AN: D'Angeli took a vacation recently. And since I was feeling a little lonely/bored, she left me with some writing prompts. Here's the result of one of her awesome prompts. There are more chapters coming. :)
Many thanks to D'Angeli for her awesomeness as a friend & beta. And many many thanks to everyone who is so diligent about sending reviews and feedback - it really does make a difference and I appreciate it so much.
"This is Agent Booth," he had replied, barely hearing the thickly accented voice across a static-y line.
"This is Doctor Pauolo, the director of the excavation here in Xela. Dr. Temperance Brennan listed you as her emergency contact, --"
The doctor hadn't been able to proceed, his next words immediately cut off by Booth's panicked voice. "Is she all right? What happened?"
"I'm afraid there's been a cave-in on the dig. Doctor Brennan was in the anterior room of a temple and a support beams gave way."
His legs were weak and his heart raced. "Is she all right?" Booth repeated, this time his voice left no room for question. The details of the accident could be saved for later – for now all he cared about was finding out if she was all right.
"She's been taken to the local hospital. Once her condition is stable enough, she'll be flown to South Miami Hospital. It is the closest hospital in the States. They anticipate her being there within a few hours."
Booth felt his chest become tighter with every word the doctor spoke. He cleared his throat, finding it to be the only way he could force himself to speak. "I'm on the next flight to Miami. If- if - " he stuttered.
"If her condition changes or the timeline changes, I will call you immediately."
Booth flipped his phone closed with one hand and grabbed his keys off the coffee table with the other. His previously weak legs now carried him in a rush towards the door.
He made it to the airport on auto pilot. If asked, he couldn't say if he parked his car in the garage, or left it idling in the fire lane; it wasn't important. The lack of an overnight bag and the purchase of a last-minute ticket had caused some security concerns but with the highly inappropriate flash of his badge and a steely glare, he had made it onto the plane.
While buckling in to his seat with trembling fingers, he had the presence of mind to remember to call Angela. Unfortunately before he was able to dial, the flight attendant made the safety announcement prohibiting any further use of phones. Any other time he'd throw caution to the wind and call anyway- but right now the risk of getting himself thrown off the plane was too big of a gamble.
The minute the plane taxied to the gate in Florida, his phone was to his ear and Angela's shocked and worried voice echoed across the connection. She promised to rush down as soon as she could get a flight and, in the background, Booth had recognized the sound of multiple people talking. He vaguely picked out what sounded like Cam calling his boss on his behalf, as well as Hodgins reserving the Cantilever Group's private jet.
Reinforcements had been called in. And, not for the first time, Booth had noted how the team did far more than just solve cases. They were their own odd little family that stepped up in a crisis.
But right now, as he sprinted through the airport to the car-rental stalls, he realized that not only would his life fall apart, their family would fall apart without Bones.
Booth shook his head, ridding himself of the worry that overwhelmed him again at the memory.
He had arrived at the hospital only moments after her medevac had arrived and, despite his badge-flashing, name-dropping and the screaming he had done at the nurses, he still hadn't been allowed back to her room.
'Critical condition' the doctor had said when he came out to report her condition to her listed emergency contact.
The phrase had made his stomach roll with nausea.
He had felt his heart jump with tension and fear every time a nurse walked passed the waiting room. Half of him wanted to hear an update from the nurse – anything to kill this endless waiting game that had started days ago. The other, wiser half knew that any update from the nurse ran a risk of being bad news just as easily as it ran the risk of good news.
Despite the urge, he hadn't been to the hospital's chapel.
It was simply too far.
He had found the coffee machine. He had found the restroom.
He had found the hallway which lead to the unit where she was being tended. He had found that the doors required a key-card, much like the one he used at the lab, to gain entry. And he had found that his Jeffersonian key-card did not work at the hospital.
And Booth had found that the sight of Angela and Hodgins was as reassuring as it was distracting.
The puffy tinge to her eyes told of the flight she had spent crying. The look on Hodgins' face spoke volumes of how helpless the trillionaire felt when a friend was injured.
Angela had dove into his arms the minute she laid gaze on him. Booth clung to Angela as tightly as she clung to him. No words were spoken as they held tightly to the hope that their mere presence would help Brennan fight.
They staggered to the waiting room chairs and Booth managed to fill them in on what little information he knew, starting with the cave-in at her excavation.
"Definitely a concussion," he said, scrubbing his face with his palms. "A broken ankle and some cracked ribs. They said something about a dislocated shoulder, but they've reset it. Cuts, bruises, ya know?"
Angela winced as he spoke and nestled closer to Hodgins for comfort.
"Any idea when she'll wake up?"
Booth shook his head. "Getting information has been like pulling teeth. I've begged, I've screamed, I've threatened. This is the one time I'm thankful I forgot my gun in DC – I'm positive I would have shot someone by now, just to get answers," he had said.
"I'll go call Cam. We'll see if she knows anyone here. Maybe she can pull some strings," Hodgins said, stepping out of the waiting room to use his cell.
Booth had sighed. "You look like hell, Sweetie," Angela said gently, her fingers curling over Booth's.
"I had just gotten off an all-nighter when I got the call," he replied, suddenly feeling exhaustion rush over him.
She squeezed his hand. "Why don't you close your eyes. I promise I'll wake you if … anything, Booth. I'll wake you."
He looked at her, relieved to no longer be alone. With a small smile, he rested his head back against the wall, his fingers still curled tightly in hers as he drifted off.
He felt fingers running through his hair, gently rubbing his scalp and a voice in the back of his mind jolted him into wakefulness with the hope that the touch was coming from Bones. When Angela's soft voice met his ears, Booth couldn't help but feel a wave of disappointment.
"Sweetie, you need to go rest," she said, crouched down in front of him, gently rubbing his head.
"No," was his firm reply as he shook his head and blinked back the sleep that threatened to overtake him.
"She's right, man" Hodgins spoke up, his normally jovial tone having taken on a much more no-nonsense intonation. "You've been here for two days. You've got to go rest and change."
"I'm not leaving," he said, his hand coming up and scrubbing his face, trying to wipe away the physical exhaustion which was weak in comparison to the emotional fatigue that threatened to knock him out on the spot.
"We're all worried, man," Hodgins spoke up from Angela's side. "We'll take turns and one of us will always be here. We'll call as soon as anything changes."
"No," he said firmly, shifting and settling into the waiting-room chair. He'd be here when she woke up, no matter how long it took.