Summary: How many times can I break til I shatter? It is only one mistake, one moment. One moment that threatens everything they've built. One moment he can't take back. A Booth/Brennan story. Booth POV. My first Bones fanfic.

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I'm shattered
I always turn the car around

Chapter One

"I mean it, Bones, you stay there, alright?"

She gives me that look I've come to know so well in over three years as partners; combative and stubborn. "I'm perfectly capable of assisting, Booth. I'm an excellent shot."

Fully prepared to demonstrate, Bones pulls out her comically oversized gun and waves it around in a haphazard way that makes me nervous.

I'm used to placating her somewhat worrisome tendency to get trigger-happy, so I just whisper back, "It doesn't matter. We don't even know if he's coming back, and if he does come back, and if there is gunplay…it's too dark in here, it would become a free for all. Just stay down this hallway, I'll stay in mine, and send me the signal if you see anything. Got it?"

We're standing in the 'lair' of the latest serial killer sicko. A tip from Hodgins led us here, where we found the young woman intended for his next victim, still alive, thankfully, but bound and gagged. The killer, apparently, had stepped out. The victim was sent to the hospital, but we're planning on catching the bastard.

My back up is strategically arranged around the building and outside so as not to attract attention; we are the only ones in this area at the moment. I wanted Bones to stay in one of the surveillance vehicles outside, but as usual, she was having none of that.

Full participation. This insistence of hers…it's what began our partnership. It is what makes it unique now. None of the other agents are partners with a squint.

But then, none of them have the highest solve rate in the bureau, either.

"You remember the signals?" I am triple checking, and the question warrants a long-suffering sigh.

"Of course I do, Booth. One signal if someone's coming, two to check in or answer a check in-"

"Three if you're in trouble, four if you're coming out." I finish, putting the most stress on this point. We gave been using these walkie-talkie type devices only recently; they are good for communicating when talking is dangerous. Press a button, and a signal shows up on the screen on the other device. Simple and effective. "But remember what I said. You do not come out unless absolutely necessary and unless you tell me, alright?"

She isn't happy with this, predictably, but she nods reluctantly.

"Okay then. Be careful."

Bones raises her gun again, and smiles, just a little. "You, too."

I leave her then. We are in the basement level of an abandoned building; for a basement, it's awfully elaborate: lots of hallways and rooms off the main area. The place is dark and expansive, a combination that makes it difficult to navigate.

I've left Bones in a small empty room down a dead-end corridor at one end of the basement; I'm heading toward the opposite side, closest to the room where we found Rachel Kennedy, the girl he'd been keeping here. I figure our killer will head this way first; I'm looking forward to giving the bastard a nice surprise.

A long twenty minutes pass before anything happens, and then it's just a noise, a kind of scraping sound. It's not terribly loud but after such a long silence I jump a little, then still; it could have come from above us, on another floor, but I can't be sure.

The walkie talkie thing, clipped on my belt, vibrates once and I glance down. Two red dots have appeared on the tiny screen; two signals. She's checking in.

I press the button twice and return the thing to my belt. I'm on the alert now, listening carefully for any indication of movement.

Then there are footsteps.

I can only hear the echoes, sounding from the opposite side of the basement. I grip my gun, prepared to shoot if necessary. The footsteps are getting closer, moving toward me. Then they stop abruptly.

I wait thirty seconds; silence. Another thirty seconds, and then I cautiously peer around the corner, my gun preceding me.


I barely glimpse the guy, standing about fifteen feet away, before he fires at me, and I jerk back around the corner.

There's a blur of movement out of the corner of my eye; he's running . I pivot and fire twice, just before he ducks into another corridor.

I move stealthily out of the hallway, heading for the center of the room, my gun point at the place he'd disappeared.

In a split second, my foot is tangled in something on the floor, and I lose my balance.

The silence is pierced first by the thud of my body, the clanging of the chains I tripped over, and then two clatters as both my gun and the walkie talkie get away from me.

The suspect emerges instantly, and shoots in my general direction. I have to roll out of the way, and for a moment I'm panicked, blindly searching for my gun.

After a moment, and a second gunshot, my fingers close around the barrel, and I quickly leap to my feet, firing off two shots before he can react.

There's a yell; one of them struck, although I can't tell where. He fires again, but it's wild, wild enough for him to change tactics.

He runs.

I pursue him, shooting again. I can see enough of his dim outline to realize he isn't limping; must've got him in an arm, or maybe shoulder. He surprises me, though, whirling at one point and shooting twice, forcing me to duck behind an open door on one side.

When I look, again, he's disappeared down one of the dead end corridors at the other end of the basement, where Bones is waiting.

I reach for the signal device, to let Bones know he was coming, but it's gone. I remember too late that I lost it when I fell.

I grit my teeth, my heart thumping in my chest. Hopefully, if he goes into the room Bones is in, she'll take him by surprise and get him. Of course, there's a chance he went down the hallway opposite hers. Either way, there's a dead end; he'll come out eventually.

So I wait, gun at the ready, for him to reappear, trying to quell my nerves at the sudden lack of communication with Bones.

Two minutes creep by with no gunshots, no sound of a struggle, which lets the knot in my stomach unfurl just a little. Chances are, if he's headed toward Bones, I'd know by now.

Then it happens, the flash of a movement, a figure emerges, gun drawn, and I react instinctually.

I shoot.

The figure crumbles. The gun is dropped, skitters away.

It all takes place in a split second.

I start to stride forward, but stop cold after about five steps, when I am close enough to the crumpled figure, the one I shot, to see it.

My stomach clenches, and my hand goes limp as my gun clatters to the floor.



Bones was shot.


I shot Bones.

I'm dizzy and cold, and in seconds I've collapsed, my knees simply giving out beneath me, and am vomiting onto the basement floor.

What did I do?

When there is nothing left in my stomach, I cover my face with my hands; my whole body is shaking, and I don't trust my legs to hold me up if I try to stand.

I can only think No over and over.

No no no please no no no God no…

I look up, make myself face it.

It doesn't change.

Some sort of instinct kicks in, and I mechanically call for backup, requesting an ambulance.

I don't spare a thought to the still unaccounted for serial killer as I move toward Bones, terrified of what I'm going to see.

There's blood everywhere, so much blood, and my stomach lurches violently. The bullet got her in the side, and I press a trembling hand against the wound.

Her eyes, closed when I first arrived, flutter open. Her face is ashen, pain evident in her eyes, but when her gaze focuses on my face she smiles hazily. Her voice is weaker than I've ever heard it as she whispers, "Booth…you're…you're alright."

Something inside me crumbles as I realize what happened. Of course she heard the gunshots, and tried to check in with me. But I dropped my end, so she didn't get an answer and assumed the worst.

"Yeah, Bones…" My voice is thick and scratchy and doesn't sound like me. "I'm alright."

"So you got him?" Her eyes dart to the side, and I follow her gaze.

In the other corridor, the one opposite the one I'd left her in, there is a crumpled form about halfway down the hallway. He'd passed out, apparently, from the gunshot wound I'd given him.

Bones saw the body, thought it was me. Ran out, ran toward it….

The bile rises in the back of my throat again, and my vision blurs with tears.

I hear footsteps, voices, sirens. Bones' eyes drift shut.

"No! Bones….stay with me…" Panicked, I think back to when I was shot a few months ago. The memory of her face above me, her hand gripping mine. With the hand that isn't pressing against her side, I take her hand and squeeze it, and dazedly repeat her words from months before. "It's gonna be fine, Bones, come on. You're gonna make this. I'm right here. You can do this…"

Why hadn't I yelled for her after I realized the walkie talkie was gone?

Why hadn't I watched to make sure which corridor he ran into?

Why didn't I hesitate, why didn't I make sure?


The room begins to fill, and I numbly wave the other agents in the direction of the killer. The paramedics have to pull me away, have to force me to let go of her hand.

I back up a little, watching, helpless, as they work on her. Cullen comes over to me; I don't remember him being there before.

"He got her, huh?'

And I say the words for the first time.

Cullen stares at me. "What?"

I repeat it. "It was me. I shot her."


I was supposed to protect her. I am always supposed to protect her.

I shot her.

Cullen is saying something, but I can't make out the words. They're coming from somewhere else, somewhere far away. He grabs my arm, shakes it, trying to get through the fog that suddenly separates us.

I break free and turn, driving my fist against the solid, stone wall behind us.

There's a crunch, and a yell from Cullen, and then there's blood. I don't feel anything.

My God, I shot her.

It was one moment. One mistake.

And I can't take it back.

A/N This is my first attempt at Bones fanfiction. I discovered the show rather recently (though I'm caught up now) and am completely addicted. I'm thinking the next few chapters I have written are better than this one…the set up was kind of difficult to pull off. Still, reviews would be great! I hope you're intrigued.

Chapter Two