Author's note : Well, this is the last chapter. It took me sometimes as I didn't want to give you another cliffhanger. So it's the longest chapter of all, Enjoy!!

Disclaimer: as always, I don't own Bones or any of its characters...


ooooooo


She turned around seeking the terrible voice that was after them. But she only saw the walls of sand standing and waiting to crush them. A shudder ran down her spine.

"Bones," Booth said, his voice filled with tension.

Her blue ocean eyes turned to him. His face was glistening from the sweat dripping from his forehead.

He tried to smile but he only managed to curve his lips slightly. He was panting hard now and every move was taking a lot of his strength. His shoulders seemed heavier as if he was supporting the world. With a great effort, he managed to take a deep breath.

It was time for her to leave, he thought as he plunged his stare in the blue ocean of her eyes.

"Booth? What's going on? Are you okay?"

"yeah, I'm okay...Listen, you have to get out of here?" he said with a short breath.

"What! No! I'm not leaving you!" she retorted, "how can you..."

"No Bones," cut Booth, his eyes darkening. He cuddled her hands in his. "Don't argue just..."

But he never finished his sentence as Brennan disappeared suddenly, and he stared at the sand where she had sat few seconds before.

He frowned, "Bones!"

"She left you," whispered the growling voice from behind him, "and now you're alone..."

ooooooo

"Booth!" she called anxiously.

She took a look around. Where am I, she wondered? From the place she was standing, which looked like a small hole in a damp rock, she distinguished stone walls everywhere. It seemed she was in some kind of dark and humid cave. The place was dim though, which didn't surprise her. Every time she got separated from Booth it was to end up in a dark or shadowy place, so why not this time?

At least, this time she could breathe. Well, I'm not buried, that's something, she thought cheering herself up.

She took a deep breath but stopped as soon as an awful smell invaded her lungs. It smelled like death. She was used to the smell of rotting bodies but this was different. Her stomach heaved after a second necessary breath. Wrinkling her nose she felt the heavy humidity in the air sticking to her skin. I have to get out, or I'm really gonna be sick.

Her heart pounded fast in her chest. Calm down, Bren, she thought. Slowly, she breathed out to steady her heart rate, and squinted at the light glowing farther in the cave. As her eyes were getting used to the darkness, she noticed the walls around her were all wet. Water was pouring from the rock, giving to the place a faint glistening light . In fact, the whole place looked more and more like a tunnel, she realized.

Slowly, her hand leaned on the damp wall to give her some support. She was exhausted, and not just from her lack of oxygen from before. She found it difficult to focus and keep a rational mind. Strange thoughts danced in her mind. Before she could understand what was happening the image of a nightmarish creature came from the shadows.

She blinked trying to erase this image from her mind, but the creature remained there.

If she couldn't suppress it from her vision, maybe she should try to erase it from her mind, she thought. She closed her eyes, and focused her thoughts on her partner. He was somewhere in this darkness and now that he remembered her, she was sure he would come to help her. Though she would try to find him first.

Then, it occurred to her that something was weird. And she realized why she felt that way. Usually when she switched from one place to another, she was always wrapped in some kind of white smooth mist, why not this time?

"Because I'm the one that brought you here, this time!" said a voice in front of her.

She squinted at the darkness, and what she saw froze her blood. The image she thought her mind had created was there, walking creepily towards her. And now that the creature appeared in the dim light, she understood why this cave stink.

The creature looked like the fusion of two mythological animals. The bottom part looked for her like a spider, only the creature had four grey hairy legs. The top was more human like, except for the long slithery greyish arms. She shivered when the small dim light reflected on the sharp nails protruding from her slimy hands. She deduced the smell was probably due to the viscous grey liquid exuding from her skin. A bald bluish head turned toward her a row of dark decomposing teeth.

"This time?" repeated Brennan, putting a hand in front of her nose as the creature stopped few feet from her.

The creature opened her decaying mouth and spoke, "It seems your friend had managed to protect you all this time," the thing croaked before Brennan. "Every time I was getting too close to you, he pulled me away and sent you somewhere else...Damn mist!" cursed the creature.

"The mist?" shot Brennan, with wide eyes, "it was him?"

"Yeah," spat the creature angrily, "I never thought this little human had so much strength left in him."

Cracked lips parted into what seemed to Brennan, was a smile, "but I guess that's what makes him so appetizing," the creature added licking her lips as she had just eaten something really sweet.

Brennan swallowed, shivering as she realized the creature in front of her was the evil spirit trapping Booth and for which Maman Anise had warned her about.

Glowing eyes darted to Brennan, "did you ever think you were going to save him!" the creature snarled, "he is mine!"

Her greyish blue skin glowed as her arms gripped Brennan's throat and lifted her several inches from the ground. Her feet fluttered aimlessly into the air to break free.

"You won't win, he's stronger than you, " retorted Brennan trying to breath despite the iron grip.

Her hands grasped the slimy arms. But the grip was strong and her fingers slicked as she tried to free her throat.

"Maybe,... and maybe he's strong because of you..." said the creature.

Her face came inches to Brennan. She heaved under the stench of the creature's breath. She felt the tight grip squeezing more.

"But if you're not there, I wonder if he would be that strong?" snapped the creature.

"You can't kill me," breathed out Brennan, hoping she was right.

Her face reddened from the lack of oxygen.

The creature laughed, and deepened her sharp nails into her soft skin. Blood leaked from the small cuts and slid to her back.

"you're right, I can't kill your body,..." the creature giggled, "... but I can destroy your mind..." starting into a scary laugh.

Brennan shivered, hardly breathing. She didn't know how to save herself.

ooooooo

Booth stared at the sand where his partner knelt few moments ago. His hands dug into the sands. But he found nothing. Nothing but dust. Scared he let the sand seeped from his fists like water.

How could she disappear like that? What happened? Where did she go?

All these questions assaulted his brain like a riffle's shot. His vision spun as his heart tightened inside his chest. He needed to answer these questions and needed it fast. His gut was telling him she was in danger.

You're alone, had said a voice. He didn't know who it was, but he got a pretty idea it could be linked.

He had always known he wasn't alone. But when he had found Brennan, he had foolishly thought she was the other presence that he had felt. But now he had real doubts about it. Unfortunately, he didn't know or remember what it was, but he knew now they weren't alone.

He pushed on his aching legs and stood in the middle of the walls of sand. The vision of giant sand waves, and mainly when you were where they would fall, could have frightened anyone, but Booth knew what was holding them. It was him. More precisely his will, and right now he needed to gather all his strength to find Brennan.

He closed his eyes and tried to focus on her. Her face printed before his eyes. A faint smile spread on his face, how could he have forgotten her?

Then, he opened his mind and sent a mental question, Bones where are you?

The walls started to tremble around him, sending jolts of pain in his legs. Sweat quickly beaded his forehead under the effort to control the walls and find Brennan.

Breathing heavily, he slowly opened his eyes and glanced at the trembling walls. Maybe he should get rid of them first, he thought. Closing his eyes once more, he focused only on the walls. The tremors increased. Sand slid from the top of the walls and crashed near his feet, hemming him in a small dust cloud.

Then, slowly the sand rolled back in loud thunders. Few seconds later the sand had retrieved its place at the top of the hills. A deathly silence filled the place.

His legs shook ready to give out. He tried to stay up, but the small tremors running through his muscles didn't leave him a lot of choice. He crouched, and tried to get his breath back.

Now Bones, he thought. Come on Booth, he urged to himself, you don't have time for a rest! Later maybe, he added mentally, I'll rest later. And with this in mind, he straightened again on his weak legs pushing with his hands.

As he stood, he exhaled a deep breath. Once more, his eyes closed. No time to lose, he thought. He focused immediately on her. A lingering pain returned behind his eyes. He breathed deeply and let the pain passed through him. He had to stay focus on her, no matter what.

Then, his mind found it. Although everything was dark around him, he could feel a small warm presence. Like a candle fighting to push the darkness away, she was there casting a path to him. A concerned line broke his forehead. She wasn't alone, he realized as fear wrapped his soul.

"You're powerless," snarled a deep voice, "you won't find her!"

Booth opened his eyes seeking where the voice had come from. But the place remained desert. He gritted his teeth. If this thing had hurt Brennan, he would kill it with his bare hands.

"Bring her back!" he ordered, angry.

The voice giggled, amused by his demand, "why would I?"

His stomach twisted, this thing enjoyed this whole situation, playing with them. The thought made him sick.

"You want me!" shot Booth.

"Maybe," answered the thing, "and maybe I'm happy with her!"

"Let her go, and I'll do everything you want!" said Booth, dropping his shoulders.

Silence followed his words. Booth hoped the thing was really considering his proposition. He knew it was foolish and Brennan would be pissed after him. But he had to save her. She was his responsibility, his friend, this, he did remember. Something else grew in his mind as his thoughts turned to her, another feeling, something he couldn't explain with words. He swallowed. His heart was beating fast with each seconds, he had to save her.

"Why would I let her go when I can have both of you?" the voice giggled breaking the deafening silence, "but don't worry, I will take care of you soon!"

"Fine," Booth shot back, "but I'm warning you if you have hurt her, I promise you would die here!"

The voice started into a long laugh, "of course I'm hurting her, what did you expect?"

His blood boiled in his vein as his anger raised.

"Then you're dead," he said, shutting his eyes.

He focused on her warmth and quickly found the path she had left for him. He wouldn't let anything stand between then! The small path widened. The light brightened. He had found her.

Focusing on her, he felt her life going away. The thing was hurting her, he could feel it. He clenched his fists under his anger.

Then he saw her. Damn nails were penetrating her thin skin, and then it was too much. Something exploded inside him. Something he couldn't explain. A fierce strength coursed through his muscles, boiling in his veins. He wouldn't let anything happen to her!...never!

With one thought, he wiped away the darkness between them. Replacing them by a blinding light.

Surprise by the offending light, the creature let go of Brennan.

She felt the grip loosen around her neck, but too weak to stand on her legs she dropped to the floor.

Her muscles tensed expecting to hit the rocky ground, but instead strong arms wrapped her. Warm fingers ran inside her auburn hair, keeping her head pressed against a smooth shoulder. Her eyes closed, she abandoned herself to this soothing moment. She wasn't alone. Someone had come for her, and she knew who it was.

Quick heartbeats were pounding in the chest she had snuggled her face into.

She raised a concerned look toward her partner. A faint smile welcomed her. Sweat was damping his brown hair, sticking them to his neck.

"You have to leave..." He said panting.

"I'm not leaving you, Booth," she answered without thinking.

He breathed deeply and dropped to his knees, pulling her down with him.

She could see he was exhausted to the point that even breathing was too much of an effort.

"Booth, what..." she asked with worry.

"Shh,..." he cut pressing a weak finger to her lips.

"Listen,..." his eyes glanced at the floor as he tried to take a deep breath.

Unfortunately, he only managed to take a shallow breath, and was still panting when his exhausted brown eyes connected with Brennan.

"I need you...to leave... trust me, Bones," he breathed out.

"I'm not!" she voiced.

Too tired, Booth leant his head on her shoulder and exhaled deeply.

"Did you see where we are?" he muffled near her ear.

Frowning, Brennan shot a glance at her surroundings. Dunes of golden sand surrounded them.

"We're back where the sand almost buried us," she said staring with surprise at his neck.

"Yeah," he paused, heaving, "that's why... you have to leave!"

"I don't understand?" she said puzzled.

"I don't have enough strength to protect us, Bones... that's why you have to leave,..." he panted, "I'll be okay."

"But maybe I can help," she retorted, afraid to leave him alone.

"It's not your fight Bones,... you have done enough already, trust me!"

Painfully, he raised his head and stared at her. He wanted to make sure she would leave. His dark brown stare deepened in the ocean of her eyes.

"Trust me, Temperance, I'll be okay."

Small tears seeped from the corner of her eyes. With a shaking hand, her thumb wiped the sweat from his left temple and caressed his cheek.

"I'll be waiting for you!"

"I'm counting on it," he said, shooting her a small charming smile between shallow breaths.

"Whatever that thing says don't believe it," she added sniffing.

She snuggled her face in his neck and wrapped her arms around him, pressing him against her.

"I trust you, Booth!" she said, swallowing the threatening sob.

He squeezed her frail body against him, closing his eyes he prayed to have a chance to see her again.

Then, she slowly left the comfort of his arms and raiseda pair of red eyes on him.

"Booth, I..." but the words stayed stuck in her throat.

Silently, she stared at the unconscious form lying in the bed. His feature was still pale and hollow, though this time, a faint and regular beep echoed in the hospital room.

Wiping the tears that rolled down her cheeks, she pressed her face against his. Forehead against forehead, she placed a soft kiss near his lips.

"I'm waiting for you Booth!" she whispered.

She held her breath, hoping it could have triggered something in him. But only the regular beep sounded in the room.

Then, a clinging noise pulled her from her reverie. Looking at the door, she noticed that someone was trying to force the door.

Unwillingly, she jumped to the floor. Careful not to take with her his IV she left his side to unlock the door.

Immediately, the door opened in a whoosh. An angry nurse rushed in and glared at her.

"These doors aren't meant to be locked mam!" she glanced at the still form in the bed and then shot a dreadful stare at Brennan.

The nurse was about to raise the tone when she noticed Brennan's weak state.

Disheveled, Brennan was trying to stand without swaying too much while the nurse threw her anger at her. But instead of yelling at her, the nurse stopped and pressed one hand on her left arm. She guided her to the nearest chair, which was actually near Booth's bed and waited that she sits. Not caring about the nurse, Brennan dropped into the chair and stared at Booth.

"I'm sorry mam," the nurse apologized "I shouldn't have yelled at you like that,... I was worry something had happened to you."

Brennan sighed, "I'm fine, my partner, he's the one who really needs care right now," she stated, pointing to Booth with her chin.

The nurse breathed deeply. This woman is losing her mind, she thought. Then, the faint beep from the monitor made her frowned. Turning toward Booth, her eyes widened. Her next words stuck in her throat. On the monitor, the flat line she expected to see was waving slowly at the rhythm of the beeps.

"That's...that's..." she repeated before casting a stunned look to Brennan.

"I told you, he wouldn't give up," said confidently Brennan.

"Mary, holy mother of god," swore the nurse.

Grabbing the call button, she pressed on it and started to check Booth's vitals.

Few seconds later, two other nurses rushed in the room.

"Why did you call us, Maria?" asked a small brunette with round glasses.

"Call the doctor!" cut Maria, "his patient is alive!"

The brunette stared at her puzzled, but quickly recomposed herself and ran outside to get the doctor.

Then, she lifted his bandaged wrist, checking the IV line "He's cold," she stated to the other nurse who was staring at her from the door, "bring the heated blanket!" she ordered.

Brennan watched, leaning her tired body on the back of the chair as doctors and nurses came in and out of the room, pleased that they were finally taking care of Booth. Though she couldn't resist and reach for his hand, oblivious of the buzzing people around them.

One doctor noticed her and ordered to the nurses to drive her out of the room.

"I'm not leaving," she said, looking straight at him.

She tightened her grip on his hand. She wouldn't abandon him.

"You thought he was dead!" she admonished, "You had given up on him a long time ago! So now you're not going to separate us when he needs me the most, no way!" she snapped.

The doctor frowned, "But mam..." he started.

"I'm here and I won't leave without him, deal with it!" she cut, staring at the doctor, her daunting eyes threatening him to dare say otherwise.

Finally, swallowing his words, the doctor nodded. His priority was after all his patient's life. He couldn't stop her to be here if she wanted to. She was too stubborn for that, as he had already got the time to meet her stubborn side.

He nodded to the nurse to let her do as she wished.

Cuddling his cold hand in hers, Brennan leant close to his face as the nurses covered his bare chest with a heated blanket.

"I need you Booth," she whispered to his ear.

ooooooo

The golden sand was all that was left in his arms. As he looked down, the small golden grains seeped from his fingers like waterfalls. She was gone, and with her, the only reason he had to go on. He sighed. It was better for both of them anyway. Now she wouldn't be hurt. Now that thing could do anything, he just didn't care anymore.

Alone in the center of this sand valley, Booth scanned the blue sky over him. Frankly, he had no clue how to get out of here. He didn't even know if he knew enough about himself to escape this nightmare.

He wished he could feel her presence. Brennan had that amazing ability to sooth him, and somehow he wished selfishly she hadn't listened to him and had stayed.

A small breeze lifted a yellow dust cloud in his direction, cooling his body by the same way. He sighed, sweat had stung his shirt to his skin, so he welcomed the wind with delight.

"Now you're all alone," scorned the thing.

Booth looked down, "I wish I were," he snapped, "but it seems you don't want to leave."

The wind grew stronger, blowing a cloud of dust on the top of the hill. As the cloud disappeared, Booth noticed the form that emerged from, it was more alike a human.

The form walked slowly toward him.

"How could I ever leave you son?" spoke the man in front of Booth.

Booth froze, as the breeze wiped away the last dust cloud that covered the man's face.

ooooooo

The room was desert now. All the hospitals staff had left five minutes ago. Brennan was now the only one left in his room. She had managed to warm his hand between hers when it happened. At first she took it like a good thing, but now she was beginning to be scared.

Something's wrong, she thought.

His heartbeats had grown stronger, and she had thought he was regaining consciousness. But few minutes after this increase, it was way too high to be a good sign. And by the time the nurse she had called arrived, his heart was around one thirty.

"He's gonna crash!" yelled the doctor that had followed the nurse.

Brennan closed her eyes. It has begun, she thought.

ooooooo

Booth couldn't believe it. Before him stood a man in his mid fifties. Grey hair around the temples, the man shot a brown stare straight to Booth.

"What's the matter son? You don't recognize your old man?" scolded the man.

"This isn't real!" said Booth,"you're not my dad!"

"And how's that son? So you do remember me after all!"

Booth's breathing increased. He was right! Part of his memories had recognized him as his dad, though it couldn't be him!

"I don't know you... you're this thing,... this ugly creature that tried to kill my partner!"

"I'm not an ugly creature son, look at me!" the man raised his arms to the sky, "look!"

"Yes, you are and stopped calling me like that!" snapped Booth, "you're not him!"

"I'm his spirit!" retorted the man, winking.

"That's not true! And why would you appeared as this creature if you were my dad?" questioned Booth with defiance.

"Because you made me this way, son!" stated the man.

"What?" Booth shot a stunned look to the man, "Why would I imagine such a thing?"

The man sighed.

"What do you think could come from a tortured and murderer mind like yours, son?" whispered evilly the man.

The words hit Booth right in the chest like a blade.

"That's..." he breathed loudly, "that's not true," he whispered, his sight wandering on the hills behind the man.

"Oh no son. Deep down in your heart you know I'm right!" the man waited for the words to sink, "Don't try to deny it! It's just gonna make it hurt more!" the man stepped toward Booth with an open hand, "let me help you!"

"I'm not a murderer," voiced Booth. Beads of sweat rolled down from his temples.

He pressed one hand in the center of his chest, massaging it, and tried to sooth the small throbbing pain that had started few minutes ago.

"If you're not a murderer, tell me who they are?" scorned the man claiming to be his dad.

He waved a hand to his right. Then, appearing from nowhere, five people materialized near the man. Three of them were wearing uniforms, another was dressed in black suit as for the last one, afghan fabric wrapped his body.

"Tell them, you are not their Nemesis?" snapped the man.

Booth face's turned pale as he recognized each of them. Faces that were once targets.

"Tell them, you're not the one that blew their brain with one bullet!" said the man raising an angry tone.

Booth swallowed hard. His throat was dry and the pain in his chest worsened to the point it made him trembled. In addition to this, his breathing was still shallow and didn't help him to keep a clear head.

"Tell them that you're not the one that killed them in front of their child!" was now screaming the man.

He pointed to the man in black suit.

"It was his son's birthday party for God's sake!" yelled the man.

"I..." began Booth, but his voice was stuck in his throat. He felt hot tears wetting his eyes.

"I'm sorry..." he mumbled, "It was my job..." he said his voice trailing off.

"Your job?" yelled the man, "How could you kill him like that?" questioned the man, with unconcealed disgust in the voice.

Then he struck harder, "You're a killer!" he said dropping a bomb he knew would hurt Booth. "You did this," he said, pointing at the ghosts at his sides. "a butcher, a murderer..." he added coldly, "that's what you are!"

Each word stabbed Booth deep in his soul. He had done this for his country, to protect people, and he had always accepted that burden. But he had never thought he could be compared to a cold blooded killer.

"You're not my dad," he said almost whimpering.

The words had hurt him harder than he thought, and he was now having a hard time to keep his mind focused on his main goal, find a way out.

"Whatever you think of me son, it doesn't change the facts... You are a killer!" said the man, emphasizing each word, "and nothing, nor you or me will change that!" he stated in a final strike.

Then, he couldn't bear it anymore. The pain in his chest exploded and Booth dropped to one knee, panting heavily. His pounding headache burst behind his eyes hurting like hell. In a futile act, he pressed his hands on his ears to stop the words.

"I'm not like that," he mumbled more to himself, "I'm more...I have a son..." he breathed out deeply, calming the beating that thumped in his chest. "His name is..." he fought to remember increasing the pain thumping inside his skull, "his name is..."a crease appeared on his forehead as the name escaped his memory.

" Tsss... tsss..." said the man pretending to be his father, "you see, nobody 's gonna miss you! You have nothing! You are nothing!" hammered the man, stressing the words, "so why don't you let go that miserable life of yours and let me help you, son!" proposed the man, an evil stare curving his face.

"Surrender to me, and I'll help you to become a better caring man and father!" the man hissed, a dark shadow crossed his eyes as if he had been waiting for this moment all his life.

Father... the word echoed in Booth's mind, like a blow. I am a father, so it's true! He felt like a veil had been lifted from his mind. Bones was right! A faint smile spread on his lips. He opened his eyes staring at the man pretending to be his dad. But how does he know that when I can't remember? Wondered Booth.

Remember Booth, Brennan's words echoed in the back of his mind, don't believe him!

Still panting, his hands dropped into the sand. The small grains were warm and dry on his skin. Easing his breathing, he closed his hands into fists. He would not let this thing drive him crazy.

"I know what you're doing," he breathed out, "sorry... But you won't win!" he said smirking between shallow breaths, "I may not know... everything... about myself, but I...I... don't need you for that!"

"I could help you son, why are you rejecting me?" said the man, looking like he was hurt, "you know I have always loved you...I just want to help!"

"I don't think so!" cut Booth.

His head still throbbing, he stood shakily on his legs. He fought to stay up while few seconds before glaring at the man.

"Get out of my mind!" he added, on a commanding tone.

His brown stare darted to the man who pretended to be his dad. As he yelled, the man before him changed into an ugly thing. The creature raised her arms in his direction, a dark smile carved in her face. Her grey bluish skin glistened under the sun.

"Son," she hissed, "come and kiss me," scolded the creature, giggling as she waved her arms to hug him.

Booth stepped back, avoiding the creepy embrace.

"What are you?" he dropped.

The creature sighed, "ah, you spoil all the fun!"

Booth bit his lips waiting.

"I really want to help you," she croaked holding her arms before her.

"Stop that mad game!" cut sharply Booth, "I'm not gonna fall for your arguments, so why don't you save your saliva and get the hell out of here!"

Slowly, the creature dropped her arms and let them hung loosely to her side. A wicked smile spread on her face.

"Too bad," scolded the creature, "I would have enjoyed to devour you willingly."

Booth stepped back, putting a distance between him and the rotting thing in front of him.

The creature crouched slowly to her knees, not leaving his stare.

"Now, look what you've done, I'm gonna have to degrade my meal!" she said, as she jumped on him.

Taken aback, Booth only had the time to tense his muscles before the shock. The force made him fall backwards. He rolled in the sand, the creature tangled up with him.

Her high pitched screams pierced his eardrums. As they stopped, his back on the ground and the creature in top of him, the sun cast its light straight to his eyes. Squinting, he distinguished her hand heading to his face. His head turned to the opposite side. Avoiding her strike, he felt the whoosh of sharp nails stabbing the sand near his left ear.

The creature cursed.

ooooooo

"He's crashing!" yelled the doctor.

The nurses rushed toward Booth. In a quick move, they pulled the heated blanket in a whoosh, revealing his bare chest.

"Prepared for shock!" yelled the same doctor.

The nurse applied gel on the pad, and he rubbed them together. His eyes were glued to the monitor, ready to shock him as soon as his heart would stop.

His heartbeat was getting dangerously too high.

Standing near his side, Brennan watched with anxiety as the beep approached dangerously one sixty seven.

"Hold on, Booth!" she said, "You're strong! Don't let it beat you!"

ooooooo

He brought his legs to his chest. Then, in a sudden outburst, he threw them at the creature. She jolted backwards.

"Give up," said unctuously the creature as she stood up, "you have nothing to stand up for!"

"You're wrong, I have her!" answered Booth, panting.

The weight on his chest increased, giving him a hard time to breath.

"She abandoned you," she snarled, "you have only been a burden for her!"

Booth breathed deeply, trying to focus his mind on Brennan. She was the only person he really remembered as the others were too fuzzy in his mind. She trusted him. He wouldn't give up on her, whatever that thing would say.

"I asked her to leave!" he retorted in a small breath.

Maybe, he thought, talking will give him sometimes to find a plan and escape this nightmare. His hands sank in the sand, supporting his weight. He straightened up facing his enemy. But a strong stench invaded his lungs making his stomach heaved.

"Now you're really showing yourself," he smirked faintly, speaking about the smell.

The creature growled before flying toward him. But this time Booth was prepared and skipped easily aside to avoid her dangerous blades. Seeing his victim trying to escape the creature extended her arms to reach him. Her nails cut through the fabric of his shirt and ripped the flesh underneath.

"It's only a beginning!" the creature hissed.

The black void of her eyes sent shivers into his muscles. Pressing his right arm against his chest, he stared at the thing that had tried to mislead him.

"I'm not as weak as you may think," yelled Booth.

He glanced at his stomach, blood was staining slowly his white shirt in three crimson lines. Beads of sweat ran from his temples and to the line of his jawbone. He didn't have a lot of time, he thought.

"This is a fg nightmare!" he cursed, his voice trembling from the shooting pain coming from his chest and stomach, "You don't exist!"

A long growl escaped from the creature as she straightened her neck to the sky.

"I am as real as you can be in this..." she scorned.

"No you're not!" he spat, "you're here because I let you live."

He took a deep breath, "but I'm gonna change that!"

His dark brown eyes shot a threatening stare at the creature.

"Now, you are going to leave this place!" ordered Booth as he stared straight at his enemy.

"You can't defeat me!" cut sharply the creature, "I will always be!"

"Be what?" smirked Booth, "a lost pain in the ass!" he coughed, and bent, his arm pressing on his wound.

Anger crossed the creature's face. She charged him.

Still holding his ribs, Booth glanced at the creature running toward him. He sighed and closed his eyes. It was time that he trusts himself. He let her coming. He heard her breathing in and out harshly as her pace increased.

Then, the creature jumped and hit an invisible barrier with all of her strength. She stayed suspended into the air for a moment before she slid slowly to the ground, looking a little groggy.

"Told you, it's over!" added Booth.

The creature growled before raising on her greyish and skinny legs.

"You've only delayed your end!" she snarled, revealing a row of sharp black teeth.

Standing in all her height, the creature glared at Booth.

"Your defense is nothing compared to my powers. The strength I got is from all the lives I devoured," the creature giggled, "and soon, you'll be part of them, it's only a matter of time before your mind weakened again, and then my claws will close on you!"

Booth smiled weakly, and shot a cocky glare to the creature.

"If I had surrendered to those who said the same things, I'd be long gone by now."

He sucked in a shallow breath as he squeezed his chest. Holding back the shooting pain that spread in his muscles, he stared at the creature.

"I can't afford to lose," he hissed, "... She's waiting for me."

"She's not!" replied scornfully the creature.

Breathing was becoming very difficult now for Booth and unfortunately, each breath was costing him strength he couldn't afford to lose.

But his enemy counted on it, and so the creature started to jump again and again, crashing every time on his barrier like a bug on a windshield. These tests weakened him. By the time the creature caught a glitch in his barrier, Booth was panting hard, hands on his knees to support him.

"Your defense weakens," noticed gleefully the creature.

An evil smile curved her mouth. A dark blue tongue licked her cracked bluish lips, showing her sharp teeth before she headed back toward her prey.

This time the blow shook the barrier. Sparkles flew into the air, and Booth had to calm his breath to maintain his protection and drain the shooting pain from his bones.

Damn, he cursed, I'm not gonna hold indefinitely.

"No you're not," answered the creature as if she could read his mind, "let's see what you would do with that."

On this word, her left hand pointed to the top of the hill. Rolling thunder followed her words. The ground trembled in pain. The tremors invaded Booth, and he stumbled trying to keep his stance. With horror, he saw the top of the hills collapsed. A flow of sand slid the long of the hills and toward him.

Looking down, he focused his mind on his barrier. Sweats dripped from his forehead to the ground. The effort was tremendous to rebuild them at full capacity, and he hoped he would have enpugh strength to do it. The rushing flow of sand was close now. He shut his eyes as he inhaled deeply. He was going to need it.

An awful bang echoed when the sand collided with his barrier. He panted heavily as the sand pushed hardly on the walls.

His mind focused on the barrier, he didn't see the creature soaring from the ground behind him a dark grin on her face. Her trap working.

Silently, his enemy raised from the ground. Her sharp claws ready, she aimed at his back and struck. Her claws sank into his flesh carving a large opening. Blood flooded from the opening wound.

Hot pain flashed from his back and tore him a scream. Booth sank to his knees, unable to breath.

The creature smiled, now he would be hers.

ooooooo

"Crashing!" voiced the doctor.

He pressed the cold metallic pads on Booth's chest.

"Charged!" answered a nurse behind him.

"Clear," he voiced.

The medical staff stepped back instantly. Without hesitation, he sent the jolt. Booth's body arched. Brennan witnessed helpless as his muscles tensed and went rigid as the electricity spread through his body. The tearing sound of the flat line, tightened her heart. This couldn't be real. He was so close, he couldn't abandon her now!

The second discharge sparkled into the room emptying her lungs at the same time.

"Okay, one more," yelled the doctor.

She stared at his ashen face, waiting for the electricity to fade and to be able to hold his hand again. No matter what, she thought, she would be there for him.

ooooooo

A crimson flow soaked his shredded shirt and dripped to the ground. The golden sand reddened as a small pool formed under him. He felt dizzy. The walls around him spun and became blurry as his vision grayed. He felt the cold fingers of the creature caressing his neck. A creepy feeling invaded him as he felt the bloody nails on his skin. It sent shivers along his spine.

"This is the end," whispered the beast into his ear.

The slimy and sticky fingers wrapped his throat and squeezed. One last breath escaped his lips before his lungs started to burn. His thought wandered to Brennan. The only person who had enough faith in him to come this long.

She's waiting, whispered his mind, she's waiting for you. The glimmer of her ocean eyes danced in his mind and gave him a new breath. He told her he would be fine, and yet he wasn't. If he wanted to see her, he couldn't let slumber overtake him.

"Come on Seeley," he thought trying to encourage himself, "you had tougher times! This is only a dream, and dream can be controlled! Focus on it!"

Gathering the few forces left in him, he opened his eyes.His stare was dark and glared dangerously at the creature. It was his last chance.

"Get off me!" he yelled with all his strength.

A sparkle blew out the creature and tossed her ten feet from him, behind the barrier. She stared at Booth with awe, a new feeling glistening in her eyes, fear. No human had ever thrown her with so less efforts. Her sight lasted on him, thinking. It couldn't be that strong.

She shook her head. It didn't matter. Even if this human had found the strength to get rid of her, this last effort had probably exhausted him. His laborious breathing confirmed it. It was time to dispose of him, she thought.

She gathered all her powers, an evil smile curving her lips. She had kept some energy as she had never imagined he would be worth to use it. But now she would unleash everything she had. Even her, with all her magic taken from thousands souls couldn't stay in a body for too long if she didn't control it. The limbo already started to pull her spirit from him. She increased the force behind the walls. He shouldn't be able to hold for much longer.

Booth panted, his rasping breath echoed in his ears. Dark spots stained his vision as life was slowly leaking out of his body. His last effort had freed him from his enemy, but at what cost?

He had been drained from his reserve and was now fighting to stay conscious. As a result, keeping the energy level in his barrier wasn't going to be easy.

You're in a dream, it can't kill you, he tried to convince himself. Hell, the pain was real, and he couldn't deny it.

His knees deep in the sand, he assisted powerless as the creature which had climbed to the top of the hill, launched her last attack against him. The barrier maintaining the walls of sand quickly reached its critical point. The pressure was too much.

Dust slipped from the top and fell on his face, clouding his vision. He coughed, spitting the sandy grains out of his mouth.

Then he heard it. A scream tearing the sky. His barrier was breaking in a loud crack. The terrible sound echoed in his ears just before he witnessed the walls collapsing on him. Then, the light disappeared. Tons of dirt crushed him. His body was tossed in the falling dirt. He rolled with the flow and stopped abruptly. The sand's weight emptied his lungs in one second. Disoriented and out of breath, he felt like a truck was on his chest and everything went dark.

The sand had completely submerged him. The lack of air and the hot pain coursing inside his body was all that was left. As he tried to dig himself out vainly, a small ray of light appeared over him. He thought he was dreaming. Out of breath and his vision darkening, in a last effort he extended his hand reaching out for the light over him.

Brennan almost jumped when cold fingers grabbed her wrist.

"Wait!" voiced one nurse, "he's back!" she added, pointing the waving line on the monitor.

A steady line waved sluggishly on the screen. The doctor set the pad on its bases and sighed. His job was done, the patient would live, he thought, well assuming his brain hadn't suffered from the lack of oxygen.

"Booth!" Brennan let out, staring at the hand strongly clenched at her wrist.

She brought his hand to her mouth and kissed it gently.

"Stay with me," she whispered as she leant over him.

The light increased, blinding him. Why everything was so white and shiny? He complained. It was too bright to see anything. He squinted though there was nothing more than this white shiny light.

He was floating lightly inside the light. Then he realized he felt nothing. The pain in his back had suddenly vanished as soon as he had headed to the light. His pounding headache and the lingering pain in his chest were gone too, in fact he felt no pain at all.

Where am I? Someone's there? He asked aloud. The sound of his voice disappeared, muffled by the glacial place. Am I dead? Is this paradise?

Then, a voice echoed softly.

"Stay..."

He looked around him, seeking where the voice was coming from, but everything was white and bright.

"What?" he shot back.

"... with me..." whispered the voice.

"Who..." he began, but stopped immediately recognizing the voice. His heart jumped in his chest. She's there somewhere, he thought. She hadn't forgotten me!

"Bones," he called.

The name echoed in the white void. He waited anxious to hear her voice. But only the silence answered him. Dream, he thought his hope melting, I'm just dreaming. A heavy sadness wrapped him. He had failed and he was dead.

But suddenly, he felt being pulled upwards. The light became brighter and he had to close his eyes as it started to burn.

"Stay..." echoed again the same voice.

"Bones..." he answered suddenly feeling very tired.

He tried to raise but couldn't. Heavy weight was pinning him to the ground he was discovering now. His body ached everywhere. His arms and legs were heavy and numb, and it became almost impossible for him to move without sending awful jolts of pain through his entire body. A deafening sound hammered in his head. But the worst was the cold, terrible cold in his limbs and chest making his breathing the worst experience ever. With each breath, freezing air filled his lungs sending shivers all over his body.

"I can't see you!" he muttered, "Where are you?" his voice trailed off.

"I'm here Booth," the voice whispered softly.

"Bones..." his tongue felt sluggish. Is it death? He asked to himself. He tried to take a deep breath but his lungs were paralyzed by the cold, and he ended up coughing and shivering. Then, the pressure on his chest faded, slowly replaced by a gentle warmth.

He listened to his heart beating fast in his ears. The pain was everywhere now. Then, a soft heat warmed his right cheek. The heat moved slowly to his temple and danced for sometimes in his hair. The thumping of his heart began to slow down and slowly his breathing matched the same rhythm.

Someone whispered to his ear, "welcome back..."

Then, something wet dropped to his cheek before he slumbered into the darkness.

ooooooo

She smiled gazing at his pale features. The sun shone on his ashen skin. Of course he didn't look good. He hadn't been able to open his eyes and look at her. But he spoke, and his words were the first she had heard in a long time. Softly, she caressed his cheek again. His cold skin sent shivers in her body and a knot formed in her throat. Breathing wasn't easy since she had come back from the dream. But she tried to breath deeply, as she stroked unconsciously his hand. She hoped maybe he would match her slow breathing and regain the world of the living faster this way. But since she had started it nothing had happened. It was five hours ago, and now the sun was high in the sky.

The doctor and nurses had left few minutes after his first words. And again, Booth was hooked up to a lot of monitors. Too many wires plunged under his skin that it was difficult to see a part of his skin free of any IV.

She sighed. At least he was alive. The knot in her gut twisted. Two hours ago, his doctor had come to check on him. Stirring in her chair after drowsing, Brennan had jumped on the occasion to talk to him. She needed to know if he was going to be okay. But the answer hadn't been the one she expected.

The doctor had first plunged his blue eyes in hers, admitting he had done some mistakes with Booth, and he should have listened to her. That way, he had added, Booth wouldn't have had to face these new complications. What kind of complications she had asked eagerly, her heart sinking in new darkness.

The doctor had then cleared his throat, and had started to explain how many shocks his body had survived to, weakening his organs. And to that, he had said, he had been in a coma with little oxygen brought to his brain. As the doctor had explained the situation, Brennan had felt the ground slowly swallowing her. He's not telling me that, she had thought. With a small voice, she had asked if he would have any sequel. With the time, had answered the doctor, we will see.

Time! The word echoed painfully in her mind. Why did everything have to be a matter of time?

Her stare slid on his form hidden under several layers of blankets.

Hope! She thought. It was the other word struggling inside her mind since that conversation. Booth would have told her that hoping for the best was better than coldly calculate his odds to have a damaged brain. And so, she had shut the door on the rational part of her mind who wanted to estimate his odds, and had let his emotional side lead her.

She let out a deep breath as her head rested on his hand snuggled between her fingers. The only thing she could do was wait now.

ooooooo

He couldn't move. Paralyzed inside more darkness, he wondered if this time he was dead or in another hellish nightmare. He was sick of all these silly games and didn't know if he could survive to another round.

A low buzzing of voices echoed to his right. The words weren't clear but he could distinguish more than two different voices. One was imperative, giving orders to the other that squealed lightly to answer. But between the maelstrom of rustling voices one was different, softer than the others, and slowly whispering his names.

He tried to answer but his mouth was sluggish, and he only managed to mumble her name. Actually, she was the only thing he could really focus on right now. His mind was too cloudy to think straight anyway.

Something squeezed slightly his hand. He tried to squeeze back but his fingers refused to move, and he let out a sigh of frustration. If someone was there, he had probably heard his sigh as a warm hand began to caress his forehead. Sluggishly, he tried to see who it was. His eyelids were heavy like lead, and it took him all his strength and several minutes before he finally managed to crack one eye open.

A splash of light assaulted his eye sending jolts of pain inside his head. He moaned, dropping his eyelid and shutting the unwelcomed light out of his brain.

"it's okay, Booth, take your time," whispered the voice.

A loud pounding beat beneath his skull. He tried to bring his hand to rub the shooting spot near his temple. Unfortunately, his hand was strapped by something and the slight move brought only more pain into his shoulder. Hopeless, his hand dropped back on a soft fabric. A painful groan escaped his lips. It was like this small move had woked up all the aching spots in his body.

" Shhh," the voice whispered, "don't try to move."

Soft lips dropped a kiss on his forehead.

He was so exhausted, he didn't feel the shaking fingers running in his hair.

She left his cold cheek to look at the doctor. She gave him a silent nod with her eyes. The doctor pressed on a button, and a clear liquid dripped into his IV. Soon, he would be sleeping, she thought, stroking delicately his hair. Soon the pain he was enduring will go away. She leant her head against his shoulder, careful not to awake more painful spot.

The doctor sneaked out silently. In the last couple of days, he had learnt not to get between those two. Beside, his patient seemed to get better when she was around. He closed the door quietly. Time to let them both rest, he thought.

ooooooo

The flowers she had in hand perfumed the corridor as she made her way to his room. She glanced at her partner to her side. He was making a tired face. But as soon as he caught her looking at him, a faint smile crept on his face. He grabbed her hand and squeezed it.

"I'm sure they're fine," he said.

"If they were, she would have called!" she snapped back.

She bit her lower lip as soon as the words came out.

"Sorry Jack," she apologized, "but you know what I meant!"

"I know," he sighed, "maybe she had no more news Ange!"

"It's been two days! And we haven't seen her once!"

"yes, but she called," he added, grinning.

"Perhaps," Angela seemed to calm a bit.

"I need to see her, and that she's not lying to me! I don't want her to lose herself if he's not recovering well."

"Maybe, but that's not for you to decide it!" her companion added softly.

"She's my best friend, Jack!" she said raising her voice.

People around them shot them concerned looks. She kept walking ignoring the stares.

"Yes she is," he said, softening his tone, "but right now she needs him as much as he's going to need her, " he lowered his voice, "I'm sorry baby."

She stopped, looking at his blue eyes. She breathed deeply.

"I'm worry about him too, he's my friend," she admitted.

"I know, he's mine too. I'm just saying that right now, they might need to be alone. As you said before, Ange, they know we're here for them. So we should wait until she's ready to tell you more."

She thought for a minute, staring at the flowerpot she was holding. A giant yellow duck sat in the middle holding a get well card in his plastic beak. A faint smile curved her lips. The duck was Jack's idea.

"Okay," she said finally as she resumed her pace, "we'll just drop this!".

Jack followed her silently. Few minutes later, they arrived in front of a white door.

Angela gulped, remembering the last time she had stood in front of a door like that. The next thing she had discovered when they had opened the door was a pool of blood and Booth limp in the middle. A warm hand patted her shoulder. She glanced at her boyfriend.

"We go in and we go out, remember," he said softly.

She nodded. Hodgins knocked on the door.

No answer. Both exchanged concerned looks.

One more time he knocked and waited for an answer.

"Jack?" frowned Angela.

A small line of worry appeared on his forehead.

"Just a moment, "he said, opening the door.

He sneaked his head inside. It took the longest minute Angela had ever experienced to turn and look at her.

"They're fine," he said to his worried girlfriend.

"Let me see," she ordered, tossing the flowerpot in his arms.

She took a deep breath before opening the door and sneaked her head in.

The nice and steady beep of a cardiac monitor echoed. The room was dim though thanks to the monitors' green lights she could see them in the middle of the place. A lot of wires were plugged inside Booth's arms and torso. Her stomach twisted inside as she noticed his pale features. But a small grin curved her lips when she noted the small form snuggled to his side. Auburn curls of hair hung loosely from the bed as she nestled her face deeper in his shoulder.

Angela smiled before closing the door. Her wet eyes met the tender gaze of her boyfriend.

"Let's drop this at the nurse's desk," she said, managing to keep her small sobs inside her throat.

Holding the flowers in one hand, he wrapped her shoulders with his free arm.

"Yes," he whispered softly, as they headed to the exit.

ooooooo

A small breeze brushed her face. She opened her eyes hoping it was him. But the smile faded when she spotted the nurse placing a new bag for his IV.

"Hey," said an old nurse, "good morning honey."

Brennan rubbed her eyes mechanically.

"Any change?" she asked.

The nurse shook her head negatively, "I'm sorry, I waked you."

"It's okay," answered Brennan with a croaked voice.

The nurse gave her a sympathetic smile.

"I brought a tray for you, in case you're hungry," added the nurse, pointing to the night stand.

"Thanks," Brennan replied .

She smiled back at the nurse when she closed the door.

Careful not to mess with Booth's wires, she slowly jumped out of his bed and walked to the chair next to his him. Sitting in the well known chair, she gazed at his tired face. The refreshing smell of coffee invaded the room like a reminder of the passing time.

Her eyes slid on his form before stopping on his raising chest. It had been three days since he spoke. Since then, he hadn't opened his eyes. Tough she didn't count the time he hardly tried to. She breathed deeply. The pain killers had made him sleep as soon as the doctor had filled his IV.

She let out a deep sigh. Sometimes in the night, he would mumble unintelligible things and would become very agitated. Once she had to call the nurse to keep him from pulling his lines in his dream. To help, he was now running a light fever, and she was really beginning to worry.

Yesterday, Rebecca had brought Parker. The little boy had stayed in his father's arms as long as he could before his mother had decided it was time for them to go home.

He had torn her heart to see the small face reddened under the flow of tears each time the small boy had tried to wake up his dad and failed. As Rebecca had left to get something to eat for Parker, Brennan had stepped near the boy.

Blond strands of hair had fallen to his red cheek as small brown eyes had connected with hers. Smiling, she had slid the rebel strand behind his ear before the small face buried into her shoulder. She swallowed remembering the silent sobs of the boy in her arms. His pain was still echoing in her mind reflecting her own fear.

At the end of the day, Booth's doctor had come with the results of new tests he had ordered. After the last time, he wasn't ready to make the same mistake twice. That's when she had learnt some of his organs weren't working at their full capacity. The news wasn't good. She had slowly left herself dropped into the chair and had stared at Booth's still form, her mouth closed. But the doctor had come to know her and he gave her a confident look. To him, it was only a matter of time before they were fully operational. His theory was that the powerful paralytic from the puffer fish had put them 'at sleep' as he had told her. Then, as soon as the nasty poison would be drained of his system, his organs should be able to work fine. But for the moment, he explained, it was better to keep him hooked to the necessary machines. She had nodded slowly acknowledging his words. Tired, she had layn against him as soon as the doctor had left the room.

And so she was back to wait. She stood up and went to the window. Pulling the blinds up, she let the sun bathed the room. The lingering smell of coffee mixed with pastries made her stomach growled. She was hungry but didn't feel incline to eat. Actually, she didn't remember the last time she had really eaten. The first rays of dawn lit the roofs, and she lost her stare between the colorful tiles. She felt suddenly very lonely. Words from an old song crooned in her head. She surprised herself when the words escaped her lips and she sang.

"And I've been drinkin now... Just a little too much..." her throat tightened as the words flooded her mind, "and I don't know how... I can get in touch with you..." she sniffed, silent tears appeared in the corner of her eyes, "Now there'sonly one thing for me to do,..." she struggled on the words, "That's to keep on tryin'..." her voice trailed off, sobbing.

She leant her forehead against the window. The cold blinds soothed her burning forehead. Small tears rolled down her cheeks.

"To get...home... to you..." breathed out a small hoarse voice behind her.

Her heart speeded in her chest. She swallowed her sobs as she turned to the voice.

"Booth?" she called, her voice raising with hope.

Silence filled again the room. She stepped eagerly toward his bed. She hadn't imagined those words. It had to be real. Her heartbeat increased.

"Booth?"

She stared at his pale face waiting for an answer. His features remained still. Gently, she nestled her fingers in his hand and gave him a slight squeeze.

Several minutes passed and nothing happened. She was about to sadly sit back in her chair when she felt it. A very slight pressure around her fingers. If she hadn't expected it, she wouldn't have noticed it. With her heart beating faster than ever, she let the words danced on her lips.

"To keep on tryin'..." she song.

Her deep blue eyes staring at her partner, she waited anxiously. Then it was, faint and weak, but she saw it.

His lips moved slightly.

"To get..." he took a long pause, then with effort he muttered, "...home... to you..." his voice faded in a small exhale.

A wide smile spread from ear to ear on her face.

"I'm here Booth," she lulled him, "I'm here..."

Her hand stroked softly his cheek.

"You're going to be just fine..."

A small tear rolled down her cheek. None of them would ever be alone now.

"You can rest Booth," she said softly.

She wanted to talk to him and see his brown eyes opening on her. However, she knew the effort it had cost him just to speak few words. It was better to wait. Next time, she smiled thinking, he would be able to look at her. Tired, she leant her head next to his hand that she had carefully nestled between her hands and welcomed the darkness.

The sun had already yielded the sky to the stars when she felt a slight squeeze around her fingers. Holding her breath, she stared at the white features lay on a smooth pillow. To Brennan, It was like the world had frozen around her. Every move was in slow motion. The line on the monitor seemed to wave slowly, and went up while several seconds before it slowly went down. Her eyelids shut, she took a slow deep breath and opened them again. He was still in the bed. His chest raising lightly in rhythm of his heartbeat.

It's a matter of time, echoed the doctor's words in her head. She sighed, at least today he had spoken, well sang, but it was a step forward she convinced herself. She glanced at the window where the stars glowed in the dark sky. When she looked down at her partner it was to meet two dark brown eyes staring at her.

"Hey!" she whispered, giving him a tired smile.

He seemed to think, his eyes glued to the ocean of her eyes.

"You...okay?..." he muttered, his voice hoarse.

His throat was dry, and speaking was taking him a lot of strength, but he wanted to be sure she would be okay.

This time she gave him a wide smile. It was so typical of him, she thought. He was the one in the hospital bed and yet he asked her if she was fine. But then, she thought about this emptiness she had felt these last couple days, waiting to know if he was going to be okay. Waiting to know if she would be alone again. She connected into his deep brown stare.

"Yes, I'm now!" she said, knowing perfectly what her words could imply. But she had decided it was time to let her heart be truthful.

His deep gaze penetrated her stare, checking if she was okay. Slowly, he opened his arms and smiled weakly.

"If you're okay then,..." he paused breathing slowly "...I could use a 'guy hug'," he said, taking a pleading smile.

She smiled and leant over him. Careful not to hurt him, she squeezed lightly her arms against him while he wrapped his arms around her and pressed her against him. As her hands pressed slightly his ribs, her finger met the rough fabric of the dressing covering his chest. The bandage was tight around his ribs. She then realized how close she had been to lose him. That thought broke a wall inside her. A small hole opened in the dam made of rationality, and she let flood her emotions. Tears started to soak her eyes as she couldn't stop her cries. She didn't want that he notice her pain, he was too exhausted to help her right now. Quietly, she swallowed her silent tears, and buried her face into his good shoulder.

Her frail body hugged him lightly. He smiled at the care she took with him as if he was a rare and fragile artefacts from her lab. He breathed deeply, letting her scent invaded his senses. He had missed her. He had missed her perfume. And he had missed her smile. He knew she needed that hug as much as him, and so he wasn't surprised when he felt her small tremors in his arms. Silent sobs coursed through her body.

He stroked gently her back.

"I'm sorry," he whispered into her ear, "It's my fault, I should have been more careful."

Her sobs increased.

"Don't be silly!" she muffled under his chin, swallowing small sobs, "None of us could have seen this coming! Parvati had meant to hurt us and he did!"

"I'm here now," he whispered quietly, stroking softly her cheeks.

"Yes you do," she stated in a small breath.

She slowly broke their embrace. Her blue crystal eyes connected with his.

"Are you hungry?" she asked.

"I'm starving," he replied, sending one of his charming smile.

"Let me find a nurse," she said, as she excused herself and headed for the nurse's desk.

Resting his head deeply in the pillow, his gaze wandered to the ceiling. The white square reflected the small dim light from the monitor, casting shadows around his bed. A shiver ran through his spine as a dreadful image appeared before him. Beeps increased next to him. He held his breath staring at the thing that crawled slowly toward him.

Fear invaded his mind. He tried to sit but was too weak for that. Not good, he thought gulping.

ooooooo

The nurses had been really kind, thought Brennan. As soon as they spotted her, they had placed a tray of food on their desk so she didn't have to go to the cafeteria. They gave her a complicit smile pointing at the tray. Brennan grabbed the tray and smiled back when she noticed the puddings. She had once told to a nurse, that Booth's favorite food was pudding. And they did remember.

She shot them a wide smile before heading back to his room. He was going to love it, she thought.

Walking, she couldn't suppress that smile from her face. It was weird she thought, always smiling. But the fact that he had finally waked up, and that he felt okay, were enough reasons for her to be happy. Even if she had to admit that his 'guy hug' had been really soothing. It's like he had known she needed one as much as he did. Of course he knows she thought, Booth always knows that kind of thing.

She opened his door a wide smile spread on her face. It faded as soon as she spotted him. Lying on his bed, he was twisting and mumbling indistinct things. Quickly, she put the tray on the night stand and turned to him. A cold feeling sank inside her. His face was blank and covered of sweat. His eyes hollow were glued to the ceiling as if he was watching something.

"Not again," she cursed.

Gently, she grabbed his face between her hands and leant her forehead on his. She felt him trembling under her touch.

"Booth, you're dreaming...wake up..." she said, her voice shaking as well.

No, she thought, I'm not going to lose you again, "stay with me Booth! It's a dream!"

Then, a small glimmer appeared in the depth of his brown eyes as the knowledge of who she was sank into him. He felt two warm hands covering his temples and ears.

"Bones?" he croaked, blinking. A glistening sweat beaded his face, and drops of sweat rolled down to his damp brown hair.

"Yes, Booth, you had a nightmare," her hands was stroking slowly his cheeks, waiting for his rasping breath to calm down.

Smiling she stroked his forehead checking for a fever. He was hot but not that much after what he had just been through, she thought. She sighed. Her eyes connected with his unfocused stare. She blushed when his brown eyes stopped on her, realizing her face was only inches of his. She swallowed as silence filled the room, increasing her pounding heartbeat in her ears. Well, it wasn't the first time she was in this position, she thought, so she shouldn't feel awkward, and yet she felt her cheeks redden. True, but every time he had been unconscious, her rational mind added.

Not wanting to add her own confusion to his, she slowly straightened and stood beside his bed.

He breathed slowly, his eyes glued to her like an anchor, and she realized a part of him was still trying to wake up.

"Sorry, I worried you," he whispered tiredly, blinking as sweat bathing his brows dripped into his eyes.

She smiled, and wiped the sweat from his brows, caressing his face, "it's okay, we're partners right?"

He nodded slowly, his eyes beginning to apprehend his surroundings.

"Right," he repeated with a voice hoarse and his eyes locked into hers.

Then, turning his sight to the night stand, he spotted the tray. A question appeared on his face.

"I brought you something if you're up to," she answered pointing to the tray.

"I am," he drawled.

"Okay," she looked around his bed then spotted what she was looking for.

She pressed on a small button and the head of his bed started to raise slowly. When she judged he was sitting in a position that couldn't hurt him and could allow him to eat, she stopped. She placed the tray on a rolling table and set it in front of him.

Booth's eyes widened when he spotted the puddings.

"Thanks!" he told her shooting her a half smile.

"Not me," she said, "I told once you liked pudding to the nurses, and this tray was waiting for me when I arrived."

"Thanks anyway, Bones... for everything," he said, his voice becoming stronger.

His gaze lasted in her deep blue ocean sight.

"You're welcome," she whispered, unable to look outside his dark overwhelming stare.

He smiled his hand reaching for a pudding. He let out a low moan as he had pulled on a sore muscle.

"Let me help you," she said, grabbing the pudding and taking off the top.

She then handed him the pudding after placing a spoon in the middle of the dessert.

"Thanks," he grabbed it and plunged the spoon inside the creamy hill.

He swallowed a full spoon, and enjoyed the sensation of the cold cream descending his dry throat. He leaned his head against the pillow and closed his eyes for a second. When he opened them, he turned to Brennan.

"How long have I been out?" he asked, a small knot formed in the pit of his stomach.

"Four days," her eyes slid on his tired features watching his reaction.

Fear crossed his eyes. Four days! And he hadn't been there for her! Wincing he put back the pudding on the table thinking.

"Don't worry, we should be okay," she quickly added, seeing the worry in his eyes.

He turned to her, a crease appearing on his forehead, "What do you mean, Bones?"

"I call Fairfax county jail, it appears Benoit had an accident two days ago, he died last night at the infirmary..." just after I got you back, she added mentally. She took a long breath.

"And what kind of accident was that?" he asked frowning.

"It seems he slipped in the stairs."

"In the stairs?" he said with a high pitched voice.

"Yes," she added, "Why?"

"And he didn't die at the same time!" he said skeptic.

"No!" she frowned, puzzled of his behavior, "from what I've been told, they sent him to the infirmary. They said he wasn't in good shape, lots of bruises and broken ribs, and bones..."

"Yeah I bet, stairs do that sometimes," he smirked.

"What are you saying Booth?" she said, widening her eyes, "someone did that to him!"

He nodded slowly. A faint smile creased his face as truth sank in her mind, and he watched as slowly her frown left place to understanding and her face enlightened.

"Who would have..." her voice trailed off as she realized what Booth was thinking, "the guards! But why?"

"Come on Bones!" he stared at her, "the guy literally chopped the head off one of them, he dismembered their buddy, and like if it wasn't enough he peeled off his skin," he winced at the picture appearing in his mind, "and finally used him in a jumbo mumbo magic," he frowned.

"I don't think it happened in this order," she corrected.

" Geez, Bones!" He stared at her, rolling his eyes.

"Well, he was alive when he arrived at the infirmary," she said pouting, "and in fact, he didn't sustain real life threatening wounds..."

"And yet he died," he added.

"Yes, in fact, just after you came back," she muttered.

He looked at her, confused.

"Are you saying, we had some kind of link?"

"I don't know," she admitted, biting her lower lips.

He looked at her thinking. For Brennan to admit she had no clue was a big event. She always had a theory, unless... Then, he caught a shadow crossing the crystal of her eyes. ... Unless, she was afraid of something. He swallowed, thinking about the things she had done for him.

She had crossed a line with this case. She had experienced something he could say as unnatural, and totally irrational. Though, she wasn't a believer at all. Then, he decided to drop the teasing argument he had in mind. They would have plenty of time later. Now, she had to rest. He bet seeing her clothes and her pale skin she hadn't left his side since the med brought him. He sighed, she shouldn't have to live those things, he thought.

He looked straight at her but her sight was wandering in the room.

Thinking she bit her lips, and looked up at him. She wanted to ask him something but didn't know how to start. Then she decided it was best to just throw it.

"Why did you let me win the other night?"

The question took him aback. He frowned, seeking in her eyes the best way to answer.

"What night?" he said, feigning not to remember.

"Booth!" she exclaimed.

"Sorry I don't remember," he said, hoping she would buy it.

Frowning, she didn't repeat her question. If she was right, his answer didn't matter. After all, she had learned one important thing playing cards with her dad, and knowing Booth, it was rational to think he would behave the same way toward her. A small smile curved the corner of her lips.

"What?" he asked, catching the smile on her face.

"Nothing!" she answered quickly. A smile curved her lips as their eyes met, and she surprised herself when she blushed again. Come on, Temperance, she told to herself, what's going on with you?

Booth smiled as he noticed the red spots forming on her cheeks. Temperance Brennan, brilliant anthropologist blushing in my presence, he thought proudly. Then, his smile faded as he realized he was blushing too. She grinned seeing the same discomfort.

Long minutes passed as they tried not to laugh from each other, Brennan worrying to provoke a negative set back in his memory, and Booth fully aware of the flare of pain soaring from his broken ribs.

Becoming more serious, Booth swallowed, "and my aggressor?" he asked, eager to know if he had really taken the bastard with him.

She sighed, "he was dead before we could come to your help."

Tearing memories printed before her, blood spread everywhere, Booth unconscious in the middle of it, his doctor telling her he was dead. And her own helplessness to protect him. She closed her eyes, trying to stop the threatening tears.

Oh good job Booth! he told to himself. You upset her, why did you have to bring that up? He shifted in his bed. Cautious not to tear too much on his sore muscles, he reached out. She felt his soft hand under his chin. When she opened her eyes, he lifted slowly her head.

"Temperance, if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here," he said softly.

Her glistening blue eyes sent shivers in his body. Damn he had missed her so much, he thought.

She sniffed, staring at him, "but everything that happened to you is because of me and my stubbornness," she locked into his dark brown stare, "your nightmares... you almost died," she choked on the words, "everything happened because I messed with someone I shouldn't have!"

He leaned closer, tearing on some of his sore muscles. He hid a wince, he would pay that later, he thought sighing. His face now inches of her, he put on his best charming smile, "No, everything happened because you're a good woman Temperance, you help people, and that makes bad guys crazy." She shifted, and looked down. A strand of auburn hair slid to her face. Gently, his fingers put it back behind her ear and slid back to her chin. "So they hate you!" he added, keeping his eyes straight into hers, "Hey, you know you have such a personality that people either hate you or love you!" he teased with a grin.

She smirked, looking into his brown stare, "and you're in which categories."

Hiding a smile, he raised his eyes to the ceiling, "you know what I meant, Bones!"

She eyed him, thinking.

"Anyway," he dropped, "you proved you're stronger than them!" he winked at her.

She smiled back, more confident now. That's my girl, he thought, seeing the twinkling sparkle dancing in her eyes.

"You did pretty well too," she said.

"Thanks Bones!" he said, thinking she was too generous.

To him, it wasn't true, he had made mistakes after mistakes leading to jeopardize his partner's life. No glory in that.

He looked down, losing his sight between the creases of the blanket. In addition, she had to put herself in harm's way to save him from dangers he should have managed. What kind of partner was he? All this suffering he had seen in her eyes when he waked up. He sighed, avoiding her concerned look.

"What a pair!" she stated simply, crossing her arms on her chest.

"What?" he asked, wondering what she was talking about.

"You and me, blaming ourselves..." she said rubbing her eyes and then locked into his tired stare.

"I don't..."

"Sure," she cut, "you're not trying to amend!"

"I..." his voice trailed off as he lost his sight toward the dark sky behind the window.

"Booth, we're partners! Until I met you I had no idea what it means, but now I do!" she took a deep breath, making him nervous, "I'm not all emotional like you," she continued, locking her eyes in his brown moisturized eyes when his face turned to her, "but I do know one thing, people who care about each other tends to blame themselves, even when there was nothing they could have done to prevent a disaster."

"There's always a solution, Bones..."

"Yes, and this time it was to deal with this together," she grinned.

His face relaxed.

"Why do you have to be so smart," he stated, giving her a half smile.

She smirked at his remark, "well maybe because I have a doctorate, and I am a published author, and..."

"Bones," he sighed smirking, "it was rhetorical."

"I know," she grinned.

"Oh, so now you're playing with me," he said, faking to be offended.

"I guess that's my way to say I missed you," she smiled, her cheek blushing lightly.

"I missed you too, Temperance," he whispered not leaving the blue ocean of her eyes.

She gazed at his shining eyes.

"But at least you said I was right!" he teased.

"About what?" she asked incredulous.

"You, being stubborn," he dropped with a cocky smile.

He leaned his head back in the pillow and watched her.

"I'm not," she said, mildly offended.

She was glad his cocky smile was back and stared at him as he shifted in his bed to find a position that wouldn't hurt. He finally decided that resting on his right side would be better.

"Yes, and don't say otherwise, Bones," he added victoriously, pressing his right face into the smooth pillow and curling his legs. Then, he slid his hand under the pillow, "the simple fact that I'm here and talking to you, is the proof I'm right," he drawled, his eyes closing lightly. He was so tired it was hard for him to keep them open.

She closed her mouth, surrendering to his arguments. What could she say? If she hadn't fought for what she believed was true, he would probably be in the morgue by now. She felt the iron bar between her shoulders slowly disappear as she saw him relax and slumbered peacefully in the world of dreams.

She knew the road that awaited them wouldn't be easy as he would have to overcome scary dreams. But she would be there for him, and the creature as well as their enemies were dead or far gone in limbo to threaten them. Only his own ghosts would remained, she thought.

Gently, she brushed his brown hair and kissed his forehead. She leaned back in her chair keeping eye contact with him. She was still smiling when sleep came for her too, her hand lazily stroking his hand. They would be fine, the thought danced in her mind as she welcomed the darkness.

THE END


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To everyone who has followed this story, I would say a big thank you, you have made my day more than once!

I'm thankful for all the great reviews you guys had left for me. And as it's the last chapter, I'd say it's the last chance to tell me what you think of this story. So think about it and Review...

And of course stay tuned, I have plenty of other stories in store, GRIN!!

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