she inquired, holding her watch up to somehow try to read the numbers. She reached for the light above her, but Booth swatted her hand away.

"What did I just say?" Booth asked, staring at her in disbelief.

Brennan's face contorted and she snarled. "You sure are…bossy," she replied, unintelligently.

"I'm in charge of this stakeout, so I'll be bossy if I want to," Booth replied, emphatically.

Brennan continued to sneer at him, her eyes narrowed and her lips slightly scrunched together. But she didn't speak and instead, leaned back in the seat as she wrapped her scarf more tightly around her.

And so they sat, silent, for the next 10 minutes. They were somewhere between Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, out in the middle of nowhere. A single farm house was the only structure for miles. The SUV was parked at a safe distance so as not to arouse suspicion. Brennan sat, freezing, as she kept her eyes on the house. A small, frozen lake stretched out to the side of the house, a stone bridge spreading across it. It seemed to be the only way from the house to reach the pastures where (from what Brennan could make out in the dark) several dark figures shifted. She could only assume that the figures were cattle.

Another 10 minutes passed and still nothing. Brennan's scarf was now wrapped securely around her head and her rather red nose poked out from just beneath it.

"How is it that you aren't cold?" Brennan asked Booth, this time nearly inaudible.

"Blah, blah, blah, what?" Booth asked, his face scrunched.

Brennan pulled the scarf down as she rolled her eyes. "Why aren't you cold?" she asked again, her eyes wide in irritation at having to repeat herself.

"I am cold, Bones, I'm just not as vocal about it as you are…clearly," Booth replied, bringing the binoculars back to his eyes.

Brennan sighed. "How do we even know that this guy is going to come back here tonight?" Brennan asked, pursing her lips in annoyance.

"Because, if he returns to the scene of the crime before that check is deposited, then we'll know it's him. He has to come back before 7 in the morning or else he's not our guy…and that's nearly impossible since all of the evidence points to him," Booth explained as though Brennan hadn't the faintest idea what their current case entailed.

Brennan stared at him for a moment. "You could have at least brought a portable generator," she responded, irritated.

It was now Booth's turn to roll his eyes. "Why do I have to think of everything? Why didn't you bring one?" he retorted, looking directly at her.

"Because I had no idea we were going to be sitting in your car for 4 hours at 5 degree temperatures!" Brennan replied, her eyes widening and her voice rising.

"It's not 5 degrees-" Booth began.

"Yes, it is! I looked at the car's temperature gauge before you turned it off," she shot back.

"Bones, it's not like you're going to freeze to death," Booth replied, smirking slightly. "You're the scientist, you should know that," he added, smugly.

"Yes, Booth, I know that. But feel my hands," Brennan replied as she ripped off one glove and placed it against Booth's cheek.

Booth jerked at her touch. "Geez, Bones, are your hands like…dead?" Booth asked, his face scrunched again as he smacked her hand away for the second time.

"That's not even scientifically possible," she replied, putting her glove back on.

"Obviously, Bones, I just meant…no, you know what, nevermind," Booth replied as the binoculars returned to their previous spot.

Brennan didn't reply. Instead, she leaned forward slowly and tilted her head so that she was in Booth's direct eyeline.

Brennan's face appeared suddenly and Booth was taken aback at the intense magnification as he pulled his head away from the binoculars.

"What, are you trying to ruin this?" Booth inquired, his jaw clenched and his eyes set intensely on Brennan.

She glared at him without uttering a word. Her face did all the talking.

"Fine, I get it. You're cold and you're miserable. Yeah well, me too. Here, feel MY hands," Booth shot back as both of his hands flew to her cheek.

She too jerked away from his touch. "Okay, okay, I take your point. We're both cold and we're both miserable. So, why don't we stop talking about it, right?" Brennan replied, looking to Booth for approval of her perception of the situation.

"Exactly. See, Bones, you ARE intuitive," Booth replied, smiling sarcastically as he raised the binoculars. Before he could reach his eyes, Brennan snatched them away. "Hey!"

"What, I don't get to look too?" she asked, looking to him and then back through the binoculars. She could see the farm house up closely now. There was a front porch light on, but the rest of the house was dark. She could see the lake and the bridge better from the illumination.

Just as she was about to give the binoculars back to Booth, she saw a pair of headlights.

"Booth! Someone's coming!" she exclaimed as she hit Booth on the knee.

Booth grabbed the binoculars from her. He could make out a car pulling into the gravel driveway.

"That's the Jeep," Booth informed her as he watched a rather tall and gangly man step out of the car. "And that's Johansson. He's back. Told ya, Bones," Booth said with an all-knowing smirk. He still had the binoculars glued to his face, which was clearly irritating Brennan.

"Booth, let me see," she said, reaching for the binoculars.

"Hang on a second, Bones," he replied, pushing her hand away as he continued to stare at "Johansson." "He's getting something out of the back. Wait…it's a rifle. Same one police released from evidence. Alright, listen," Booth began as he pulled the binoculars away. "You stay here-"

"Are you kidding? You really expect me to-" she began to protest, her eyes wide.

"Just stay here until you see me take him down. Then, you can move in as my backup," Booth instructed as he reached for his gun.

"Booth! Why would I-"

"Because we know how he works! If he sees both of us, he will shoot you! He strikes by taking the most important things from his victims. Since I have the gun, he'll aim at you," Booth yelled, nearly losing his temper out right.

Brennan stared wide-eyed at Booth for a long moment. She understood. "Okay," she replied, simply.

Booth stared at her intently as he opened the door. "Not a single movement until he is down," Booth reiterated, a severe and concerned look on his face.

Brennan nodded.

Booth took another look at her and then left the car, shutting the door gently behind him.

She watched him scurry across the deserted 2-lane highway, gun in hand. She picked up the binoculars and looked for Johansson, who was just shutting the tailgate to the Jeep. She watched his body turn suddenly towards Booth and she knew that Booth must have said something to him. The two men were still approximately 20 yards apart and she glanced back and forth between them with the binoculars. She could not, for the life of her, tell what was going on. They were obviously talking, but Johansson was not relinquishing his rifle as Booth closed in on him.

"Come on, Booth. Take him down," Brennan said aloud, the binoculars still attached to her face.

Booth was now a mere 12 or so yards from Johansson. Brennan felt helpless. She had to do something. I should have brought my gun was all she could think. Then this situation would be much different. But no, she had listened to Booth who had told her that she wouldn't need it.

A split second later, Johansson took off towards the pastures and Booth took off after him.

That was it, Brennan could NOT just sit there. She dropped the binoculars and hurried out of the car and across the highway. She tried to keep an eye on Johansson and on Booth, but the night was deeply dark and it was difficult. She followed in the general direction of where she had seen the two men disappear, but it wasn't until she heard a loud noise that she stopped in her tracks and narrowed her eyes, squinting to see where the noise had come from. It had almost sounded like…water? The lake? In the distance along the horizon, she could make out a tall figure running in the opposite direction. But there was only one tall figure and it was far too gangly to be Booth's.

A horrible feeling overcame her and suddenly, she yelled, "Booth!" And there was no answer. She could barely see 5 feet in front of her, but she continued walking and she yelled again, "Booth!" After a few more seconds, she could see the stone bridge. It was a few yards in front of her and she hurried to it. She stood in the middle of the bridge and glanced below her on one side.

Frantically, she looked and listened, but didn't see or hear anything. She turned to the other side and it was then and there that she saw what she had been afraid of seeing: a hole in the ice.

"Booth!" she yelled again as she hurried, nearly slipping, off the bridge and to the edge of the lake. She stared anxiously at the hole in the ice. The water was rippling, but nothing was re-surfacing. She knew she only had a matter of seconds to pull him out. She knelt on the snowy bank and threw her arms into the water, reaching as far down as she could, hoping to grasp hold of him. But she felt nothing but cold water.

Tears began forming in her eyes as she tried frantically to reach him. There was only one thing left to do and before she could even blink back the tears, she plunged into the icy water, sending all of her nerve endings a dangerous message. She opened her eyes and looked below her to see his face, his eyes closed. Within a millisecond, she had him in her grasp and she pulled him to the surface.

She gasped as she came out of the water, the iciness taking her breath away. She was drenched and freezing, but she didn't care. She was able to pull Booth out of the water and heave him up onto the bank after 2 tries. He lay there, limp, not moving a muscle.

"Booth! Come on, Booth!" she yelled, tears now flowing freely as she leaned over him and pressed her index and middle fingers against his jugular. Nothing. She knew she couldn't start CPR until she was absolutely certain that he did or didn't have a pulse. Otherwise, his heart could stop from the chest compressions. As she went to check again, she noticed the snow beneath him was beginning to turn red.

"Oh God…" Brennan whispered above the tears as she shifted Booth's head slightly to the side only to reveal blood stained hair. She pressed against the back of his head to see how quickly the blood was flowing. To her relief, the blood merely trickled from the site of the gash and she concluded that the wound was superficial.

Shivering, she returned to the more immediate issue. She pressed on his neck once again. After a couple of seconds, she felt a pulse. It was slow and faint, but it was there. Upon the realization of the fact that he was in fact alive, Brennan immediately began chest compressions.

"1…2…3…" Brennan counted aloud, the salty tears spilling as she pushed on his chest. After a count of three, she leaned in, pinched his nose, and touched her lips to his, blowing air into his windpipe. She then leaned her ear to his mouth to listen for breath sounds…and she heard nothing.

"1…2…3…" she repeated her counting and her actions again…and again, there was nothing. He lay there, motionless. She knew that he was hypothermic and she knew that if she didn't get him out of his wet clothes soon, his body temperature could reach critical levels. But she had to get him to breathe first.

"1…2…3…" she cried as she blew warm breath into his mouth. "Please, Booth…" she whispered, pressing against his chest again.

"Please…you can't leave…"