A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes. Mark Twain
The sunlight reflected across the quarry, brightness making it difficult to see even with sunglasses. They were both alive and safe. Booth felt himself start to shake with relief as he glanced over to where the paramedics were still stabilizing Hodgins, waiting for the MEDEVAC helicopter to transport him to the hospital; Angela hovered close by, refusing to leave Hodgins' side even for a moment.
Bones sat in the doorway of the ambulance, arguing over whether or not she needed medical treatment; Booth desperately wanted to go to her, pull her into his arms and hold on to her, touch her, reassure himself she was okay. Instead, he walked away to oversee the processing of the crime scene, making sure that any trace of evidence that could possibly be used to catch the maniac who had done this was found and processed correctly.
Cam walked up to him, running her hand down his arm, saying, "Seeley, you should be over there with Dr. Brennan. There are lots of agents here taking care of everything. You need to be taking care of her."
Booth laughed without humor. "Bones wouldn't like to hear you say that. She's the only one allowed to take care of her."
"I know. But she's been through something horrible. And she needs not to be alone, no matter what she tells you. I may never have been buried alive, but I've seen some pretty awful stuff and so have you. You know as well as I do, in order to heal from something like that, you need to keep the people you care about close to you. And it is fairly obvious you need to be with her right now so you can start to heal too."
"I need to heal? Why would you say that?"
"Booth, you went through hell the last twelve hours. We all did, but it became obvious pretty quickly how much you care about her."
"She's my partner; my friend. Of course I care about her. I care about Hodgins too. Plus you and I…Camille, I don't understand what you are talking about."
"That, Seely, is fairly obvious. But I call things like I see them. And I clearly see, even if you don't realize it, that you are crazy about her." She reached up, running her hand down his cheek. "Sucks, because we could have had been good together, really, really good. In fact, it pisses me off a little. But I am way too smart a woman to be involved with a man who's in love with someone else. You could have lost her today. Go and take care of her, Seely."
Can walked away. Booth stood there, slightly shocked, feeling like everyone around him was starting to go nuts. He knew Cam was right, that his feelings for Bones were so much more than those of a partner, but that wasn't how he and Bones related, not how she saw him. She would completely resent anyone thinking she needed to be taken care of. Nevertheless, he turned and walked back toward her, drawn by something he couldn't quite handle or control.
He absolutely hated hospitals. He hated how they smelled, the harshness of the lights and the memories of some pretty horrible times they dredged up. Light years away from an army hospital in Germany, it still felt the same. Booth had been waiting, endlessly it felt like, here in the ER for someone to give him some sort of information on how she was doing. Patience waning, he headed through the double doors back into the examination area, flashing his badge at the nurse who tried to stop him.
"Dr Brennan's room. I need to ask her some questions," he ordered in his most authoritative voice, relieved when he was directed there without further questioning. Why hadn't he thought to do that sooner?
Pulling back the curtain, Booth stopped in the doorway and watched her. She lay in the bed, oxygen tube across her face, eyes closed. The dark circles under her eyes spoke volumes about her ordeal and her level of exhaustion. A single tear trickled down her cheek, streaking through the dirt that had yet to be washed off.
Booth crossed the small distance to her bed, overwhelmed by relief that she was safe, by anger at whomever had done this, and by strong feelings of tenderness toward her. He gave into the impulse to brush her hair from her forehead, leaning down and touching his lips gently to her head.
Brennan opened her eyes, turning her face toward him. Booth watched her body language change as she physically pulled herself together, refusing even now to appear vulnerable.
"I didn't know you were still here. How is Hodgins?" She struggled to sit up, muscles sore from the confinement and the backlash of the explosion.
"Hey, lay down and take it easy, Bones, you've had a hell of a day. Relax for a bit. Hodgins is stable." Booth reached down, taking her hand in his, brushing the back of it with his thumb. "They're still deciding if he needs surgery or not. You saved his life, you know. If I ever get buried alive I so want you with me." He squeezed her hand, releasing it. "How are you doing? What have the doctor's told you?" he asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I'm okay, just sore. They were just worried about my blood oxygenation levels, but those are nearly back to normal." Brennan, shifted, obviously uncomfortable. "I have some contusions from the explosion but no internal injuries. They'll let me go home later today as long as I have someone to stay with me." She turned away, unwilling to look him in the eye. "I don't know who to ask, since Angela will need to stay with Hodgins…"
"Hey," Booth reached out, turning her face back toward him. "I'll stay with you."
"I didn't want to…I mean, I didn't want you to feel like you were obligated to help me…"
Booth interrupted, his thumb brushing across her cheek, "I am your friend, your partner. Helping each other is what we do. No arguments. I went by your house and brought you some clothes. I figured you would want something clean. Close your eyes and try to rest a bit until they spring you. I'm going to go and check on Angela, make sure she doesn't need anything. I'll be here when you wake up."
Without thought, Booth brought her hand to his mouth, turning it and brushing his lips softly across the palm. Their eyes caught, and Booth felt a strong feeling of desire sweep through him. He watched as Brennan blushed, her expression unreadable; relieved she didn't pull her hand from his.
After a few moments, Booth looked away, closing his eyes, searching himself for some kind of answers about what he was doing here. Partner, partner, partner, he chanted in his head, struggling to bring these uncomfortable feelings back under control. When he finally looked back toward Brennan, her eyes were closed, her breathing slowed, seeming to sleep. He sat for a few minutes, watching her, lost in thought.
"You've been very quiet, which, you'll have to admit, Bones, is a little out of character. Are you just tired?"
Booth watched as Brennan pulled her keys out, her hand shaking. He carefully took them from her, noting the look of frustration that crossed her face.
"Not tired, exactly; I slept quite a lot at the hospital. But I am weary, I suppose, from the whole ordeal. And I'm angry. I hate this feeling of, well, almost violation. And I'm angry that part of me is afraid it will happen again, even though I rationally understand the chances of that are relatively slim. I just…" She broke off, looking down at her feet, misery radiating from her.
He unlocked her door, ushering her in with his hand on the small of her back. As they walked into her apartment, he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. He leaned down and laid his face against her neck, breathing her scent. She smelled of hospitals, and dirt, but still underlying was the intrinsically Brennan smell.
Feelings of relief crashed through him. He'd come so close to losing her, never being able to hold her like this. He felt her relax against him, and they stood there like that, not moving, just drawing strength from holding each other.
As he began to feel the tension in him change so something much more primal, Booth drew back, pulling just far enough away so she would not be aware of his growing erection. He closed his eyes, schooling his gaze not to reflect what was going on inside him, then looked down at her.
Brennan appeared slightly shaken, watching him intently, finally turning away and saying, "I think I'll take a shower."
"Excellent idea, do you need help?"
She turned back, raising her eyebrow in response.
"No, wait; I meant can I get anything for you. Like towels, or pajamas, or soap, though if you need anything washed, I am so at your service…." He leered at her, wiggling his eyebrows at her, cutting the tension with his teasing.
She smiled in response, "No, I think I'm good."
"I'll find food while you're bathing."
"I'm not really hungry. They fed me at the hospital."
"That, Bones, is not food. Unless it was pudding. Nothing else they give you in a hospital in remotely like food. Now I make amazing omelets. There will be one waiting for you when you are finished. Call if you need my help."
Brennan smiled and rolled her eyes, carefully walking down the hall toward the bathroom.
Booth listened as she turned on the water, hearing the small thumps and bangs that accompanied the routine of showering. He moved into the kitchen, gathering up the things he needed to cook, mostly on autopilot, lost in thought. Booth had never been willing to risk alienating her before; had never tried to push her toward anything more than being partners and friends. What was he supposed to do now? He continued musing as he cracked eggs, chopped vegetables, and cooked the omelets. He found iced tea in the refrigerator and got that out, figuring alcohol was a bad idea after almost dying.
Finally he heard the shower turn off, and shortly afterwards she walked into the kitchen, the scent of her soap and shampoo surrounding her, her hair still wet. She'd dressed herself in flannel pajamas and added a robe on top, almost as if she couldn't get warm.
Booth gestured to the table. "Sit; eat. I have real non-hospital food for you."
She sat, and they ate; Booth going out of his way to be as goofy as possible, trying make her feel as if everything was normal. As they finished eating their eyes met, gazes lingering, and a flash of awareness passed between them, a little stronger than their usual little moments. Booth felt his breathing speed up, and he turned away, gathering up the dishes, moving into the kitchen to rinse the dishes and put them into the washer. Brennan followed him, walking up behind him and laying her hand on his shoulder.
He felt the heat run from her hand, through him; he didn't turn, though, continuing to wash the dishes, but nodded to show he was listening.
"What are we doing here? We keep having these moments, and you keep watching me. Sometimes, when people have been through some kind of traumatic situation, the rush of adrenaline can cause a physiological reaction leading to something sexual. Is that what is happening here?"
Booth made a sort of garbled choking noise, both shocked by how straightforward her words were and at the same time not at all surprised. Bones was never one for dancing around something, and she had absolutely no sense about how one talked, or didn't talk, about this sort of thing.
"Yes. Wait, no. I don't know what is happening. What do you think is happening here?" Booth ran his fingers though his hair, pulling sharply on it, torn between needing to kiss her and wanting to run out of the room.
"I don't have any idea either."
"Okay. Good. Then at least we are confused together." Booth took a deep breath and walked over to her, lifting his hand and brushing her lips with his thumbs.
"What about Dr. Saroyan? I thought you and she…."
"She told me that she was too smart a woman to be involved with someone who was in love with someone else."
"I don't know, Bones. But there is - there might be something…"
That was it? Okay? Where was her three-hundred word answer full of words he wasn't 100 sure what meant? He would take it!
He leaned closer, brushing his lips against hers just once, the soft feel of her lips beneath his causing desire to shoot through him, straight to his groin. As he started to pull back, she leaned forward, pressing her mouth against his, her tongue sliding across his lower lip. Booth groaned, deepening the kiss, fighting desperately to remain in control. Finally he pulled back, gathering her close. Resting his forehead against hers he held her for a moment. But then he backed away, not wanting her to regret anything that might happen between them, knowing deep down if what was happening here was going to mean something, anything else needed to wait until neither of them was feeling quite so emotionally battered by her kidnapping.
Brennan looked up at him, blinking in surprise, murmuring, "Now what do we do?"
"Now, we watch a movie."
Brennan looked confused. "I don't have a television set Booth; this should not be news to you."
"Yes, but I plan better than that." Booth smiled, stepping away from her and wiggling his eyebrows at her once again. "You have a laptop, and I brought a DVD. Presto – movie night."
Booth woke, confused at first, unsure of where he was. The room was dark, but the DVD menu still flickered on the laptop screen, cycling over and over. Brennan was still curled up beside him, sleeping with her head on his lap. She shifted restlessly, a small whimpering noise escaping her lips. He reached down, rubbing her cheek, breathing her name as he brought her back to wakefulness.
"Bones. You're dreaming. Come on, wake up."
She slowly sat up, stretching, sighing and struggling to stop shaking and to bring herself back to reality. "I guess I should be surprised. It's a normal psychological response for people to have nightmares and flashbacks after suffering some kind of extreme trauma. It was just very lifelike." Brennan crossed her arms, rubbing her hands up and down as if to warm herself. "It was extremely intense and upsetting."
Booth wrapped his arms around her for a moment, then released her. "You should go to bed. You can't have been comfortable sleeping on the couch."
Brennan stood, massaging her neck and wincing when she came into contact with the burn. Wordlessly, she turned, taking a step toward the hallway. Then she paused, glancing back at him, exhaustion and sorrow etched across her features. She looked so young, drained, and slightly overwhelmed. It was so unusual for her, and Booth felt his heart break a little, knowing what the past day had cost her. Their gazes caught and held.
Booth watched as she struggled with something, indecision flickering across her face until she finally said, "Come with me. I don't mean – I just don't want to be alone right now."
"Sure." he replied, knowing how much she hated admitting any kind of weakness. He rose from the couch, reaching over and closing the laptop, plunging the room into darkness.
He followed after her down the hall to her bedroom. Brennan had taken off her robe and silently climbed into bed, not bothering to turn on the light. Booth crossed to the other side of the bed, climbing in. He scooted over to her, turning on his side and reaching around to spoon her, sliding one arm beneath her pillow. He was careful to keep the embrace comforting, rather than sexual, his hand lying against her stomach outside her shirt, their bodies barely touching.
"Just go back to sleep. I'll be here when you wake up. I'll always be here for you." He pressed one gentle kiss against her head, leaving his face in her hair, breathing the soft sent of her shampoo.
"I knew you'd find us," she muttered, slowly slipping back to sleep; her breathing became slow and regular.
Sleep, however, completely eluded Booth. He lay in the dark, wrapped around her, lost in thought. He ached to make love to her; lose himself in her kisses – her body. Prove to himself physically that she was alive, safe. The hand that rested on her stomach longed to move upwards, beneath her shirt, caressing her breasts, teasing her nipples as he kissed the back of her neck. He wanted to press his growing erection against her bottom, now taking his hand and sliding it lower, teasing her, feeling her wetness. Finally turning her toward him and sliding into her, kissing her deeply.
This was going to be the longest night. Booth consciously tried to slow his breathing and heart rate, applying the same techniques he used to still his body before shooting, trying in vain to let himself relax into sleep. He would find a way to make this work, but not right now when she was so vulnerable. But soon, he promised himself. Soon.
A/N: Mrs. Polifax rules the universe. Also, she keeps me sane and fixes all my grammar faux pas!