"Tell me where she is."

I smirked at him. What was he going to do? She was mine, now, the long game of cat and mouse come to a satisfying conclusion. I'd followed her for almost a year, watching her, watching him, watching them, until I knew how to play it, enjoying in the meantime the terror she'd tamp down each time a new gift from me showed up on her doorstep, or on her desk, and the seething rage in him as he brought me in, time and again, for questioning that went nowhere. I'd been careful, and there was nothing he could do.

It was over, now, or nearly so. She was waiting for me, bound and gagged to the bed with his neckties, his stupid neckties that I'd stolen when I stole her. She was weak enough from my beatings and no food or water for two days not to fight back when I took her, made her mine, finally, all mine, after he let me go again, from his useless, impotent interrogation room. The thought of the bruises I'd left on her, my marks on her beautiful skin, made me itch to get out of here and claim her fully. He wouldn't find her, and even if he did, he wouldn't be able to carry her out of there. I'd made sure of that, when I finally caught him alone and struck from behind, then took my time, repeatedly, methodically, bringing the bat down on his knee, his shoulder, his firing hand, until they were pulp under the wood.

He was a wreck-- his hand a mangled claw, chained to a desk job as he got used to a knee so wired with metal that it would never bend again, learned how to reuse an arm whose shoulder was so damaged he'd never raise his arm above his elbow again. I'd waited, before I took her, until he'd gotten out of the hospital, instilling a false lull before I started leaving her presents again, revelling in the rage in his face as he realized he could never protect her-- even though what I'd done had finally made her let him into his bed. Whore. But she was going to be my whore, now, only mine, and he knew it, even as we both knew he'd never make me admit to anything.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

I taunted him further, one eye on the mirror behind which I knew his colleagues were watching, waiting, to see if I broke. But I wouldn't. There was only one man in here who was broken, and it was him. He was stalking back and forth in front of me, leaning heavily on his cane, his voice cold and his face calm, but his shoulders were tense, the muscle at his jaw ticking each time I pretended ignorance.

I let him try for another half hour, then stood, and fired my last salvo. "I'm sorry, Agent Booth, but you can't blame me if the reason she's missing if because she finally left a cripple not man enough to satisfy her." His jaw clenched again, but he said nothing, so I got up and passed him, heading for the door.

Suddenly, his cane came out and struck the back of my knees, and I fell forward, cracking my head on the door. Before I knew what had happened, he'd seized me by the collar and thrown me onto the floor, his weight crashing into my ribcage as he knelt on me with his good knee, his bad leg stuck out straight at an impossible angle. His bad arm still worked enough for him to lean into my shoulder, pinning me down, as his left hand choked me.

"Tell me where she is," he repeated, his eyes glittering with madness, as he increased the pressure.

Where were the other agents? Were they going to let him do this? My eyes dimmed.

When I woke, I was tied to a chair, my back against the wall, and he was sitting on the table in front of me, about two feet away, holding his cane in both hands. As I came too and looked up at him, he just smiled.

He kept at it for hours, beating me with his cane, swinging it like the bat that I'd used on him, sometimes from his seated position, the cane swinging each time at me in slow motion as I saw it coming, and he just repeated the same question, over and over. Sometimes, he would stand, and move to the side, waiting, until I lost my ability to brace myself against what I knew was coming-- only then would he strike me again. Sometimes he'd choke me, the handle of the cane against my throat as he stood and leaned into it, but never enough to crush my larynx, so I could finally tell him.

When he started breaking my fingers, gripping up on the cane as he brought it down like a hammer, I broke too, and told him. I hoped he would kill me then, but he didn't-- he just seized my face and he breathed, "She's mine," in my ear, then stalked out of the room, his bloody cane on the floor as he slowly picked up speed, then started running, the knee that I'd crushed bending, right before he left my line of sight. He never laid a hand on me after I woke up-- just that cane, the one that I'd given him, that he'd turned on me.

The older agent, his boss, Samuel Cullen, equally impotent, or so I thought until now, came in and untied me, picking up the cane in one hand as I slumped forward. The last thing I heard was "You should never underestimate him," before I saw that cane come swinging right at my head.


He broke the door down with his injured shoulder, adrenaline making possible what months of rehab still hadn't, and ran to the back room, weapon in his other hand, the rest of us trailing in disbelief as he moved as fast as he ever did. He was calling her name as he ran, then yelled "Stay back until I tell you," as he crashed through the door.

"I've got you, Bones, I've got you," I heard, then an answering, sobbed "Booth," and the sound of fabric ribbing, then another sob as he replied, "Shh, I've got you, it's alright, I've got you."

"Do you need an ambulance?" I called, and he answered, "No, just a few moments, please, Sam, and some clothes." I motioned to one of the team to run down to the van, and he returned minutes later, some sweats under his arm. He handed them to me, and I called, "Booth, I've got them," then waited until he came back through the doorway to take them, nodding as he did so and immediately turning back around to go back in the room.

"Here, just hold on while I get these on you," I heard, her breath choking on tears I was sure she was trying to hold back. She was as stoic as he was, in public, and she knew we were out here. "Good, easy, just hold on to that, there, okay, good." I heard the snick of the zipper, and weight shifting on what must have been a bed. "Do you think you can stand for me?" There was an answering murmur, too low for me to hear, then another choked sob and a hiss of pain, hers, not his. "I can't," she sobbed. "It's okay, Temperance, it's okay," he soothed, "here, just sit up a little, okay?" and then there was the sound of weight shifting on the bed again, and he emerged, carrying her in his arms, his wrecked knee still bending, still bearing his weight. She bore a dark bruise on her cheekbone, and he was still bloody from all the force that he'd used to extract her location from that sickening bastard, but they both were unbroken.

Unlike the cane I'd swung at that bastard's head, it breaking in two as I listened to his neck snap. It had served its purpose. I didn't think he'd need it any more.