Title: Not A Love Story
Author: cathedral carver
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
Summary: He isn't in love with her. Not at all. Nope.
He isn't in love with her, that much is clear.
He doesn't think about her before or after working hours, at least he tries not to, and when he does he certainly doesn't think of her in that way. Usually. Okay, sure, he loves her, but as a friend. Only as a friend because she's a really good friend and she's funny and smart as hell and excellent at her job, and he truly admires her for her brain. She's very smart. Very, very smart. And beautiful. Yes, there's that. And she doesn't even know it, how beautiful she is, which is a really attractive quality all on its own. But it doesn't matter how gorgeous she is, anyway, because he doesn't think about her in that way. At all. Ever. And he definitely doesn't think about how the side of her neck might feel, or taste, or how her hair might lie across a pillow, or how it might be to wake up next to her one night, or one morning. And the fact that he feels like he might throw up every time he even thinks about her getting hurt only clarifies what he already knows: That he cares about her. A lot. But, as a friend.
He isn't in love with her. Not at all. Nope.
As long as that's clear.
He sees the knife before she does, of course, because he's trained to see sharp things, and dangerous things and various other weapons that can cause any amount of severe bodily damage and she's trained to see, well, dead things. He's also trained to see the people who might be concealing said dangerous things and various other weapons, but he misses this one. Misses it entirely. Because. Because he's watching her instead. By the time he does see it's late, too late.
Late, he thinks, late, too late, too—
This is what he remembers as he replays the scene for the fifty-second time:
Bones is bent low near a stand of trees in the park, away from the busyness of the actual crime scene. It's night and it's dark, but not dark enough that he can't see her well, see all the details he's become familiar with over the years. She has found something, that much is clear, because he knows her well enough now to know when she's found something of interest. Her dark hair falls forward, hiding the side of her face, but he can picture her expression: intrigued/puzzled/pleased. Any moment now she will rise slightly and call to him and he stands several feet back, waiting, wondering what she's found and wondering—
He hears her voice float across the cool evening air and he takes a step towards her and as he does he sees the dark figure emerge from the darker stand of trees. She doesn't see it, of course, because she's so focused on whatever she has found in the dirt. Then, then.
This is where it goes kind of fuzzy.
So he sees the knife before she does but fuck if he does anything about it.
Darkness and light and then the damage is done and she's lying on the ground, in the dirt and there is blood and all he can do is stand and stare, bewildered, numb, dangerously close to puking.
It's Stevenson, of course, and he doesn't even try to get away. He just stands there, over her, looking down, the knife at his side. How long? How long before Booth makes a sound, makes a movement? He's not sure, but then Bones makes a sound and it sounds like a moan or a cry for help and fuck it all goes to hell then with shouts and cries and feet pounding and bodies tackling and—
He's too fucking late.
"Getting stabbed hurts," she says with some interest. "I'll have to remember this for my next book."
"Yeah, yeah. God. Bones. I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry." He's babbling and pressing his hands over the wound and feeling wetness and warmth bubbling between his fingers. He holds her awkwardly there in the dirt. He can feel stones digging into his knees and he pulls her close, closer to him, aware of blood. "I'm so fucking sorry."
He keeps talking, saying all sorts of things, things that he never does remember, but by the time the paramedics arrive it doesn't even matter because she has stopped hearing and her head is resting heavily against his chest but she's still breathing, barely, and the blood — her blood — is still wet and sticky on his hands.
But, she's breathing.
He focuses on that.
Later he replays the scene over and over, wondering how it happened, how he could have let it happen. It plays out in slow motion in his head, but of course in reality it was lightning quick. Stevenson wasn't there and then he was and the knife wasn't there and then it was. Booth remembers a dark shape and within that darkness a flash of silver. He remembers Bones falling, slowly, knees hitting the dirt first, then her hands. Her remembers her expression was: intrigued/puzzled/pained, and she locked eyes with him for just a second before she fell completely.
The doctor assures him she's going to be fine, but still. He listens carefully but stares down at his hands the entire time which are dark and stiff with blood — her blood — and when the doctor is done talking Booth excuses himself and manages to make it to a bathroom before he throws up.
He perches himself on the edge of the chair and just stares at her.
"Hey," she says and her voice is low and mushy. Her eyes are over bright. She is happy to see him, but he's not quite sure she knows it's him. "How are ya?"
"Good." She drags this word out for a long time and then laughs at how it sounds. She says it again. "Good."
He has no idea what to say to her.
He listens to the sound of her breathing, focuses on that for awhile because it's better than the other hospital sounds, the beeps and ticks and hisses, the sounds that always make him think of death.
"Don't know what drugs I'm on, but man they're good."
He laughs. It's either that or cry.
"Wanna see my wound?" she asks suddenly.
"Why not? I think it's gonna leave a scar." She moves to lift her gown and his heart thuds hard against his ribs. He feels sick. He will not throw up in front of her.
"What's the matter?"
"I just…you should be resting, okay?"
"Well, I'll tell ya, you look a helluva lot worse than I feel."
"I'm sure I do."
She closes her eyes then, takes a deep breath. When she opens them he's staring at her. His eyes are very bright. She's suddenly exhausted, bone weary.
She reaches out and takes his hand. It feels very small in his. He grasps it, squeezes it spasmodically, lets out the breath he didn't realize he'd been holding.
"Stay for awhile?" she says.
"Just try to make me leave," he says.
"Ha," she says before she falls asleep. And, "Good."
He realizes later he now knows what her hair looks like lying across a pillow.
"This wasn't your fault," she says when she wakes up and he's still there, still holding her hand.
He doesn't say anything. Then, "Didn't say it was."
"Booth. Come on. I know how you think."
He stares at her. Of course she does.
She watches him. "The place was swarming with cops. No one saw Stevenson."
"But I should have. I should have seen him."
She shrugs, then makes a face because it hurts to do that.
"He could have…" He tries to finish the sentence but finds he can't say the words.
"He missed all my vital organs. Didn't even sever any tendons…didn't nick any…"
He smiles, just.
"There was a lot of…"
"Stab wounds tend to do that."
"You'll have to remember that…"
"For my next…"
"I'm here to relieve you," Angela announces loudly from the doorway.
"I'm fine," Booth says. He's still in the chair — his chair, now — and so numb he can't feel his legs. Probably a good thing.
She shoves a giant cup of coffee into his hand. It's very hot.
"You've been here all night," she smiles down at Bones. "Go home already."
"I'm not tired."
Angela stares at him.
"Go home, Booth. Get some sleep. I'll take good care of your chair for you."
"But I don't want to go home." He says this without thinking and even though it's true, he hadn't meant to say it out loud at all.
Now they're both staring at him.
He really is very tired.
"All right, all right," he says finally and stands, stiff, shaky. He looks down at Bones, memorizes her once again. "I'll be back later," he says to her.
She crosses her arms, curls her fingers into her palms so she won't reach for his hand again.
"Good," she says. "I'll be here."
He goes home, and he thinks about her, but only because she's been injured and he's worried about her, and like any good partner, he's concerned.
But he isn't in love with her.
As long as that's clear.