Uncertainty is killing me
And I'm certainly not asleep
Maybe I've gone far too deep
Maybe I'm just far too weak

And that's the last place I want
To be the last place
And there is so much we don't know
So we love and we hope that it holds...


All around her, the orchestra played. Bald men in crisp black suits, women in shimmery, slinky dresses littered with stars like the night sky, brass instruments glowing in the light of the cavernous room. They drew rosined bows against taut strings, bringing forth a lusty moan that filled her chest like a sudden gasp of hot, dry air. It hurt. The woodwinds joined in, scaling up and down before crooning along with the melody; the brass came after, each note proclaimed with understated pride.

Each note rose lightly on its toes, lilting scales blending like paints on a tray. Blues, greens, violets, swirls of color and sound filled the senses. She shut her eyes, feeling her heart thump in time with the tempo. Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. Lub. Dub. Lub. Dub. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Her eyes snapped open, and she braced the arms of the chairs in that brief disoriented moment of waking. Everything settled in quickly, though—the blinking lights, the pristine white sheets, the quiet cacophony of monitors and intermittent buzzers. It was all there again, and she relaxed into the chair's stiff back, letting a yawn escape her. She didn't have to open the heavy drawn curtains to know it was dark outside—a nurse had come in earlier apparently and turned off the overhead light, leaving only the glowing TV to illuminate the room. In the hallway most of the lights were off or dimmed, with only the nurse's station serving as a beacon of guidance in the dark. Aside from a few shuffling feet and the ever-present rhythm of machinery in the background, their wing of the hospital was quiet. Night had fallen, and nobody had bothered to wake her.

She didn't mind—it wouldn't be the first time she'd spent the night, but probably the last, at least for now. Tomorrow they were coming to pick him up, take him to a nursing home. They needed this room, they said, for other intensive-care patients. Patients who had just come out of surgery. Patients who needed the careful supervision of SICU nurses. Patients who would wake up.

He would wake up, she knew he would; it was just a matter of time. She gave a little nod as if to affirm this to herself. His brain wasn't dead, it was just in a persistent state of lower-level functioning. It hadn't stopped functioning entirely, and there was no reason to believe that it would. For a month he had been becoming increasingly stable, increasingly predictable. His ventilated breaths came in and out like the ticks of a clock; his heart kept time like a metronome. He had not crashed, had not faltered in his recovery—he had simply paused. That was all it was. A pause.

"Pull the plug?" Brennan had nearly shrieked, causing Jared to cringe.

"Tempe, don't say it like that," he pleaded. She scoffed.

"You want to remove him from life support, Jared," she hissed. "That's exactly what it is. You're willing to just give up on him?"

"Temperance," Jared said gently, patience wearing thin but empathy overriding irritation. He placed his hand on her arm; she stiffened. "It's been three weeks. The doctors said this is as good as it's going to get. Seeley wouldn't want to live like this, like a vegeta—"

"Don't," she said through gritted teeth. "Don't say that, don't call him a vegetable. He's not in vegetative state, Jared. It's a coma. He's not gone yet. He's still there."

"He's gone, Tempe," Jared said plainly. "He's gone, and the doctors don't think he's coming back. You heard them—odds are if he does come out of the coma, he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life. The tumor was too deep, too weak. It ruptured and they couldn't do anything about it, okay? It just went wrong, Temperance. It went wrong, and we have to let him go."

She reached out and grabbed hold of his hand, warm and dry, and gave it a squeeze. She stared intently at his face, tube snaked down his throat, lips cracked. He needed more Vaseline for them, to keep them from chapping. She would ask the nurse for some next time she saw one. She felt his pulse through his fingers as she held his hand tightly, feeling for any sign of response. A smile, a twitch, a squeeze back. Any inclination that he was there, that he knew she was there. Anything.

Brennan knew the odds were slim, knew that rationally the doctors were probably right. But she also knew Booth. Time and time again he had proven her wrong, laughed in the face of statistics and done what the odds never could have predicted. He found her in the moments before her imminent death, lead to her by his gut like two magnets drawn to one another. He found her buried alive in a car, pulled her alive from the dirt. He escaped from a toy submarine, performed feats of strength no single man could perform on his own, and lived to tell it. He rose from the dead two weeks after he was shot, beer hat and all.

There was nothing he couldn't do—there was no odd he couldn't go up against, come out on top of. He was Booth, and she had seen what he could do. She could believe in him, even when science didn't. She didn't need science to believe in him. She didn't need anybody to believe in him, as long as she did. She could believe for everybody.

"You're not giving him enough time," Brennan insisted. "The odds of an adult coming out of a coma, out of vegetative state, within six months are fifty percent. Fifty percent! You aren't giving him six months, Jared—you aren't even giving him six weeks."

"You think I want to let my brother die?" Jared yelled, bringing his hands up and tugging at his own hair. "You think I want to pull the plug on him? Huh? I want him to live, Temperance, but he's not going to! You heard the doctors."

"Doctors are wrong all the time," she said. "They're called medical miracles for a reason. Nobody expects them to happen."

"You don't believe in miracles," Jared sneered. She shook her head.

"No, but I believe in spontaneous recovery," she said, impassioned. "It's a very real occurrence, and given enough time for his brain to heal, it could happen. You just have to give him time."

Time. It had been twenty-nine days since his surgery. Twenty-nine days since she stood in the operating room, arms crossed, watching the doctors expertly navigate through the depths of his grey matter. Twenty-nine days since she saw the stricken look on the doctor's face as they realized the MRI had not revealed the full extent of the tumor—the blood vessel it had grown from, latched onto and wound itself around. Twenty-nine days since the tumor spontaneously ruptured as the doctor attempted to detach it, sending blood pouring into the cranial cavity.

Twenty-three days since his intracranial pressure had finally stabilized via the hole drilled into his skull, relieving the swelling that had threatened to choke off the organ's oxygen completely. The damage had been done, though—there was no electrical activity in the upper level of the brain, and minimal activity in the lower part. The brainstem was functioning, but erratically—they intubated him to ensure he would not suddenly stop breathing. To ensure he would not die.

It had been touch and go since then, but recently, it was increasingly touch. The doctors were not convinced in his ability to recover, though—they called it a plateau. This, they said, is where he will remain. This is as good as it gets.

"You want him to live like this?" Jared asked, almost accused. "You want some machine to breathe for him? For him to just sit there and get bedsores and infections, for all that to go septic until his organs finally fail? Is that what you want for him? I thought you loved my brother, Temperance—if you love him, let him go." Brennan's chest constricted tightly. She tried to exhale, but her lungs were caught in limbo; they would neither bring in new air, nor release the old. She finally choked out a small sob before regaining herself.

"I love him enough to fight for him," she finally said, grit in her voice, eyes wet. "Which is more than you've ever done. Fight for him now, Jared. Let him live." She knew the decision was in his hands—he was Booth's next of kin, his blood relative, the one who these decisions fell to. Booth had left no kind of instructions for a situation like this; what his actual wishes were, they couldn't know. Jared let out a ragged sigh, rubbing the heels of his palms into his eyes and shaking his head vigorously.

"Fine," he said. "Six months. You want to drag it out? You've got six months. But if this is as good as it gets… I'm not gonna let him live like that forever, Temperance. You understand me? I can't do that to him."

She continued to hold Booth's hand patiently, waiting for a response. She settled her fingers between his, using her other hand to stroke the top of his palm, between the inserted IV needles. The ventilator wheezed, pumping air into his lungs. His chest rose and fell in a gentle, sleeping way.

In reality, she had no idea if he would ever wake up. She didn't know if his higher-level functioning would return, or if he truly would become a vegetable, until the fateful day when Jared finally came through on his word and removed life support. She didn't know if he would ever squeeze back, if he would ever open his eyes, if those cracked lips would ever smile again. She didn't know if he would ever hear her say 'I love you', if he could hear her now as she whispered it quietly in the dark hospital room, waiting for light. She didn't know how to believe in a God she could ask for any of those things.

"This is not as good as it gets," she said with quiet conviction, hoping he could hear her. Because that much, she knew.


And there is so much we don't know
So we love and we hope that it holds
And either we say or we show
So I'm going to fight for my own

I'm holding on until the last
I'm holding on 'til there's nothing left
I'm holding on until the last
I'm holding on 'til there's nothing left

- Uncertainty, The Fray