A/N: I've been running through a lot of different Aliens in a Spaceship scenarios in my head lately. This will be the first in a series of 6 or 7 vignettes exploring the episode from different perspectives. I know Together, Apart had some otherworldly communication going on between Booth and Brennan, so be warned: some of that is replicated here. It's just a theory I have going—love transcends all boundaries: death and dirt included. (No, no, nobody dies, I promise.)
I've played hard and fast with the details of the episode, such as who does or doesn't end up buried with Brennan, so don't expect many similarities. If you're looking for hardcore science or particularly plausible story scenarios, this is definitely not the story for you. If, on the other hand, you're looking for pure BB fluff, read on! :)
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Bones, nor am I deriving any profit from this story's 'publication.'
Gravedigger, when you dig my grave
Will you make it shallow?
So that I can feel the rain.
-Dave Matthews Band
From across the table, Camille prattled on about taking a weekend trip together. In spite of his best efforts, Booth found himself gradually tuning out her chatter. She was a beautiful, intelligent, classy lady, he mused guiltily. She wanted to go to New York, see the sights, be wined and dined—all things he generally enjoyed doing (except for the musicals). Things she had every right to expect from her boyfriend. Things he had once enjoyed doing with her. Unfortunately, the only person Booth wanted to wine and dine lately was his less-than-interested partner.
Bones' presence in his life had become a giant, oblivious sun, eclipsing anything he and Cam had once had. It was becoming increasingly obvious that seeing other women was not a solution to the unresolved chemistry between the two of them. Whether or not Bones ever got around to actually acknowledging that chemistry was another story, of course. Nevertheless, Booth knew he needed to end his romantic relationship with Cam.
That's what he'd invited her to dinner for. He took a deep breath to begin the dreaded conversation, when the phone rang. Camille smiled at him from across the table as he reached into his jacket and flipped open the cell. The message had gone to voicemail immediately for some reason, so he hit play. A mechanical, grating voice filled his ear.
The blood in his veins turned to solid ice as he listened.
Typically, Zack hadn't left the lab yet that night, so he was front and center when Booth burst onto the platform without swiping his card and set off every alarm in the building.
The look on Booth's face silenced any questions Addy might have had. Even his own poorly-honed intuition could pick up on the DANGER signals radiating from the FBI Agent. Regretfully, he stepped away from the cadaver he'd been examining, washed his hands carefully, and joined Booth in the conference room. When the agent failed to engage him in any attempts at conversation, choosing instead to stare fixedly at a point on the wall behind Zack's head, the scientist decided to run second linear differential equations in his mind to pass the time.
Angela was the first to respond to Booth's frantic phone call. She stomped into the room wearing fuzzy pink bunny slippers and a matching bathrobe. "This better be good," she warned, clutching the robe around herself. "I was in bed with a pint of Godiva's best and I Love Lucy re-runs!"
Booth waved her quiet and into the chair beside Zack's.
"Agent Booth is currently not interested in engaging in social intercourse. Therefore, I am attempting to calculate the angle of projection of a weapon," he informed her, attempting to be polite.
Angela gave him a blank look that suggested his amateurish social overtures had not been well-received.
Hodgins—unbeknownst to Zack, probably the reason for the ice-cream and reruns—showed up next. "Only you could make an outfit that tacky look so sexy," he sighed, winking at Ange, who suddenly looked very sad.
Cam hurried in before Hodgins could get himself into trouble by irking an already on-the-edge Booth. They'd driven to dinner in separate cars, and he'd rushed out with any sort of explanation, other than "Meet me back at the lab."
"All right, Seeley, we're all here." She took her place beside him at the head of the conference table. "What's going on?"
Without a word, he pulled out his cellphone, put it on speaker phone and hit play.
"This is all we have to go on?" Angela demanded. "A puddle of blood and tire tracks?"
"So far, anyway." Booth's voice was grim. "It's all we could find at the crime scene. Cam's doing an analysis of the blood as we speak."
"We're squints, Booth, not psychics! What are we supposed to do? Feel our way to where she is?"
Hodgins placed a gentle hand on Angela's shoulder. "I may be able to isolate particulates in the treadmarks left from the tire itself. Any soil or pollen might lead us to the general area where Brennan is buried."
"It's possible I can calculate the model of the vehicle based on certain engineering coefficients," Zack chimed in.
"Wait!" Angela's normally calm voice climbed the rafters. "What about me?"
Zack frowned. "Given that there are no bone fragments to create an image projection from—"
"This is my best friend we're talking about," Angela interrupted. "I can't just sit here and do nothing!"
"See if you can recreate some hypothetical scenarios of how Brennan might have been attacked, based on previous patterns of activity by the Gravedigger," Cam suggested from the doorway where she'd suddenly appeared.
"How is that going to—"
"If we can figure out what happened, maybe we can figure out how it happened. Any weapons he used, materials he used to make them, records of purchase …" Cam trailed off meaningfully.
"I'm on it."
"Good. Everybody's got a job here," Booth said tersely. "Now I'm gonna go do mine."
Since receiving the phone message while having dinner with Camille, Booth had been remaining calm. In spite of his own very personal feelings about the situation, he'd been doing a damn good imitation of Brennan, distancing himself from the situation and its emotional ramifications, remaining collected, professional, rational.
There was no doubt in Booth's mind that this needed to be treated as a national manhunt, rather than as a local D.C. crime. Since there was no way of knowing where Brennan was buried or how far the Gravedigger had taken her, the Bureau's vast network of resources needed to be tapped nationally in order for Brennan to come out of this alive. She could be in any state in any city in the country.
Whether or not leaving town with a victim matched the Gravedigger's previous patterns of behavior, Booth was certain an APB needed to go out, along with FBI representatives dispatched to every news network in the country to inform citizens of what they should be looking for. Maybe somebody in Alaska had seen an individual that matched Angela's sketch of the assassin. Maybe somebody in Toledo had seen an injured woman matching Brennan's picture. No possibility could be discounted.
But, however much pull Booth had at the FBI, he still needed Cullen's permission to mobilize the entire Bureau for this investigation. He'd repeatedly asked to speak with his boss, only to be put off because Cullen was in some all-important meeting. Now Booth glanced up at the clock on the wall. 7 hours of air left.
Calm wasn't working. He decided to switch tactics.
"You can't go in there, Agent, he's in a very important meeting—"
Booth barged through the doorway of Deputy Director's office, ignoring the pleas of Cullen's secretary. All 4 people in the office reached for their weapons momentarily as he forced his way inside, only to relax as they recognized one of their own.
The anger on Cullen's face didn't make a dent in Booth's determination. "Sir, I know this is a very important meeting, but I have something to discuss with you that cannot wait any longer."
"Agent Booth, I could have you arrested for interference with national security matters." Cullen didn't move from his chair.
"With all due respect, sir, this is a matter of national security." Booth sidestepped the restraining arms of his colleagues and took his boss' arm firmly. "I need to speak with you right now, sir, and if you try and have me arrested you'll need all these men plus several more to take me down."
"That sounds dangerously like a threat, Booth."
"That's because it is," Booth said quietly. "Arrest me after we've spoken, sir, take my badge and gun away—do whatever you need to do to discipline me. Just hear me out first."
Shaking his head in disbelief, Cullen pushed back from the conference table and followed Booth out of the room.
"This is all you have to go on?" The Deputy Director's voice was disbelieving. "A puddle of blood and tire tracks?"
Booth rubbed his face tiredly, fully aware that his career as an FBI agent was currently on the knife-edge of a cliff. "Yes, sir, but we've worked with less—"
"You barge into a meeting, physically drag me from the room and this is all you have to show me?" Cullen waved at the photographs on his desk. He held up his hand, cutting off Booth's words. "I know you and your lady scientist are close, Agent, but that doesn't justify sending the FBI on a wild goose chase."
"Sir, with all due respect," Booth insisted, "There's a serial killer involved, so that places this case within our jurisdiction—"
"Remind me again how this is a matter of national security?"
"Dr. Brennan is responsible for solving over 200 cases in conjunction with the FBI, sir, including multiple cases where the subject who was apprehended gave testimony of terrorist activity that might have occurred had Dr. Brennan not—"
"Come back when you have more concrete evidence, Booth."
"You're damn lucky I haven't locked you up yet, Agent," Cullen interrupted. "After all, behind bars you won't do Dr. Brennan much good, will you? So go find more evidence, Booth. And hurry. According to you, after all, time's running out." Cullen probably didn't mean to sound quite so calloused. Nevertheless, his words cut through Booth like heated sawblades.
Booth paced his apartment furiously. The Bureau had kicked him out of the office for the night. The Jeffersonian Braintrust had gently but firmly suggested he was disrupting their work with his constant questions and suggestions. So now he was at home, feeling completely useless and outraged.
He hurled a tennis ball against the wall, catching it on the rebound and sending it flying again almost instantly.
His mind whirled with what the squints had shared with him. Their combined efforts had revealed that, in all likelihood, Brennan had been struck by a car, thrown into a trunk and driven to a remote location—likely desert, given the nature of the particles Hodgins was analyzing—and buried alive in that same car.
The image was seared into the back of Booth's eyelids. Every time he closed his eyes and tried to rest, all he could see was Bones standing in that parking lot, reeling backwards in surprise as the car bore down on her. Bones hitting the ground, her head bouncing off the unforgiving pavement. Bones fighting back, even as the attacker took advantage of her broken legs to truss her up. Bones rattling around in the trunk, struggling for a way out, until her injuries and the lack of oxygen led her to pass out, only to wake up to the feel of leather seats and the eventual realization that she was buried alive. Alone.
"FUCK!" Booth slammed a fist into the wall, welcoming the instant pain that burst through his knuckles. "I should've protected her!"
The taste of fear and worry was metallic in his mouth, like the barrel of a gun.
The last time he had spoken to Brennan, they'd had a typical argument over his over-protective tendencies and his refusal to allow her a weapon. Clearly, he hadn't been protective enough.
"I should've listened," he groaned, sinking into the sofa. "If she'd had a gun, she could've shot the bastard."
Seething at his inability to do anything—he couldn't even get drunk, in case a lead turned up, he needed to be cold sober to chase it down—he replayed the moment he'd fallen in love with her.
They'd been having dinner after investigating the murderer of a man infatuated with horse "role play." Throughout the investigation, Bones had insisted there was nothing wrong with what the members of the Pony Club were doing, in direct contrast to Booth's assertion that their actions were twisted and a direct corruption of true human connection.
He'd launched into a speech about the importance of real lovemaking. Booth cringed thinking back on it. However much he still meant the words, his "alpha male" side protested the cheesiness factor inherent in such a declaration.
Here we are. All of us are basically alone, separate creatures just circling each other. All searching for that slightest hint of a real connection. Some look in the wrong places. Some, they just give up hope because in their mind they're thinking 'Oh, there's nobody out there for me.' But all of us, we keep trying over, and over again. Why? Because every once in a while, every once in a while, two people meet. And there's that spark. And yes, Bones, he's handsome. And she's beautiful. And maybe that's all they see at first... But making love? Making. Love. That's when two people become one.
His mind called up Brennan's response, and he could almost hear their conversation in his head. Unusually, she had hesitated for a moment before speaking her mind.
It is... scientifically impossible for two objects to occupy the same space.
Yeah, but what's important is we try. And when we do it right, we get close.
To what? Breaking the laws of physics?
Yeah, Bones. A miracle. Those people- role-playing and their fetishes and their little sex games- it's crappy sex. Well, at least compared to the real thing.
Booth had fully anticipated her rebuttal. Instead, she'd paused, thought for a moment, and then agreed. She'd looked down at her plate before speaking, probably because she was afraid of what her confession meant. It wasn't until Booth demanded to know whether he'd actually won an argument for a change that Brennan looked back up at him. Seeing her cerulean blue eyes glinting with hints of uncertainty mingled with amusement, Booth had realized that the only person he wanted that kind of connection with was sitting right in front of him.
"Ah, Bones," he groaned out loud in despair, regretting every moment he'd allowed to slip by without telling her how he felt . The digital clock on the wall blinked insistently, warning him of the hours slipping away. "I need one of those miracles. Where are you?"
Booth took the steps to the platform three at a time, ignoring the card swipe for the second time that day. Zack looked up from a computer in surprise. Before the scientist could react, Booth shoved a piece of paper under his nose.
"What is this?" he demanded, shouting to be heard over the shrieking alarms.
Zack blinked. "It's a chemical equa—"
"I know that, Zack. What the hell does it mean?"
Zack looked at the Post-It note again. "CaSO4·2H2O LL. The first part is the formula for gypsum. I don't know what the LL stands for."
"Isn't that some kind of rock?"
The guards finally reset the alarm, leaving a suddenly deafening silence in their wake.
"It's a soft mineral, more comparable to quartz or sand." Jack Hodgins stepped onto the platform and caught the tail end of the conversation. "Why? What does this have to do with Brennan?"
"Sand?" Booth repeated. "Did you just say sand? As in sand like the stuff you found in the tire treads?"
"Not likely. Gypsum is water-soluble, so it's not usually found in sand. There really weren't enough particulates for me to analyze for chemical composition without completely destroying the sample." Hodgins looked at him suspiciously. "Where are you going with this?"
"Don't ask me to explain." Booth slapped the Post-It down on the table. "I think Bones is buried somewhere with a lot of gypsum. Where would that be?"
Hodgins frowned. "It's a common mineral found in lakes, oceans, hot springs …" His preternaturally blue eyes widened. "Hold on a second." He elbowed Zack out of the way and keyed something into the computer, turning the monitor to face Booth. "White Sands National Monument. The largest pure gypsum field in the world."
"I thought you just said gypsum isn't found in sand?"
"Not usually," Hodgins corrected, typing furiously. "But the unique environmental conditions—"
Booth held up a hand. "I don't care. Where's White Sands?"
"Alamogordo, New Mexico."
"That doesn't make any sense." Angela appeared at Hodgins' side and stared at the computer. "If the Gravedigger only gives his victim 24 hours to live, why would he waste that time transporting her all the way across the country?"
"We didn't discover she was missing until this evening," Zack pointed out. "We all just assumed she was out on assignment with Booth, until he got the call at 7:30 pm. So, depending on the time of the attack, he could've had up to 8 hours to transport her. He probably started the clock from the moment he buried her. But there's a time difference between New Mexico and D.C.—"
"So we really have no idea how much time Bones has left. Great." Booth closed his eyes for a moment. "Angela, you were a travel agent for a while. While I go round up some gear, can you get me on the next flight to New Mexico?"
"Wait, dude," Hodgins protested. "You want to fly across the country to chase down Brennan in the middle of a United States Missile range? That's what they use the place for when tourists aren't around. Do you know how big the park is? It's over 3200 square miles. We wouldn't have a clue where to begin looking!"
"Angela?" Booth repeated.
Her olive-colored complexion had gone ashen. "By the time we get booked on a flight, out to the airport and on the plane, that'll be several hours gone by. Several hours that Brennan definitely doesn't have to spare."
It was a testament to his relationship with the team that nobody had yet questioned how Booth had come upon the gypsum clue.
"Can't you call in your FBI guys in New Mexico?" Hodgins asked. "It's a military base, after all."
"The FBI will want to know how I know, and I can't explain." Booth clenched his fists. "We're alone on this one."
"So the only way to save Brennan is to basically book a flight yesterday and get there today? Is that it?"
"Pretty much." Hopelessness suffused Booth. For just a moment he'd thought there was a chance.
Hodgins grinned suddenly and reached for the phone. "Your wish is my command, Special Agent."
"Did you just say this thing flies 700 miles per hour?" Angela squawked as the thunderous roar of the Cesna CitationX's engines filled the small private jet's cabin.
"Yeah, baby!" Hodgins grinned in delight, even as Zack nervously clutched the armrest of his seat. "Alamogordo is approximately 1600 nautical miles away. Traveling at top speed, we should get there in about 3 hours instead of the usual 8 or 9. Plus, we're skipping out on all the annoying, time-wasting airport bureaucracy."
In spite of the knots of concern in his stomach as to how much time Bones did or did not have left, Booth smiled. "I owe you, Jack."
The entomologist shrugged. "No, you don't. You have the hots for her, but she's my boss. And my friend. If I can't use my money and connections to save her life, I'm a pretty poor excuse for a friend."
"I do not have the—" Booth trailed off, seeing the expression on his friends' faces. The least he could do was be honest, given the trust they were placing in him.
"All right, so I do," he muttered. "I'm crazy about the woman, okay? I can't get her out of my head."
Angela's delighted squeal replaced the sound of humming engines. Zack and Hodgins high-fived, although Zack wasn't entirely sure why. Cam, who had caught wind of the team's activities at the last minute and insisted on coming along to supervise, simply sat back and smiled at Booth. He was immediately grateful at her understanding.
"So you gotta tell us, dude," Hodgins eventually insisted, after he'd requested champagne and beer from the plane's ample pantry. "Where'd the gypsum clue come from?"
Booth sighed, refusing to join the drinking. He had nothing to celebrate yet.
He set the alarm on his coffee table for 15 minutes. Much as he hated to take a nap while Booth was buried alive somewhere, he knew he was being less than useful right now. Sleeping on his feet as a sniper had taught him that 15 minutes could go a long way toward recharging the brain and its critical thinking processes.
Reluctantly, he closed his eyes. Sleep dropped over him surprisingly fast, resting on him like a heavy, warm blanket. As he slept, he saw Brennan in his dreams. It was like looking through a window he couldn't smash in. She was lying in the backseat of a car wearing the same khaki capris and low-cut forest green top she'd had on the last day he saw her. Only now those clothes were soaked in blood. Her hands were knotted in front of her and her legs looked awful, with gruesome shards of white bone sticking through deep gashes.
Booth reached out to her frantically.
Even in the depths of the dream, he knew how ridiculous it was. She was buried under tons of earth. How could she possibly hear?
Her hair was matted with gore and her lovely face was swollen and bruised, probably from being tossed back and forth in the trunk.
Bones, he pleaded. Where are you?
Abruptly, her eyes flew open and looked straight at him. The only part of her face untouched by blood, they glittered in the dark of the vehicle. In spite of the innate awareness that he was in a very strange, twisted dream, Booth felt sick at the pain inscribed in her eyes' blue depths.
He noticed her bound hands moving slowly and leaned in, trying to see what she was doing. In her hands was a tiny slip of paper and she slowly maneuvered it towards him until he could see what was scrawled on it.
"I just hope I'm right about it." Booth ended the story tensely, looking around to gauge the reaction of the team.
Zack opened his mouth to say something, but Angela beat him to the punch. She placed her hand on Booth's arm.
"We didn't have anything else to go on, Booth."
"Yeah," added Hodgins. "This isn't any crazier than trying to come up with plausible theories from blood and tire treads. It's possible the particles in those tire tracks did come from White Sands, especially if the Gravedigger was driving a rented car and used it to case out the place he was going to bury her."
"Why would he drive a car cross-country instead of flying?" Zack objected. "And why would Dr. Brennan send Agent Booth a message using a chemical formula, instead of simply writing down the name of the place she is buried? For that matter, if she did send a message, why didn't she send it to myself or Hodgins, as we have superior knowledge of chemical formulas and would have wasted less time—"
"Logic has no place here," Cam cut in. "We're operating on a hunch, Zack. Sometimes …" She glanced over at Booth and smiled. "You just have to go with your gut feeling."
"I don't understand how the gastric system can have any bearing on mental processes…"
Booth tuned out the familiar argument and sat back in his chair, trying to relax. In spite of his serious doubts about telepathy, he had faith in the unknown. And so he reached out across the miles, praying to be heard by the woman he loved.
I'm coming, Bones. Hang on.
White Sands National Monument stretched before them, dauntingly wide in its vast expanse of, wave-like dunes, gleaming in the fading light of the setting sun. The park gates were closed for the evening and, within the visitor's center, there were signs of people packing up to go home.
"How are we going to get permission to dig here?" Angela motioned to the many government signs warning off intruders and listing endless park rules and consequences for the violation of those rules.
"More to the point, where do we dig?" Zack asked. "Did Dr. Brennan reveal her exact location to you in her dream?"
"That would be the LL, I'd guess, whatever it means." Hodgins said, scanning the horizon. He pursed his lips and frowned for a moment, then grinned. "Okay, Booth. You and Cam go dig up Brennan. Angela and I are going to create a distraction."
Angela shot her former flame a startled look. "We are?"
A sly smile crossed Hodgins' face. "Oh, yeah, baby."
"I can't believe he crashed a Hummer through the gate of a National Missile Range," Cam moaned.
"Didn't you hear? The aliens are attacking and the federal government has to be warned," Booth retorted dryly. He wasn't sure exactly what excuse Hodgins had made up for his violent entry into the National Park, but Booth was fairly certain aliens figured into the story in one way or another. While Hodgins and Angela created chaos, Cam and Booth had set out across the dunes. The constantly blowing wind would quickly erase their tracks, and the dunes themselves provided good cover from prying eyes.
"The same federal government that's going to fire your ass when we get back?"
"You really love her, don't you," Cam said softly. It wasn't a question.
Guilt gnawed at Booth. "I'm sorry, Cam. I never meant for you to find out this way."
"I've known for a while. So stop blaming yourself like I know you are." She poked him in the ribs, forcing him to glance over at her. "It's okay, Seeley. It's my own fault for enjoying the sex so much that I took my time ending things."
"It was pretty good, wasn't it." It wasn't a question.
"Mmmm," Saroyan responded, grinning. "Brennan's a lucky lady."
"Was I really that obvious?" Booth focused on moving smoothly and quickly across the unstable gypsum sands. Beautiful as they were, the dunes had the consistency of uncooked sugar-cookie dough and made walking fast an exercise in frustration. Plus, the shovels they carried were damn heavy.
"You both were."
He almost stopped walking. Almost, but not quite. "Both?" he repeated, keeping his tone light.
"Yes. You were like blind, lovesick puppies, the two of you," Cam muttered. "Now where are we going again?"
"Lake Lucero. It's a dry lake bed that's usually used for military activities, so access is restricted to ranger-guided tours."
"And you figured this out how?" She panted slightly as she struggled to keep up.
"I did some research online while you guys slept on the plane. It's the only "LL" I found on the White Sands website."
"So this is all one big guess."
"And you're sure you know where we're going, Mr. Army Ranger?"
Booth waved a map he'd printed out during the flight, a compass he always carried with him, and a high-tech GPS provided by Hodgins. "Yep."
Please, God, let me be right about all ofthis, he prayed silently.
Hold on, Bones. Please, hold on.
The dry, crystalline sands of Lake Lucero crunched under Booth and Cam's feet.
"Where do we dig?" Cam asked, hefting the shovel in her hand.
Booth hushed her and stood silently, staring out at the bleak landscape before him.
I'm here, Bones. Now where the hell are you?
He flipped off their flashlights and stood waiting for some kind of sign. Small details of the landscape began to filter into his mind. Obviously, there was still some water beneath the dead lake, as small plants had sprung up in tiny patches. For the most part, the sand was unbroken, pale yellow, the color of pollen, gleaming vividly in the moonlight. But in the distance, the sand seemed roughed up. Kind of a darker color. Muddy.
Booth turned and faced his friend. "There's live ammo all around us, Cam. That's probably one of the reasons he buried her here. Wait for me."
"Like hell I am," Saroyan retorted. "I didn't come all this way to sit around and watch. Lead the way."
He threw his shovel across his shoulder and set off across the lake at a dead run, aiming for the one anomaly in an otherwise smooth, golden landscape.
As he ran, he tried to explain. "He couldn't have buried her in the sand. This gypsum is so fine-grained—unless he had an earth mover, which would have been too obvious—the sand would have kept caving in, making it impossible to bury anybody the way he likes to. I mean, you could bury a body, I guess, but a car would take a lot more effort."
"So we're looking for … not sand?" Cam wheezed gamely at his side.
"Mud. Tire tracks. There!" Booth pointed to the vivid print of a tire several feet away. He unshouldered his shovel and dug the blade into the damp earth.
They dug furiously, forgetting the fatigue from the hours of walking. Overhead, the moon disappeared behind a cloud and they worked in darkness, silently racing the clock.
The loud clang of metal on metal abruptly shattered the silence and Booth dropped his shovel and jumped into the sizeable hole he and Cam had dug. Using his bare hands, he scooped away layers of mud frantically.
"It's here!" His shout echoed across the desert as he unearthed the red roof of a vehicle.
Cam joined him in the hole, scrabbling downwards to reach the rest of the car.
Please, God, please.
The windows of the car began to come into view. Using the blade of the shovel, Booth smashed out the window of the left passenger's seat. Fetid air redolent with carbon-monoxide air hit him in the face as he squeezed inside, ignoring the knifelike pain as shards of glass and torn metal cut into his skin. It was next to impossible to breathe in the stale air trapped within the car.
She was in the backseat, just like he'd seen her in his dream. Covered in blood, bound hand and foot and deathly pale.
Booth leveraged himself into the backseat and smashed out the window from the inside. Cam reached in to help maneuver Brennan out of the vehicle, neither one of them sure whether she was actually breathing or not.
Back up on the mud flat, Booth dropped to his knees beside her cold, still body and sliced away the ropes that bound her. The sight of her injuries sent bile rushing into his throat. He pushed back the nausea and felt for a pulse. "Bones, please." He pressed his cheek to her mouth, trying to feel for breath. "Please, baby, please, open your eyes for me."
A faint, rattling gasp came from her chest. Cam's eyes went wide at the same moment that Booth realized Brennan's own eyes had opened. Just like in the dream, they glittered in the dark, full of pain and something else indefinable.
"Thank God." The rest of the world—even Parker, momentarily—faded away and all that existed was the beautiful, courageous woman beside him. He wanted to hold her more than anything, but settled for cupping her face in his hands and resting his head against her forehead, staring into the blue-gray depths that had haunted his every waking moment since she disappeared.
"I'm sorry it took me so long to get here, baby."
Brennan slowly, painfully reached up and wrapped her arms around her partner. Her injured body had managed to retain just enough of its old strength that she won the battle and pulled him down towards her, in spite of his attempts to back away to keep from hurting her. Booth was impossibly careful with her, holding his big body just far enough above hers so that he wouldn't aggravate her injuries.
Cam watched the reunited duo, feeling tears prick her eyes as Brennan's fingers traced his face, lingering on his lips, where Booth tenderly kissed her fingertips.
Neither was probably aware of the tears running down their faces.
Nurse Marie Gomez came in to check on her patient that night around 3:00 am. To her surprise, she found Agent Booth sound asleep in the hospital bed beside Dr. Brennan. The two were ensconced in each other's arms, her head against his chest, his chin resting lightly in her hair, their arms around each other's waists.
The nurse debated informing the FBI agent that he was breaking all manner of hospital rules, but decided against it when Booth opened his eyes sleepily, fixed his gaze meaningfully on Marie, then closed them again. The look had been sufficient to warn Marie from interfering with what he obviously saw as his sworn duty to protect his partner. It occurred to Marie that whoever had attacked Dr. Brennan was going to be in grave danger whenever Agent Booth caught up with him.
She watched for a few minutes, noticing how when Brennan muttered restlessly in her sleep, Booth's arms tightened around her and he whispered inaudible words into her hair, until she slipped back into sleep again. It was hard to believe such a big tough FBI guy could be so tender.
Plus, as large as the man was, the nurse mused before tiptoeing away, it was a surprise to find that he and his partner both managed to fit in the tiny bed.
"Good morning, beautiful." Booth poked his head through the hospital door and grinned as he saw the annoyed look on his partner's face. She was swathed in bandages from head to toe and yet still managed to look like she could kick the ass of any person who dared keep her abed for one more day.
"They took all my intravenous lines out hours ago. When do I get to go home?" she demanded hoarsely, still nowhere near recovered from her ordeal.
"Right now," he replied, stepping into the room and proffering a blanket.
She blinked in surprise. "Now?"
"Now," he confirmed, stepping over to her bed. "Put your arms around my neck."
He silenced her question with a slow, gentle kiss. "The doctors said you were causing trouble," he teased when they finally broke apart, enveloping her in the blanket.
"I was merely trying to inquire as to the particulars of my treatment!"
"So I got them to release you into my care," Booth continued, as though she hadn't spoken. "And you can cause all the trouble you like once we get home."
"My home or your home?" she asked instantly, apparently aware of his desire to cart her off to his place so he could oversee every aspect of her recovery.
"Yours," he reassured her. "But Parker's out of town with his mom for a couple of weeks and I'm camping out on your couch at least that long."
He fully expected her to protest. Instead, she wrapped her arms around his neck as he had asked and smiled.
"Would you really prefer the couch to the bed?" she murmured in his ear as he lifted her from the bed and into his arms, big bulky leg casts and all.
His kiss gave her all the answers she'd ever needed.
"Booth?" Brennan's sleepy voice murmured into the darkness of her bedroom.
"Shhh." He slid the glass of water onto the nightstand table and crawled into bed, drawing her into his arms. "Go back to sleep."
"Angela told me about the dream. The one that she says helped you find me."
He waited uncertainly, not at all sure of how Bones' rational scientific mind would have processed such a story.
"I don't know what to think," she admitted after a long silence. "There's no empirical data to support the hypothesis that you found me through telepathy."
"I don't understand it either." He drew lazy circles on her lower back. "The important thing is that I found you. Does it really matter how?"
"To me it does."
"Then I'm sure you'll figure it out eventually," he said softly. "If anyone can, it'll be you."
She was silent for so long that he thought she'd fallen asleep, until her voice broke through the darkness again.
"When I was in the backseat of the car, I was afraid."
Booth's gut clenched and he tightened his hold on her, wishing he could protect her from the memories.
"I was in so much pain."
"I know, baby." The endearment slipped out accidentally and he was grateful when she didn't reprimand him.
"And then it was suddenly like I heard a voice. Your voice, asking me where I was. I thought I was hallucinating. "
He swallowed a large lump in his throat. "I wish I could've been there with you."
Her voice took on a wondering quality. "Booth, I don't understand it at all, but it was like you were suddenly there, inside my head. And I wasn't so afraid anymore. Does that make any sense?"
"No." Booth turned her in his arms and kissed her fiercely, showing her with actions what couldn't begin to be expressed in words. "And yes. Does that make any sense?"
She kissed him in return, laughing. "No. And yes."
The darkness around them receded as they made love slowly, falling asleep in each other's arms as the sun rose.
It is… scientifically impossible for two objects to occupy the same space.
Yeah, but what's important is we try. And when we do it right, we get close.
To what? Breaking the laws of physics?
Yeah, Bones. A miracle.