Disclaimer: Nothing even remotely related to Bones is mine, hence postage of fanfictions.
A/N: As the summary said, this is a "glimpse" of the Gravedigger trial, hence the brevity. I wanted to write more, but I had no idea where to go with this, so I decided that posting my version of events would simply have to suffice. I got the idea after reading a spoiler somewhere which stated the trial would occur in the fifth season, but god knows that hasn't happened yet. Hopefully soon, and in the meantime, you can enjoy this rendition and snigger later about how off-base I was, haha. Please enjoy and review!
"The prosecution calls Dr. Temperance Brennan to the stand."
The addressed anthropologist swallowed and began to rise when Booth caught onto her hand. She looked at him questioningly, blue eyes meeting brown, and he gave her a subtle nod and gently, encouragingly squeezed her hand. Lowering her gaze, flustered by the stealing warmth of pleasure that accompanied the gesture, Brennan smiled blandly and quickly in her own reassurance, still not looking at him, and detangled their fingers.
Her heart thudded in her chest as she took her seat on the witness stand, even though she had done this dozens of times before—forty-seven, to be exact. But then again, she supposed that she had never done this before: she had always been an expert, someone explaining the rigmarole of the human skeleton to her deplorably ignorant peers that composed the jury.
She had never before been the victim.
Caroline Julian, her hair as interestingly colored as ever, stepped up to the stand after whisking a bagged piece of paper off the evidence table fronting the judicial bench. She proffered the paper to Brennan and asked, "Can you tell me what this is?"
Brennan swallowed again, this time with considerably more difficulty. She had known this was coming—she'd been prepped, of course—but to see it here, to know what it was…
"It's a letter I wrote while myself and Dr. Jack Hodgins were buried alive by the Gravedigger."
"Objection!" blurted the defense lawyer, rising irately to his feet.
"Were buried alive by the alleged Gravedigger," Caroline dismissed with a wave of her hand. "Overruled."
The judge gave her a Look. "Ms. Julian, you are not allowed to determine which objections are sustained or denied in this courtroom."
The prosecutor nodded but didn't look chastised in the slightest. "Of course, Your Honor. Now, Dr. Brennan, if you would please read the contents of this letter to the court."
The plastic-covered paper trembled in Brennan's grasp. "I—I—I would prefer not to," she stammered.
Caroline nodded and then halted mid-shake, only just comprehending. "You would what?"
The brunette attempted to hand the letter back, but the lawyer wouldn't take it. "I would prefer not to," she repeated, looking anywhere but at Booth, even though he was blatantly trying to catch her eye.
"You have been asked by the court," the judge reminded her sternly. "You will answer."
"It's not even a whole page, cheri," Caroline pointed out brusquely. "And it's not like it's a love letter!"
Yes, it is, Brennan thought, and it was a sudden, visceral conviction, unbidden and unwanted and true. Regardless of the abruptness of that, the letter remained vastly too personal to share with all these people…especially Booth. He was only supposed to have read this if she were dead; she wasn't supposed to be able to observe his reaction…
"Read the letter, Bones!" Booth called, half-rising from his seat.
The judge went to town with his gavel. "I will have order! You, sit down!" The agent slumped into the bench, his inquisitive gaze focusing on Brennan again. The judge swiveled to the woman as well, irritated. "And you, read the letter already before this court becomes a circus."
Her throat was so thick—how was she supposed to breathe, let alone speak? And her hands were trembling so badly now that the carefully-penned letters looked like a child's scrawl, and were those tears blurring her vision? Dear god, Sweets would have a heyday with this…
Brennan made several weak, choking sounds and then began to read.
"Which I clarify as Agent Seeley Booth of the FBI, that handsome man who just stood up," Caroline smoothly interjected for the jury's benefit.
The brunette was too busy not looking at her partner; his head had jerked up at the sound of his name, and even in her peripheral vision, she could see the surprise washing over his features.
" 'There is a piece of bumper sticker that we found lodged in Hodgins' leg'," she continued, her voice somewhat weak but steady now. This was a simple recitation of facts… "'We believe it entered his wound when he was run down, and therefore belongs to our abductor. You should give it to Angela for reconstruction and analysis, and then you can further isolate the pool of suspects.'"
Caroline fixed her with a level stare when she ceased speaking. "I know there's more to it than that, cheri."
"Nothing that should please the court," Brennan managed to say, scrambling for excuses.
"I will determine what pleases this court!" the judge exclaimed, right on cue. "You people seem to keep forgetting just who is in charge here. Finish the letter, Dr. Brennan, or I shall hold you in contempt!"
Admittedly, being dragged from this witness stand and into the blissful privacy of a holding cell didn't sound all that bad, but the anthropologist rallied her composure and continued reading. Instead of the rhythm she had before, though, her sentences were staggered, the words themselves stilted—these were things that she did not want said, much less by her own tongue. It was too personal, too revealing…what would become of baring her heart in open court…?
"'If you are reading this…then…I have not survived,'" she continued, brokenly. "'We don't blame you for failing to find us in time…I…I do not blame you. I know that…you did the best you could…but…but—'" She paused, needing to swallow again, her scratchy throat persisting. She still could not raise her eyes to Booth's, and if her gaze had any heat, she would've seared a hole in the letter long ago. "'But it seems we met our match. If it comforts you, you may believe I am…in Heaven and that you will see me again someday. For…for what it's worth, I…I would like to think that's true…D-Don't blame yourself, Booth. It's….it's not your fault. It's not your fault. Bones.'"
"And what exactly is 'Bones', Dr. Brennan?" Caroline inquired, oblivious to her agony.
She knew she was blinking back tears now, and she stared dully at the letter, not seeing her handwriting anymore. "It's me," she whispered. "It's Booth's nickname for me."
"Thank you," the prosecutor said, taking the paper from Brennan's unprotesting hands. "No further questions."
The defense lawyer rose, but he did not even bother approaching the stand. "Is it not true, Dr. Brennan, that there are innumerable cars on the road with bumper stickers?"
"That is true," she replied, her voice hollow and indifferent.
"And so this fragment you found could plausibly have belonged to any number of people?" he pressed.
"Yes," she agreed, focusing entirely on the middle distance.
The male lawyer looked at the judge. "No further questions."
"You are dismissed then, Dr. Brennan," the judge pointed out.
She rose slowly, stiffly, as if she'd been sitting there for much longer than a mere five minutes. She began walking slowly, too, but as she breached the gate separating the audience from the judge, her pace quickened exponentially, and she paid no heed to Booth leaping to his feet and clambering over Cam and Hodgins and Angela and Sweets. While she was only walking briskly when she shouldered through the exit doors, she was at a dead run when Booth emerged into the corridor.
He considered giving chase but hung back, only listening to the clatter of her heels as they echoed off the marble floor.