Disclaimer: I do not own Bones.
A/N: Thank you to all who have been reviewing, as I appreciate it more than I can say.
The boy then went to stand behind the chair he had seated her in so that she had an unobstructed view of Booth as did he of her. "So tell me Dr. Brennan why is it you have such a knack for trusting the most untrustworthy of people. It's like you enjoy being hurt and betrayed." His gaze settled on Booth so that he could watch his reactions instead of hers to his words. Booth's eyes hadn't left her and he highly doubted that they would.
"Is it that you like feeling betrayed? Why else would you allow yourself to get so close to a serial killer? You know the one I mean, that assistant of yours, how long did you allow him to help with cases? How long had you taken him under your wing and taught him? You probably taught him everything he would have needed to know how to get away with the murders he committed didn't you?" He was exaggerating as the assistant had only admitted to one murder, but he didn't care at this point and putting the thought in her head that he could have killed more and just not been caught because of what she had taught him didn't feel like a bad thing to him.
He paused for a few moments to let his words sink in, he wanted to be sure that she felt every word and that it started her brain working through the memories of how it all felt. "Or how about daddy dearest? I must admit I couldn't stop laughing when I read he actually handcuffed you to a park bench so that he could leave you behind again without you being able to follow. He took your brother, but he didn't want you. You were no good, he saw that then and he saw that the first time he left you behind. He knew you weren't worth the effort." He smirked as he saw Brennan's stature becoming stiffer in his peripheral view and Booth's face grimace in pain on her behalf.
"It seems you have no one that actually cares about you Dr. Brennan. Your parents left and not long after your bother left too, no one claimed you; you just got forced upon people who didn't want you either. You were never good enough, or someone would have wanted you. Still to this day no one of value wants you." He smirked at Booth as his expression took on an even more pained look and he could hear muffled shouts that Booth was trying desperately to yell out through the gag. "The one good one you managed to catch threw you back and left for the sea. He just left you and sailed off into the sunset because you weren't good enough to stay for, he didn't want you. The others you've dated have either ended up dead or were simply losers. What was the guy from New Orleans's name again? Graham Léger right? A doctor who ended up crucified after only one date with you." A chuckle escaped his lips, "You my dear girl seem to be cursed to a life alone, anyone who gets close to you gets hurt or hurts you. You should learn not to be so trusting."
"Then there was the professor, I rather liked him. A very bold move he made going straight from your bed to discrediting you in court. Oh." He let out a another laugh as he went on his eyes gleaming wistfully, "and my all time favorite, the man you consented to date as you were investigating his brothers murder, only to have good old Agent Booth over there come and arrest him in the middle of your date. I mean how could you be so absolutely clueless as to date the murderer in the case you are working? Were you hoping to be his next victim?" He paused again, knowing he had said a lot and wanting for her to take it all in. He leaned slightly forward from behind the chair so that he could glimpse her face and seeing the tear streaks running down her cheeks a broad grin drew on his face. He was winning this round and he knew it. He could tell the only reason she hadn't spoken was for fear of her voice sounding weak, or possibly because she knew once her mouth opened the only thing she would be able to do is audibly sob, and her pride obviously wouldn't allow that yet.
"Speaking of being a victim, who was it that put you directly in the hands of a murderer?" At this, Brennan's eyes locked with Booth's trying desperately to convey his lack of fault in that situation, no one had seen it before, it wasn't his fault, her head shaking as if begging him not to listen to the words. As if she were wishing all the pain onto herself so that he need not suffer any further guilt. "One who almost immediately after took you to a warehouse and attempted to feed you to dogs and gouge out your eyes? Maybe you just like playing the victim...I mean you do it so often." With that he stopped, pushing off the chair and heading over to remove the gag he had placed on Booth before leaving the room. Once he had he Booth began to shout at him for all his treacherous comments and all he could do was grin. Two birds, one stone. He could hear her sobs the moment he stepped out of the room and grinned, he knew she would crack, and cracked she had. Her sobs were desperate, and he could hear her gasping for breath in between them. He knew this sight of her breaking down completely in front of him had to break the agent as well. His grin widened further as he went upstairs, deciding it was time to take a break and get a few hours sleep. He decided not to darken the room this time however as he wanted to be sure Booth saw her complete distress, not to mention the lack of sleep would do nothing to hurt his efforts.
Booth had tried to fight by moving his head away as he tried to place the gag around his mouth. He didn't want to be unable to help Brennan at least with his words. His fight however was futile as he had no use of his hands to defend himself. As the boy turned and began approaching Brennan after placing it Booth tried to yell out, tried to scream at him not to do whatever he was going to do, but the sound was muffled so much so by the gag that barely a murmur escaped. He wasn't even certain the boy had heard that much from him. His eyes fell on Brennan; he was terrified for her and refused to look away. He needed to find a way to keep her safe, to get this boy away from her. He watched as the boy picked up the snake and felt his heart break as he saw her fighting her legs as they wobbled beneath her. He did feel a slight relief however when he saw the boy exit. Maybe he would leave them alone for awhile, and though he was unable to verbally comfort her he knew that if she just looked into his eyes she would be able to see the comfort he was willing her way.
His relief was short lived as the boy came back into the room. As he was watching the boy enter a deafening scream from Brennan quickly drew his attention back to her and he was once again horrified by the sight before him. Again he couldn't help but try to call out to her, only to have his muffled cries go unheard.
The boy's voice trailed to his ears asking her about questions. He wanted her to answer questions. Honesty had never been an issue for Brennan, so he wasn't too terribly concerned about the questions until he heard the first one. The question itself nearly broke his heart. He knew she was reliving one of the worst times she had been forced to endure throughout their partnership. As hurt as he had been to find out that she hadn't cried, he knew that she had felt the pain, she had felt the loss. He caught the glance Brennan had made his way and it looked as though it was some sort of apology. He had put her through hell with that experience and he knew it, what did she have to apologize for? He hated that she even felt the need to do so.
He couldn't hear her first reply, but the boy was obviously not satisfied with it as he all but ordered her to speak louder. Booth nearly tried to yank his own hands off as he jerked forward at the sound of her painful scream as the boy pressed down on her shoulder. He wanted in that moment to kill the boy in front of him, something he had never thought himself possible. To Booth this boy was just that, a boy, a child. Booth was against violence regarding children and it pained him a little that he wanted this boy dead. He couldn't help the rage that was boiling inside him as he watched the boy hurting his partner. Any time anyone dared to even verbally abuse her Booth would step in to defend her. In his currently helpless state all he could do was try to reel in his rage and focus on her.
He watched as an inner battle of sorts played out in her features. She still hadn't looked up at him since the first glance of apology. Finally she seemed to make her decision and spoke. The words that escaped her mouth cut through him like a thousand daggers. He felt his heart melting at how much she had cared and at the same time the rage at what he had put her through. Though it was in fact Sweets fault she hadn't been informed, he still felt partly to blame. She had been right, he should have broken protocol. He hadn't known Sweets would deny her the information, but he should have wanted her to hear it from his own lips, so that she could be sure. If he got out of here after hearing what she truly felt about it he was going to have to knock the kid around a bit for it. She had been through too much already for him to have put her through even more loss. In that moment he hated Sweets, not as much as the boy before him, but enough that he knew a percentage of his current rage would eventually be lashing out at the young therapist.
Just as these thoughts passed through his mind he caught the end of her gut wrenching statement, 'I hated him for leaving me.' and a muffled sob escaped his throat, only then was he thankful for the gag in his mouth. He would never have wanted that sound to reach her ears as he knew the pain it would cause her. He could not stop nor wipe away the tears that had begun filling his eyes should they decide to fall, but he could be grateful for her not hearing the audible declaration of how much that one statement had cut him straight to the heart. He never wanted her to feel that pain again. He never wanted her to feel any pain again, as unrealistic as he knew that was especially in their current predicament, he couldn't help but want for it.
The next question the boy asked was like a continuation of the initial slice the comment about how she had hated him, he felt a burning sensation in his chest and he fought hard to continue breathing. He wasn't sure he could bare her response. He had betrayed her and he had a hard time dealing with it on a regular basis just in his own head. He wasn't sure he could take the words coming from her mouth indicating it in the affirmative.
As she continued looking at the ceiling whilst giving her admissions of anger and hurt he couldn't help but wonder if she was doing it to keep the truth from him. If she had looked him in the eyes while making this admission and he had seen just how much truth were in her words, seen how much pain he had truly caused her, he was certain that he would beg for death himself if not that it would cause her further pain. His eyes were still brimming with tears as she finally made to look into his eyes. Her words then brought him little comfort, but at the same time filled him with a strange sense of belonging. She was happy he had lived, and she was finally admitting it. His only wish was that she had chosen to admit this of her own free will and not at the hands of a madman.
As he saw her squeeze her eyes shut and the renegade tears that escaped her lashes made their way down her cheeks he wanted to do all the hurting for her. Simply take all her pain away and bring it upon himself so that she wouldn't have to feel it. At a glance he saw the smug expression on the boys face and groaned into the gag, he knew it wasn't over just from the gleam in the boy's eye.
Booth wanted to scream out so many times in the passing hour as the madman continually told her she was worthless, and a few times he couldn't help but do so, regardless of whether they would hear him. He repeatedly had told her no one wanted her. He recounted times in her life that Booth knew would bring her close to the breaking point almost on their own, so stringing them all together like that was most definitely a devastating blow. Booth could see her composure slipping as he continued. Laying out all the negative things about her life was making Booth want to kill him even more, but he refused to convey the non verbal threat as he would have to take his eyes off her to do it. She needed him now, even if he couldn't hold her, even if he couldn't sooth her with his words, he could give her the reassurance of his gaze and hope she took it as such.
The words the boy spoke about her being a victim cut him as deep as they looked like they were cutting her. That was once thing he would never forgive himself for. Handing her over to Kenton like that, he should have seen it sooner. He should have never put her in that kind of danger. Just seeing her form crumple before the words he slung at her was tearing Booth apart. He could also see the message her eyes were trying to send him, her complete trust and belief in him still astounded him. He could see that she never held him at fault for the situation, but he could also see how absolutely defeated she was.
When the boy removed the gag from his mouth Booth immediately started spouting out threats and obsinities at the boy. The boy seemed unfazed however as his grin widened as he made to exit the room. As soon as he had gone Booth turned his attention back towards the sobs of his partner, "Bones..." He tried but to no avail. She wouldn't so much as look at him now. He knew her, and knew that this display was probably making her feel ashamed, like she was weak, but she wasn't. He had literally just put her through the worst type of hell Booth could have imagined for her, and she held fast till the very end. She did not allow the boy to be present for her sobs. He knew how hard she had fought for that and he was proud that she had done it. He knew how hard it had been, were it not for the gag in his mouth he would have succumbed to sobs in front of their captor long before she did. He had such admiration for the woman's strength that she would never know its bounds.
"Temperance...please..." He tried desperately hoping for her to look at him. He wanted desperately to help her calm in the only way he had access to at the moment. With his words and his eyes. Still though, she made not move to look towards him.
"Temperance, you can't listen to him. You are not at fault for any of the things that have happened....you are wanted...." His soothing voice made to caress her across the distance of the room, trying to bring her back to him. Trying to coerce her out of the despair she had fallen into. "Please Bones, just look at me."
Brennan still couldn't bring herself to calm, and she refused to look towards Booth when the tears and sobs were still flowing freely from her. She was unwilling for him to see her as vulnerable as she was in that moment. She felt as though he had taken and stripped her to her core. She hated herself for allow the words he had spoken to effect her, but at the same time as he had spoken them she found many of them to be truths. It was the truths that hurt her the most.
The blatant exaggerations and lies he had spoken she could easily look past, but the truths and the uncertain fears that she held deep inside herself never allowing to surface that he had spoken had quite simply made to strip away her defenses. Simply, and effectively. She had know from the start it was what he was trying to do, and she cursed herself once more for giving in to what he had wanted.
"Bones..." Booth tried again, seeing her trembling form across the room slowly becoming less haggard. He knew that it had taken time, and he had tried to continue muttering his reassurances throughout the time, however she hadn't really seemed to hear them. "Temperance, please look at me so I know you'll be okay...."
That comment alone made her raise her eyes to meet his. He was asking for her to reassure him, not asking for the opportunity to reassure her. How could she deny him the reassurance he needed after her earlier confession that he was forced to hear. She knew every word she had spoken had not only opened a long healed wound, but also hurt him deeper than anything else she could have done.
As their eyes met a shiver jolted down her spine at the raw emotion she saw within them, only for a split second before he pushed it back and was looking at her trying to convey his reassurance, "Temperance, don't think about what he said. It wasn't true. You are a wonderful person and there are so many people who love you. So many people who want you in their lives."
He watched as she nodded at his words, still not speaking. He felt so helpless being unable to effectively comfort her. He went on with his words however; as it was all he felt he had to help her through this, "I mean it Bones. You have a family that would be devastated if you left them. Remember before, when we thought we were going to blow up? Remember what you told me?" He paused and his breathe hitched as she looked at him, her eyes wide and childlike. They almost looked as though they were silently imploring him to go on; begging to be convinced of her worth. The thought that she had to be convinced was a devastating realization for him, however he wouldn't give in. He would make sure she regained her faith in herself, one way or another.
"Temperance, when you thought we were going to die you told me how Angela would be lost, and that Hodgins would need help to get her through this. You know how much they care, they love you Bones. You know that. And Temperance, I would never want to be without you in my life either. You are very important." He stared deep into her eyes and let her take in the words he spoke, "I mean it Temperance, you are very important."
She stared back into his eyes as his words sunk in and she flashed him a ghost of a smile more for his benefit than her own, "Thanks Booth." She said barely loud enough for him to hear it from his place on the other side of the room. She looked as though she wanted to say more, but instead when she opened her mouth again words that he hadn't been expecting flew at him, her voice still filled with sorrow and a child like innocence, "I'm tired Booth. I think I'm gonna..." Before she was able to finish her sentence she had succumbed to the exhaustion that had been wracking her body after almost two days with no sleep and the emotional exhaustion she had endured.