A/N: So this started out as the nightmare from my one-shot in Physical Evidence and ended up getting longer and longer. Thanks to Anne Nonymus for all the help, PMs and pre-reads.
Brennan stumbled towards consciousness, noticing that there was a bright light blaring overhead. She felt thick, and she noted that her mouth felt dry, her tongue felt lazy, her motor skills were slower than normal which most likely meant that she was drugged and the effects of the drug were wearing off. She opened her eyes and squinted at the light that hovered above her, and tried to get up. That was when she realized that she was shackled to a wall; a long chain attached to the handcuffs around her wrists. Rather than panic, she calmly assessed the situation, closing her eyes against the light. She supposed that she had been abducted on her way to the airport. The taxi driver was the likely suspect, since her last memory before waking up happens to be getting in the taxi.
She was heading to Florida as part of her latest book tour. She was only supposed to be gone for a few days, and she calmly reasoned that when Booth didn't get a call from her as soon as her flight was supposed to have landed, he would begin to search for her. Then she remembered that he was on vacation with Parker. Taking a millisecond to mull it over, she deduced that he would still panic if she didn't call. Until he and the rest of the team found her, she surmised that her best course of action was to attempt to determine her who abductor was and to what ends was she taken, as well as a way to contact Booth and her team to aid them in their search for her. She was proud of the poise and rationale she was demonstrating as she opened her eyes again to get a better understanding of the circumstances that she found herself in. She turned her head to try and discern more details about the room when she noticed a table beside her. It was a larger metal table and there was someone strapped to it. That was when all of her calm and poise evaporated.
"From the research I've conducted, it would seem that the two of you are exceptionally devoted partners. I was wondering what would inspire such dedication, so I decided to find out for myself." Came a cool voice from the dark corner of the room. It was obviously male but that did not calm her.
"And kidnapping a federal agent and a forensic anthropologist seemed the best way to do that?" Brennan's heart almost stopped at the sarcastic remark. She could recognize that voice anywhere – Booth. Oh God did he get Parker too? She had to calm herself before she hyperventilated. "Couldn't you just try e-harmony? I'm sure that they can match you up with someone equally as pathetic and twisted as you." Brennan groaned as Booth continued. She didn't understand why he was provoking the psycho.
"Not everyone with a bad childhood ends up a psycho killer." Brennan gasped as he said that. She was surprised whenever he brought up anything that had to do with his childhood. Images of a little boy being beaten by his drunk father flashed into her head. He shut her eyes tight to try and make them go away. She needed to focus on the present nightmare.
"They end up a hero like you?" Their abductor sneered. "I've decided to forgo the route of champion of the people. Although I have to admit, I haven't killed anyone....yet." He confessed with an amused chuckle. Brennan knew how much that comment would cut Booth emotionally and wished she could find her voice to put a stop to the horrible conversation.
"It takes balls to take someone's life." Booth said menacingly "You just like to pretend that you have the power of life or death over people but when it comes down to it you're nothing but a coward aren't you?"
"Booth!" She exclaimed before she knew what she was doing.
"Don't worry Doctor Brennan, I know what Agent Booth is up to. He's trying to make me mad, mad enough to strike out at him" The man's voice caused goose-bumps to form on her flesh. Her confused look must have given away what she was thinking -Why?
"Isn't it obvious? Well, it would be obvious to anyone but you of course. Agent Booth is attempting to coax my emotional side to the forefront in order to distract me, to get me to make a mistake, force me to alter my timetable when I just want to play with the two of you for a while." Brennan repressed a shudder at his words. She did not like this situation.
"Why don't you just go play with your star wars figurines like a good little geek and let us go. I promise I won't tell your mommy that you did something naughty"
"Nice little jab there Agent Booth; but why would I play with figurines when I have a real life Han Solo and his Princess Leia right here to play with?" The man asked sounding excited.
"Don't you even think about touching her! Don't you come near her or I'll -"
"You'll what Agent Booth, hurt my feelings? Face it, I could do whatever I want to her, or to you for that matter, and there's not a thing you can do about it. Now where was I before you so rudely interrupted, oh yes...I was explaining to Dr. Brennan the reason behind your verbal attacks on my character. The other obvious reason is that he believes that whatever anger I'm repressing I'll take out on him. When I'm through, when he's bruised and bloody I'll have my rage sated and be less likely to do you harm." The images he was creating forced her to clench her teeth to help her control her breathing. "I can guarantee you Doctor that won't be the case. I have a strict schedule and I intend to adhere to it. Let's begin with the introductions shall we?" He looked from her to Booth and back again. "You may call me Anubis, Doctor Brennan may enjoy analyzing that moniker."
"You're not the Egyptian god of the dead." Booth said, surprising both Anubis and Brennan. "Don't look at me like that Bones, I have visited the museum with Parker a couple of times you know."
"Very good Agent Booth! And do you know what Anubis duties were?
"He was in charge of deciding the fates of those who have died; whose heart would be fed to a giant crocodile and who were to be rewarded in the afterlife." Brennan began to comprehend that Booth was trying to keep the man who called himself Anubis distracted. She began to try and come up with a plan to get them out of there.
"I'm impressed Agent Booth. Apparently you're not as stupid as you appear to be." Anubis said.
"Booth isn't stupid. Don't you dare call him that." Brennan couldn't stop herself from defending him.
"Ah, the lioness wakes." Anubis grinned evilly. "Good to see that there's still fire left in you Doctor Brennan. It would be amusing to watch that fire being extinguished, even more amusing to watch Agent Booth's reaction as it happens."
"NO!" Booth yelled "Leave her alone! You want a punching bag here I am! I can take anything that you can dish out!
"Including the death of your beloved Bones?"
"Please, don't hurt her...you want me to beg, I'll beg. Do what you want to me, just don't hurt her." Brennan was shocked to see this side of Booth. It was one she was never privy to.
"Well, this is an interesting development. Big, bad, alpha male Agent Booth willing to subjugate himself in order to save his partner. I just may take you up on your offer." The predatory gleam in his eye shook Brennan.
"No, Booth stop it. I can handle whatever he chooses to do to me. I am capable of withstanding pain better than you think I can."
"Oh, I don't think that's the issue here . The reason why Agent Booth is so willing to offer himself up for abuse in your place is...well Agent Booth, why don't you tell her yourself." He turned back to Booth, grinning like a kid about to get the toy he's been asking for.
"Is it your stupid alpha male tendencies? Your need to protect me Booth? Because while most of the time I do appreciate it neither of us are in the position to defend each other right now so stop trying to be all alpha male please"
Booth didn't answer her, lay perfectly still and stared at the ceiling. "That's not it." He whispered so quietly she barely heard him.
"I think that it has something to do with the only true weakness that Agent Booth has; his son, and you. I have no doubt that I could inflict whatever torture that I could conceive of, and Agent Booth would deny me the satisfaction of hearing him cry out in pain. The only way to inflict true suffering on him would be hurt you. Would you care to explain why Agent Booth?" Anubis was staring into Booth's eyes.
"Go to hell." Booth spat at him.
"Oh come now, I think that Dr. Brennan deserves to know why you're so willing to sacrifice yourself for her. Why it's become instinctual for you to jump in front of a bullet for her, cover her with your body in order to protect her from any incendiary device, leave a hospital against doctor's orders…"
"Stop" Booth hissed.
"Booth?" She couldn't stop herself, now she was curious.
"Tell her Agent Booth" Anubis said as he walked towards her, taking a knife from his pocket. "Or I'll cut her pretty little throat." Brennan backed herself into the wall as much as she could.
"Well? Why don't you say it then? Why don't you want me to touch her?" He inched closer with the knife.
"Because I love her" Brennan froze as she heard the words. Booth loved her? She knew Booth wouldn't lie about something like that, and even if she didn't the very satisfied smile on Anubis' face would have convinced her.
"You love me?" She was a scientist after all and needed confirmation
"Yes" His voice was hoarse.
"And what about you ? Do you love him?" He was smiling wickedly at her. Brennan was trembling. Something like this requires a considerable amount of processing for someone like her.
"I…I…" Brennan couldn't get anything else out. She didn't even know what the answer was. Did she love Booth?
"Oh, what is this? Agent Booth loves but she doesn't love him back?" The triumph in his voice made her shiver. Booth lay on the table staring at the ceiling. Did she really not love him back? It was the only question in his mind. He didn't even process Anubis inching towards him with the knife.
"No, please, don't hurt him!" Brennan begged.
"Will you say it to stop me?" Anubis asked, not even looking back at her. Her eyes followed his movement as he followed he brought the knife down, cutting Booth's arm, just missing the brachial artery. Brennan gasped but Booth was silent.
"I guess you really are as cold and heartless as everyone says" Anubis taunted before slamming Booth's wrist down onto to table the same way she slammed Howard Epps' wrist, effectively breaking it. Booth didn't flinch.
"You didn't say it back and he is still willing to take all the pain." Anubis laughed then. It was high-pitched and unnatural. Brennan gulped, why couldn't she say it? She watched from her corner as Anubis poured salt onto Booth's wound, he flinched almost imperceptivity but still didn't make a sound.
Brennan tried to break free of her shackles as Anubis carried a big bucket of hot water over to Booth. She could see the steam rising from the bucket.
"NO! STOP PLEASE DON'T!" She screamed terrified. Booth was still, simply staring at the ceiling; believing that she didn't love him back. Anubis didn't listen to her; he poured the hot water over Booth's body. Brennan watched in horror as Anubis attached wires to Booths fingers before flipping a switch. Booth involuntarily jerked as the electricity hit his wet body. Brennan could see him clench his jaw in an attempt to bare the pain. After what seemed like hours Anubis turned off the electricity.
"So, had enough?" He asked Booth smirking. "What about you ? Have you had enough? Are you going to say it?" He asked turning towards her, teeth flashing in an eerie smile.
"Yes I'll say it" Brennan said, trying to stay calm as she looked at Booth's still form. She could tell he was still conscious but only just.
"I…I…" The words would not leave her mouth. Her heart was pounding vigorously, both from the adrenaline and the pain of Booth being hurt; but her brain kept saying that she only speaks the truth and that love does not exist and therefore she could not love Booth.
"I want to say it" She was unaware that she had said that out-loud.
"Then say it" urged Anubis. Her mind and her heart were battling for dominance and her brain was refusing to give up the throne.
"I guess the great is incapable of loving someone" Anubis said wisely, as if it were a great truth. Brennan wished for Booth to say something to distract Anubis so that she could think. She willed for him to make a noise, any noise to disprove Anubis' theory that he wouldn't give that satisfaction in order to protect her.
Anubis pranced over to the end of the table, he took a pipe that had been lying on the floor and began rolling it in his hands.
"I think you know this pipe very well Agent Booth" Anubis said, staring loving at the pipe. "I can recall seeing in your personal file things about pipes and hoses. You wanna tell me about them?" Booth didn't say anything.
"Don't please" it came out much weaker than she wanted it to; much weaker than she had ever found herself speaking.
"You have the power to stop me ." Anubis told her. Before she could respond he whipped the pipe against the underside of Booth's feet over and over again. Brennan could feel herself getting faint at the sickening sight.
"PLEASE!! STOP!!" She yelled when she found her voice.
"You have something you wanted to share ?" Anubis asked, sounding like Michael Stires had in her advanced Forensic Anthropology class.
"I…I…Shit." Anubis laughed his high unnatural laugh again.
"It's ok Bones." Booth said softly. "You don't have to say it. I know I am not good enough for you to love."
"What? No, that's not it" Brennan said panicking.
"Bones, seriously it's ok"
"No Booth, I…"
Brennan was about to argue back when her voice died in her throat. Anubis was holding a blowtorch to a sharpened screwdriver. "This will only hurt a lot Agent Booth. It's okay if you scream" Manic laughed filled the stale air as stabbed Booth in the leg with the screwdriver. Booth's jaw clenched again but he didn't give into the pain. Brennan knew that he would not give Anubis the satisfaction of screaming. And she felt worse knowing that she could save Booth from all the pain if she just admitted that she loved him. The smell of burning flesh normally did not affect her, but somehow, most likely because she knew it was Booth's flesh burning, she became nauseated. All she could see was the handle of the screwdriver sticking out of Booth's leg.
"He is true to his word" Anubis' voice broke her out of her trance and she involuntarily looked at him.
"He always keeps his promises" She whispered, suddenly aware of the tears running down her face.
"It seems like it. I've never seen anyone take so much pain without making a sound" Normally a statement such would be said with amazement and sorrow but Anubis managed it with spite.
"Please no more. Please" Brennan said through her sobs.
"Alright Dr. Brennan, I'll stop hurting him." He didn't sound pleased or ashamed of what he had done. Brennan figured out why a second later as he pulled out a gun. He walked over to her and released her from the handcuffs before dragging her to the table.
"Booth?" Brennan whispered, tears still flowing down her cheeks. She could tell by the ride and fall of his chest that he was still alive; but she knew he must be in a lot of pain. At first she thought he would refuse to look at her since she had not returned his 'I love you' with anything but stuttering; but he did. His chocolate brown eyes met hers and she grabbed his hand in order to offer some comfort. Brennan had no idea where Anubis was, all she cared about was that Booth was going to be ok.
"Bones" He said reverently looking at her. Brennan could see his love for her in his eyes. His eyes told her everything and she hoped hers said what her brain was not allowing her to say out loud.
"I love you" He whispered and she could feel the tears start again. "Please help Rebecca take care of Parker, tell him that I loved him"
"He knows the end is near" Anubis said from behind her, making her jump.
"No!" Brennan looked back at Booth. His eyes still on her,
"It's ok Bones" Anubis walked to the end of the table and aimed the gun at Booth's chest.
"NO! PLEASE NO!" Brennan begged, still holding onto Booth's hand.
"I'll give you one last chance . If you don't say it, I shoot to kill."
"NO! PLEASE! DON'T KILL HIM"
"Would you rather I torture him some more?" Anubis asked conversationally. "He wouldn't mind taking it in order to protect you, but I figured I'd be merciful and end the torture for him. I bet it will hurt less than knowing that you don't love him"
"Last chance " She watched at he cocked the gun, still aiming at Booth's chest. His face had turned from cold and detached to clown-like, his mouth spread in an un-naturally happy smile, his cheeks red from exerting so much energy torturing Booth and his hair all over the place.
"Please, don't take him away from me."
"I am not taking him away from you. Obviously you don't want him. There is no need for him. Your life would be the same without him wouldn't it. No one to annoy you about sleeping or eating. No one displaying archaic chivalry that you despise so much. No more confusing emotions." He looked at her for a full minute. Brennan knew that this was her last chance to admit that she loved Booth and keep him alive. But the words wouldn't come. Anubis pulled a lever that raised the table so that Booth was hanging in front of them. Booth's eyes were still on her as he hung helplessly. Brennan tore her eyes away from his and looked over his body. She had seen him almost naked before (actually she had seen him naked but not paid attention because she had been so mad) and knew that he had an amazing body. But as her eyes roamed over his body this time, she noticed all the scars. Scars that in all the times she had seen his bare flesh she had never noticed and never asked about. Were they from his father, the army, being tortured? She noticed the one on his hip and remembered him telling Shaun, the foster boy, about how he had been playing soldiers with Jared and had gotten hurt by accident. Was that a true story? Or had he just said it to tell Shaun that accidents happen? Brennan's eyes wandered up until they were focused on the scar left by the bullet Pam Nunan had shot.
"I guess it wasn't just stubbornness that wouldn't let her say it Agent Booth. It looks like she truly doesn't love you." Anubis pulled the trigger before Brennan could say anything. She screamed as the bullet penetrated Booth in the exact spot that Pam Nunan had hit him. She continued to scream as he bled out and Anubis stopped her from helping him. She couldn't stop screaming even though her throat was getting raw. She wanted to look away as she saw the warmth leaving his eyes, his breath coming out in short pants the same way it had done the last time. But Anubis forced her to continue to look at him
"It's because of you that he is dead" He whispered in her ear as Booth's breathing stopped. Brennan stopped screaming. Anubis was still forcing her to look at Booth but now she could not tear her eyes away from him even if she wanted to. She was frozen. She felt like she was having a heart attack. Brennan became overwhelmed with the desire to escape, she elbowed Anubis so that he would let her go but he was strong and took the hit. She struggled against him to get free, she couldn't look at Booth's dead body anymore, the guilt and shame was so intense she felt like it was eating her alive.
"Bones, Bones wake up!" Her friends watched as she tossed and turned, anguish etched into her face.
"Bones, please! Wake up!" Booth was now kneeling beside her, trying to hold her still as she began to fight him.
"Temperance wake up!" Booth said with more force. Finally she woke up, gasping and seemed to not know where she was. Catching her breath, she looked up at Booth. Her heart was pounding in relief that he was still alive. Brennan decided not to waste any more time. She quickly sat up and enveloped Booth in a tight hug, aware that their friends were watching but not caring in the slightest.
"It's ok Bones" Booth said placating her. She started to cry as she heard the words that had been some of the worst in her nightmare.
"I love you" She said before she could think. Booth pulled back a little in surprise.
"I love you. I know you love me, I know and I wanted to make sure that you know that I love you to. I don't want you to think that I don't love you because I do. I do love you." Brennan rambled, Booth, still in shock, embraced her tightly again, holding her to his body as she cried. After exchanging amazed looks with each other, the others left the room.
"I do love you" He whispered in her ear. "I love you"