A/N – Sorry for the wait guys. I don't have a whole lot of excuses. except that I am trying to do my best to get these stories rolling again. My brain is just not cooperating with my desire to write.

Thank you so much for all of your reviews, messages, and feedback. I appreciate the fact that people are still reading and enjoying. It's a sensitive topic, I know, so I'm thankful for any and all feedback I get.

I appreciate Valiumsofa, GCatsPJs, and Junkiecat, for their help on getting this done. Also, thanks to MickeyBoggs for her proofing help.

Please continue to let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

Chapter 21

Temperance Brennan sat awake in her hospital bed at 6 am. She'd been awake for only about 20 minutes but her mind was already busy. Thoughts bounced through her mind like a ball in a pinball machine, aimlessly bouncing without an exit. The only way out was to fail and that's exactly what her thoughts were doing, never completely processing. The thoughts were basically transient, not one of them lasting long enough to really make an impact on her. She thought of Booth and Parker and pain and even her father.

She couldn't really recall a time in her life when she had allowed herself to be filled with worry much less a time when that worry focused around another person. She though back to when Booth had 'died' and remembered the empty feeling in her chest. It had lasted the entirety of the two weeks. She wished, in this case, that she could just jump out of bed, let him punch her (which he'd never do), and then he could barge into her bathroom and everything would be all better.

She looked over to Booth, sleeping on the small pull out. He'd held her until the 2 am vitals check. At that point, a very abrasive Jenna had made him move out of his partner's bed. "These bed aren't really meant to be doubles and I've been really tolerant so far but both of you have to get some rest," she'd fussed.

Now, at least one of them was resting decently. Today was going to be a fairly stressful day. She had to deal with telling her father about her condition and she and Booth had to discuss what to tell Parker. Also, she had meetings with her accountant, her attorney, and her publicist. She needed to make sure everything was in order in case things became more serious than they already were. She needed to update her advanced directives, will, and complete the purchase of their house. She sighed and let her head fall back to the mattress. 'What if I never get to live there,' she thought to herself. 'Snap out of it, Temperance,'she was entirely frustrated with herself. Just six hours earlier she had been reassuring Booth she would get better and now she was having herself a pity party. She certainly would never have thought she would be in the middle of an emotional battle with her own irrational thoughts on top of a battle with her own damned bones to make the right kind of cells.

She wiped a tear from her cheek and sighed.

"You have a nurse's call button for a reason, darlin'," Jenna said quietly as she entered the room. "Wake up feeling puny?"

Brennan was taken aback by the assumption. "No, I'm fine," she said as she straightened slightly. "I was just thinking."

The Southern nurse nodded in understanding. "Well, it's best not to let your thoughts get the better of you," she explained. "Taking things one day at a time and even sometimes an hour at a time is the best way to deal with things."

The anthropologist simply nodded.

"Your bodyguard didn't try to climb back into bed with you," Jenna asked.

A smile etched its way on to Brennan face. "No, I don't think so," she wasn't exactly sure of the direction of the line of questioning. There had to be more to it than simply getting some rest.

Jenna nodded before pulling out her stethoscope to listen to her patient's lungs. "They sound clear," she said after Brennan gave her a few short breaths. "Hold still," she said as she poked a thermometer into Brennan's ear.

Only a few seconds later, it beeped and Brennan looked up at her with curious eyes. "99.2," the nurse answered without prompting. "Might as well be normal. How's your back and legs?"

Brennan had to take a second to do an inventory. She had been so lost in her thoughts she hadn't really considered how she felt physically. She sat up and stretched her legs out some. "Stiff but manageable. I'm sure it's from this hospital grade mattress," she said.

"Hate to tell you, darlin', but that's the ATRA talking," she said a bit harshly. "That's why I kicked him out of your bed last night. We gotta watch out for that over the next few days."

"Indicative of something more serious?" Brennan asked clinically.

Jenna simply nodded which was all Brennan needed. 'Great, something else to feel sorry for myself about,'she mused internally.

"You'll be fine. You got me and Liz and Dr. Brooks taking care of you," she smiled a little bit to reassure her patient.

Brennan didn't respond. Some things were too uncertain to even deserve a nod.

The nurse noticed the uncertainty and fear in Brennan's face. 'She might have a tough exterior but she's a very sensitive person,'Jenna thought of her patient. "You want something to get back to sleep for a little while?" she asked.

Jenna was answered by a definitive shake of Brennan's head. "No," Brennan answered even though the thought of sleeping a little longer was quite appealing. "I really need to get ready for the day."

"You are in the hospital. The extent of getting ready for most patients is changing flannel pajama bottoms every couple of days. We aren't running a fashion show here," the nurse fussed.

Brennan's answer was simple and confident, the first confident thing she had said all day. "I'm not most patients."

The nurse laughed a good Texan laugh. "I'm thankful for that, Darlin'. Now, let me disconnect you and you can go primp. Liz will be in soon and she'll get your morning meds."

"Thanks, Jenna."

The morning had been a long one and it was only noon. Normally, the day would still be young but today, to Booth, the day would be better if it would just go ahead and end.

Booth knew that Brennan would accuse him of being overly poetic or not rational if he said it aloud but to Booth the setting of the sun signified newness. Each day was a restart of sorts, a chance to try things again. That restart, however, was still hours away and there was still much to be done. Even when it was over, there was no guarantee that the next day would be better. The possibility that each day would be worse than the next was terrifying.

After a brief bickering match over Brennan's letting him sleep until she was completely dressed and ready, the day had been filled with one meeting after another. He was pretty much an on-looker in the first two meetings.

Brennan's attorney had been the first to visit. He wasn't sure of all the details of that meeting since, apparently, she had emailed the attorney all of the details she wanted handled. It was mostly just a bunch of forms for her to sign. She had arranged for the attorney to handle the purchase of the house for them. They wouldn't even have to be present for walk throughs or closings or anything. After closing, they would be able to move in whenever they were ready. The meeting with the accountant had been about the same. Papers were signed and instructions were given about the purchase of the house.

It was hard for Booth to not get lost in his own brain. Thoughts and fears swirled around constantly. He wanted to move into that house with her completely healthy and fuss with her over the size of the television to be installed. He wanted to be able to argue with her over the bills and who was paying for what but for now, that didn't matter.

As much as he disliked people of privilege and sometimes anyone who could simply be classified as wealthy, he wished now that wealth could help them out. Here was his partner, his life-mate, who had more power and money than she would ever know what to do with and it didn't matter. That could do nothing for her right now. He wanted her to say her whole "I'm the best in the world" speech and then he'd take her to the diner for a milkshake to calm her down and it would all be over. Not this time he thought as he let out a rather loud sigh, loud enough to get his partner's attention from her spot just across the small room.

"Just one more meeting," Brennan said. She normally would have gotten up to go sit by him but didn't think it practical since she had just been hooked back up to the IV so they could give her another infusion of antibiotics and also a unit of platelets. It had been disheartening to hear when Liz had told her that her counts were once again lower than Dr. Brooks wanted. Thankfully, this time she only required a unit of platelets and everyone was hopeful that the ATRA would get those numbers up in a couple of more days.

He moved beside her when she spoke. "I know but this is going to be the worst one. I don't like your publicist." He planted a kiss on her forehead before leaning back and putting his arm around her.

"She's one of the best and most of the other publicists are male anyway and I always figured it'd be better if I went with a female," she said simply.

That remark confused him slightly so he shot her a "go on" look.

Brennan rolled her eyes. "I just always figured you would be jealous since I spend a lot of time with my publicist."

"I am not a jealous person!" he countered.

She cut her eyes as if she was glaring at one of her interns who had just incorrectly named a bone.

He gave her a bit of a squeeze. "What you call jealous, I call protective."

An hour later, Booth walked back into the room. He had left to go call Rebecca as soon as the publicist walked through the door. He needed to talk to Parker and was hoping that his ex would be understanding of the whole situation.

He didn't say anything as he walked through the door. He could tell immediately, though, that things were not going well. He decided to stand, arms crossed, by the door. His presence was clearly in the room even though he wasn't actually a participant in the goings on. His stance, however, made it abundantly clear he would intervene if needed.

"Temperance, I don't understand why you aren't willing to do this," her publicist argued about something.

Brennan sighed, clearly exasperated. Booth knew immediately that this wasn't the first time Bones had said no to whatever it was the woman wanted. "Sonya, I really don't think that would be a very good course of action," Brennan said. "I feel as though a simple press release regarding my condition will suffice. My diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan should have no effect on my sales. People read my book for the forensics," she cut her eyes to Booth. "And. . . As I have recently realized, people are drawn to the relationship between Reichs and Lister."

"Are you kidding me, Temperance," Sonya said with a raised voice causing Booth to take two strides forward. "If we play our cards right, your sales will skyrocket. I already talked to several morning shows and they are willing to be here. . ."

That was it; Booth had clearly heard all he wanted to hear. "Get the hell out of this hospital room now!" he growled.

"Booth," Brennan said. "It's," she tried to go on.

"No, Bones, it's not fine. She clearly thinks you give a damn about book sales or turning a profit when all we care about is getting you out of this damned hospital in one piece," he yelled. "I don't want her anywhere near you ever again."

"Temperance is in a binding contract," Sonya said as she started to leave.

Booth took another step toward the obviously brave publicist. "That book doesn't get released; you don't get a penny anyway. Besides, I don't think you want to go up against the entire Federal Bureau of Investigation," he said. "I'm sure if I get someone to dig a little; we can find a few issues in your personal history that any other celebrities who might be dumb enough to hire you as a publicist wouldn't want to hear about even if some of them aren't severe enough to land you in jail for a few years."

Sonya simply nodded, stood, and headed toward the door. She got the message.

"We'll have the new publicist get in touch with you regarding the void of your current contract," Brennan said dryly.

After several seconds of complete silence, Booth sat down beside his partner. They both let their heads rest on the back of the couch and sat silently.

Finally, Brennan spoke up. "I'm sorry," she said without moving her head. Her eyes were fixed on the ceiling.

He pulled her in to him. "You have nothing to be sorry for, Bones, absolutely nothing," he said as he planted a kiss on her temple. "You okay?"

She didn't answer. "Did you talk to Rebecca or my father?"

He let go of her enough so he can look at her a little more closely. Her brow was scrunched like it always was when she was either upset or sick but he decided to let it slide for a minute. "Your dad is on his way back here from some place. He won't be here until Monday. I didn't tell him anything yet. He probably just thinks I've got him as a suspect for something. He didn't ask many questions. I just told him you were sick and to call my cell when he got into town. No details," he explained.

She nodded simply, thankful for a couple of days before she had to face him. "Parker?" she inquired.

"Becca said I can come by and get him after dinner if you are doing alright and are okay with it," he said as he ran his hand through his hair. "Angela and Hodgins are coming back by to sit with you for a little while."

"I don't require babysitting services," she countered.

"I know, Bones, but you have to think about their side of this. Angela is terrified for her best friend. She needs to be near you," he said before she interrupted.

"In case she loses me?" Brennan asked.

"Don't talk like that but yes," he said softly as if he didn't want to admit that it was true. "I'm not sure how to tell Parker. He's still young and he. . . he had this friend from school die from cancer last year," Booth said. "I'm afraid he's going to think that anyone who gets cancer dies."

"Just tell him the truth, Booth," she said. "He's bright and even though he isn't permitted to see me, he can call or video chat if he needs to do so."

"Thanks, Bones," he replied as he gave her a squeeze of pride. "Now, you never answered my question. Are you okay?"

It took a lot to admit it but she did and gave him a simple shake of the head. Dizziness and nausea had been plaguing her since her last infusion of antibiotics. It wasn't severe, she supposed, in the grand scheme of cancer treatment regimens but if she were at work and felt this poorly she would deem it enough discomfort to go home for the day.

He reached over and massaged her neck a little bit. "Want me to get something for you or call a nurse?"

She shook her head again. "No, I think I'd just like to get into some comfortable clothes and try to take a nap," she answered.

He stood and waited for her cues as to how much help she would permit. His heart sank when she didn't rise. She just gave him a look of sadness.

"Dizzy?" he asked and frowned when he was met with another nod.

He gave her his hand and helped her get changed and into the recliner with her feet up. She was situated and in a few minutes, after refusing anything to eat or drink because of nausea, she was asleep. He pulled a chair up beside her and flipped the TV on but muted it. He'd rather watch over her than listen to a ballgame anyway.

To be continued. . .