I'd just like to thank Bookwormlady for insisting Just Another Mystery wasn't done yet and inspiring me to keep going with this. Also, the brief set of lyrics I used are "Angel Standing By" by Jewel.

"Tom simply won't communicate with us, sir. Not even through his men."

"You've talked to them?"

"They keep bringing out elderly hostages that were abandoned inside. It seems they only care about Agent Booth."

Brennan squeezed her already shut eyes tighter. She really didn't want to be hearing this.

"So what's the plan, sir? Should we send a team to charge inside?"

"We risk Agent Booth's life with that plan of action. But we're running out of time and choices. Has there been any inklings of his safety?"

In other words, was he still alive? Brennan's heart sped up.

"No. We heard a single gunshot about an hour ago."

Brennan couldn't help but to gasp. Her eyes flew open. Both agents turned and gave her dirty looks. They obviously wished she wasn't there.

I'm not leaving, she thought, returning their glares with her own icy stare.

"The police had sent a plant inside, and there's been no communication since."

So was it Booth that had been killed, or someone else? Brennan dared to hope Booth was still alive. As hopeless as it seemed and as weak as he was Booth was still and always would be a fighter. He wouldn't just give up.

The two men, seeing as Brennan wasn't about to leave, walked away losing themselves in their conversation. It occurred to her to follow them, but she decided against it. She wasn't an agent. She wasn't police, or a paramedic. She was just someone who's partner was in danger. And if she didn't play her hand carefully she could easily be sent away without a leg to stand on. These men didn't care who she was.

Since being treated she'd just been sitting on the metal step up ledge located on the back of the ambulance. Not knowing what else to do with herself, she'd watched everything going on around her. There wasn't much to see. Seeing agents standing around seeming to be doing nothing angered her. If she could get a hold of a gun she'd sneak by them and go back inside herself.

Minutes or hours, she wasn't sure which, had passed when Hacker broke through the crowd. He made his way over to her. "They're sending a recovery team in to get him out."

"Recovery?" Brennan saw through the delicate way he was trying to form his words. "They don't think he's alive."

"No one's sure what to think, Temperance."

Brennan directed her gaze to the group forming. Men were strapped with helmets and bullet proof vests. "I'm going with," she blurted.

"What? No. It's too dangerous."

Carefully she hopped down onto the ground. "He's my partner." I'm not letting him down.

Hacker sighed. There'd be no way of keeping her out and they both knew it. "At least get a vest. And be careful."

She strode over confidently to the task force. Hold on, Booth. I'm coming.


"Starting to break yet?" Tom landed another kick to Booth's rib cage.

Something beneath his skin snapped. He cried out at the flash of pain.

"Looks like you broke something," one of the men laughed.

Booth's breathing sped up. He couldn't breathe, and this time it had nothing to do with a panic attack. In his temples he could feel his heart beat race frantically. Feeling faint, he closed his eyes.

More footsteps. "I got some of the stuff, boss."

"What is this? Nothing's labeled."

"I don't know. I just grabbed."

"Well, whatever."

Booth felt something wet against his cheek. He weakly opened his eyes to find Tom's boot right next to his face.

"That's fine," he smiled down at him. "We'll just play a game of Russian roulette. It'll be fun."

Booth just looked back up at him. What else could he do?

Mere moments passed before he winced as a needle was jabbed into his arm. A cool liquid entered his veins. Blood appeared almost instantly after the needle was removed.

Not too long after Booth began to drift among a wave inside a hazy fog. He still breathed frenetically, but found himself unable to focus on much of anything.

"Ready to die, yet?" Tom taunted in his ear.

Booth wondered if he should mentally say goodbye to his loved ones. To apologize for all the wrongs he'd done. To all those he'd let down. Then he berated himself for thinking that way. No. He wouldn't do any of it. He wasn't going to die here. No matter what happened, if he had to will his heart to keep beating, it wouldn't be the end.

He wouldn't let Tom take him. No way.


Brennan was made to stay far behind the task force, none of whom were too happy to have her tagging along. However, it was her who was able to guide them to Booth. They'd no more entered the place before the agents began yelling for surrender. Gun fire was exchanged. Several of Tom's men slumped to the ground, dead on site. Tom himself was tackled by agents once he came to see what the commotion was about. Brennan side stepped all of them.

Now that the coast was clear she retraced her steps back to where Tom had been holding them hostage. On the way she happened to spot a body abandoned in an office. Nervously she stepped inside to get a better look. Natalie lay dead before her. Dead by a single gunshot wound to the head. Brennan felt that familiar cold prick of fear. She was saddened for Natalie, of course. But what did that mean for Booth? What had they done to him?

Back on the path, she ran the last few steps when she reached the end of the maze. Booth was precisely where she had left him. He was laying on his side sprawled out across the floor. Sporadically he quivered, his whole body shaking from the effort. His breathing was rampant.

All through the night I'll be standing over you

All through the night I'll be watching over you

"Booth!" Feeling the sensation of déjà vu, she hollered over her shoulder for help. Then she fell to her knees besides him. "Booth!" She touched his shoulder.

He didn't stir.

"What did they do to you?" Lying a few feet away from him she noticed a syringe. Her fear upgraded into terror. "Booth?"

The man before her gave no indication of hearing her. Again he shivered.

Brennan pulled him securely into her arms. "Booth, come on," she murmured in his ear. "Open your eyes."

Booth could hear her every word. But the drugs had paralyzed him. He was as limp as a rag doll, until he turned rigid from the shakes.

Brennan's voice was becoming choked with emotion. "Please. Just wake up."

He tried to speak. His lips moved, but his voice became stuck in his throat. There wasn't a single sound he could make to let her know he comprehended her. I'm trapped inside my own body.

Her hand touched his warm cheek. His body temperature was elevated. Sweat seemed to coat most of his skin.

And through the bad dreams I'll be right there, baby

Holding your hand, telling you everything's gonna be all right

Paramedics arrived. Brennan clung to him while Booth was looked over. She was in such a state of shock that she only just barely understood what was being said.

"Pupils are constricted."

"BP's high. Not happy with his pulse, either."

"Do you know what he was given?" One of the men asked Brennan.

She shook her head no.

A stretcher appeared. Brennan was forced to let him go. If she wanted to save him she had to trust those around her to do their jobs. Suddenly a maddening fury took over. She marched straight back to where Tom and the other men were being read their rights. "What did you do to him?!" She screamed at them. "What did you give him?!"

Tom only smirked at her.

Without thinking she slammed her fist against his face. Agents were slow about reining her in. But one hit was all she needed. For now. Seeing she'd get no answers, she took up her vigilance back at Booth's side.

Paramedics were preparing him to be taken to the ambulance. He'd been laid out on the stretcher with an oxygen mask over his face. Her partner already looked on death's door. Brennan swallowed back her tears.

"Booth," she held his hand before they took him away. "Just hold on."

Telling you, you were never anything less than beautiful

So don't you worry, I'm your Angel standing by


Months later

Brennan cautiously picked a path through the cemetery grounds. The grass crunched beneath her shoes. Over night the earth had frosted. The tips of the green blades were coated with white dew, even still as the sun was shining down upon her.

She went to the correct head stone and stood still. She hadn't been to see it since the funeral. Truthfully, she had no reason to. But this was where she'd agreed to meet, even if it did seem strange to her. It only brought her back to a time she was eager to forget.

"Sorry I'm late."

Away from the head stone she turned her eyes to see Booth walking up next to her. Despite the sadness she couldn't help but to smile. He joined her, smiling back before seeming to remember where they were.

It'd been a long, painful couple of months for him. In the hospital Booth had nearly died. Thanks to Tom he'd suffered from a broken rib that had punctured straight into his lung. He'd undergone emergency surgery, then had a reaction from the anesthesia mixing with whatever drug that had been injected into his system. Doctors were still baffled over how he had pulled through.

Brennan hadn't allowed Booth to live by himself once he'd been released. During his recovery he'd lived with her at her apartment. She'd been surprised to find herself enjoying his company. Since she'd turned eighteen she'd all but lived on her own. Sure, she'd had live in boyfriends. But never just a room mate.

She also liked taking care of him. Before her eyes he grew stronger every day. Bringing her back to why he had been running late. "Did they reinstate you?"

He nodded. "I'm playing desk jockey for a few months, but then depending on what goes on they'll let me back into the field."

"At least you're back." She knew he wasn't happy to be stuck at his desk.

"Yeah," he agreed without much enthusiasm.

He turned back to the head stone, bowing his head and crossing himself. Brennan just watched him. They were standing at Natalie's grave. Booth had yet to see it. He'd missed the funeral since he'd still been lost in a coma. There was a sorrow in his eyes she hadn't seen in quite some time.

"She didn't suffer," Brennan said gently.

Booth just shook his head. He sat himself down on the ground. "I heard them do it."

She knelt down next to him. "You couldn't have done anything, Booth."

"I know." He spoke quietly. "Sometimes I'm still really angry at her, you know? And sometimes I can't help but feeling like she was trapped. Just like I was."

"She wasn't as strong as you are."

"I just wish things had turned out differently."

Brennan sat herself down, feeling awkward. Hesitantly she pulled Booth's hand into her own. Tightly she embraced it. She knew how he felt. But she was just grateful he was alive.

He looked back over at her with a lame smile. Brennan leaned her arm against his shoulder. He released her hand only to put his arm around her.

In time they'd be all right. But neither one would ever be the same

The end