We reach the Virginian site on several hours of adrenaline and caffeine. Hodgins and Bones are in there, somewhere. In that vast pit, buried. Running out of air. I refuse to acknowledge the possibility that we're too late.
My mind is split into half a dozen trains of thought, all colliding like some sick, massive train wreck that people crowd around. Part of me wants to sit down and do nothing but pray. Part of me wants to hunt down the fucking bastard that kidnapped my Bones – and Hodgins – and buried them alive.
And the other part of me is…calm. Which feels crazy, because I'm at the end of my leash, here. Strung up like…something strung up. (I'm trying not to freak out. It's not the best time to force metaphors.)
I rattle off instructions. Tire tracks, mounds, car fluid leaks…the guy buried them here, there has to be some sign of them.
I'm staring at the grave site. The word "haystack" comes to mind, but what we're looking for is much, much more treasured than a damn needle. I want to turn around and chew out everyone that's just standing around me, gazing at the pit. I'm about to. My blood surges in anger, and –
Poof. A soft but temperamental sound. My eyes lock on the origin – a tiny cloud of dust shifts upward from the ground, far below in the pit. Like a midget volcano.
Nothing else matters as I jump down the steep hillside. Not the Gravedigger, not the mindless joes standing around. Nothing.
I race to the cloud of dust, eyes sharp on the spot. Can't lose it. Can't lose sight of that small but incredibly important spot. Because if I so much as blink, that cloud'll be gone, and I won't risk the possibility that I won't remember the exact spot.
Some part of my mind, way in the back, nudges at me and says that Hodgins is in there, too. Truth be told, I like the dirt geek, but the damnable truth is I don't give a rat's that he's there. Because Bones is in there. My Bones.
Some other tiny backburner in my mind muses that Bones would think my current thoughts were possessive and ridiculous, but that doesn't matter, either. Because, well, for one, she can't read my mind. It's private, damn it.
And two…I'm digging. I'm shifting rock. She's beneath it, beneath all this rock. And I'm going to get her out.
A hand! Relief yanks at me hard. I grab at her hand, and pull with everything I've got. I'm probably going to break her wrist, but the choice between a broken wrist and a dead Bones is not a hard one to make.
Finally, her torso. I wrap my arms around her, pulling, pleading. God, if I ever do anything in my life, let me do this.
None too soon, Bones is on the ground, where she belongs. On it. Not in. I want to stop, to hold her in my arms until my heart stops racing, but I can't relax yet. Now that Bones is safe, I have to help dig out Hodgins. (Because I'd really rather that bug guy not die.)
Hodgins is out, also alive. Angela's all over him, which is fine by me. I sit next to Bones with a thud. She looks at me.
And the next thing I know, we're grinning like idiots.
Despite the adrenaline-spiked hours of pure fear, I meet her eyes and I know that – though we disagree on so much – our minds are one in this small, perfect moment:
Dumbass criminal thinks he can bury WHO?
(…Okay, I'm pretty sure her version is more…articulate. But the meaning is the same.)
Bones and I are getting into my truck. We've just left the church – my original reservations for not wanting Bones in just that one part of my life were still valid, but after nearly losing her, I didn't have the heart or the energy to deny her. Those same original reservations proved true – same old Bones, rationalizing and denying God, even in his own house. At least the Gravedigger didn't conk that out of her when he stunned her in the back of the neck.
The night road is long and dark, and shiny – it's been raining. She's sitting next to me very quietly – she's upset. She likes to think she can hide it, but I can tell. I just know her. Well, I ask her what's wrong. Her answer: nothing.
It's not nothing. I don't need to be a shrink like Sweets to know she's upset. Probably something to do with being in a car so soon after being buried alive in one. Not that I'm going to mention this right now… She'd give me her classic rationalize-and-deny crap.
I glance over at her again. Her eyes are half-closed, head drooping to the side and resting in the cradle of her palm.
Maybe I don't need to bug her about it. (Neither one of us wants to argue tonight.)
Maybe I should just be…here. Maybe that's enough – maybe it's just right.
I reach over and brush my fingers over her free left hand. She jumps slightly, blinking at me. Then, her hand opens under mine, and our fingers entwine.
I'm trying to pay attention to the road, but my eyes drift back to look at her. (I can't stop. I almost lost her.) To my surprise…and sudden discomfort…she's still watching me. I feel like I could just live in her gaze forever.
Quickly I look away, for two important reasons. The first (and probably more superficial) being that I don't want an accident. (There's been enough bodily harm done by cars for a while, now.)
The second reason being…I've somehow, wordlessly, instinctively, deep down, just realized that I'm hers. Hers in a way that I could never – can never – be Cam's. My relationship with Camille feels like a fraud.
I have to do something. Do I stay with Cam? Do I break up with her? What reason could I give her for dumping her? "Sorry, but I'm in love with my partner, who I can never be with because I don't want to cross that line and endanger us,"?
More rampant thoughts crossed my mind. What if the line is stupid? Life's short – today proved it. Short and precious. Shouldn't I leap at the chances we have now, while I can? But, that doesn't mean Bones feels the same. I mean, sizzling sexual attraction doesn't mean the same thing as love or affection…But…
And, very gently, she squeezes my hand. I look over at her, one more time. She gives me a small, completely exhausted smile. It's contagious – I'm going nuts with crazy, unsettling thoughts, but when she smiles at me, I have to smile back.
The truth is, I'd trade a weekend with Cam in the city for just one car drive with Bones. But it's something I don't have to think about tonight.
Because Bones is here, next to me, safe, fine, alive.
And we've all had enough digging for one night.