A/N: Sorry for the inexcusable delay. No excuse but that life is genuinely excrement right now. I'm not dead...yet. Still have a little bit of time left so I thought I'd finish this off.
Thanks to all the people who've read any of my stories and are still reading this.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones or any of its characters.
Pull Me Through
Cam sat hunched over in her seat, her hands clasped together tightly, her eyes clamped shut, praying. For someone who didn't consider herself a religious person, she found herself praying more in the last few years than she had for her entire life; when Epps had targeted the team, when the gravedigger had taken three of her people in two separate instances, when Booth had his first surgery, and when she thought that the pregnancy test she found in the bathroom was Michelle's. And here she was again, pleading with whatever deity was listening that her best friend would survive his second brain surgery. As a doctor, she knew the statistics. As someone who's known Booth for over ten years, she knew better. If there was anyone who could get through this, it was him, especially if he knew that there was a chance that he could have a future with the woman he's loved practically since he first laid eyes on her six years ago, he'd pull through. He had to. There were just too many people who needed him to.
"Dr. B!" she heard Hodgins exclaim. "Thank God you're here!"
She opened her eyes to find Brennan, surrounded by the others who took turns hugging her, and she did thank god. She exhaled heavily in relief, and as she stood up to welcome Brennan back, she could feel tears brimming in her eyes. For the first time since Booth walked into her office the day before, she was starting to think that maybe-just maybe everything could turn out all right.
"I don't think that there are words to express how happy I am to see you." she sniffed, giving Brennan a warm hug.
"I'm happy to see you as well Cam," replied Brennan, hugging her back. "and I'm glad that I got a chance to see Booth before he went into surgery."
"You did?" asked Cam as they separated. There was no stopping her tears as she asked Brennan what happened when she saw Booth.
"I had to convince him that I wasn't a hallucination," admitted Brennan. "But ultimately I was able to prove to him that I was real. And I told him that I love him."
"You did?" they all chimed in simultaneously. They looked at each other and laughed, knowing that they all thought the same thing-it's about damn time that she did.
"Yes, I told him," she said quietly, and despite her obvious exhaustion she seemed to glow with happiness. "And he said that he loves me too."
"Of course he did," laughed Cam. "It's pretty obvious how Booth feels about you Brennan."
"Reflecting upon the years that Booth and I have known each other, I was able to surmise the depth of feeling that he had for me from his behavior towards me," agreed Brennan. "However, it is another matter altogether to hear him say the words, and to be able to tell him how I feel about him as well."
"Finally!" exclaimed Angela. "Took the two of you long enough."
"Speaking of something taking a long time, you must be exhausted after your trip home," said Sweets understandingly. "If you want, I can take you home so that you can take a shower, maybe a nap-"
"My condo has already been subleased," Brennan informed them. "It's currently occupied and the tenants have signed a year's lease. As of right now I don't have a home."
"Sweetie, you can stay with us," offered Angela. "Jack and I have plenty of room. And Sweets is right, you've had a hell of a day. If you want, Jack can drop you off at our place and get cleaned up and get some rest. When Booth is out of surgery, we'll come and get you."
"No," Brennan said adamantly. "I'm not going anywhere until I know that Booth is all right."
"Brennan, I hate to be the one to say this, but you look like you haven't had a wink of sleep and you're just about ready to keel over," said Cam gently. "We understand that you want to be here for Booth, but it won't hurt for you to get some sleep. We promise that the minute we hear anything-"
"No," Brennan interrupted stubbornly. "I won't leave this hospital unless Booth leaves with me."
They all exchanged a look of cautious concern. They were glad that Brennan was finally able to recognize her feelings for Booth, but they were worried about her welfare and the possibility that she was pushing herself to the brink to prove herself to Booth and make up for mistakes of the past.
"Dr. Brennan, we understand your concern for Booth," said Sweets in his most soothing voice. "However, it's obvious that you haven't slept, and if he were standing here with us, he would be the first to insist that you get some rest."
"Booth isn't standing here with us because he's having brain surgery," Brennan pointed out. "And if the situation was reversed, I'm certain that Booth would refuse to leave as well."
Brennan took a seat on one of the padded waiting room chairs, denoting her unwillingness to discuss the matter any further. They exchanged looks, knowing that there wasn't anything that any of them could say to change her mind.
"I'll have someone bring your luggage here so that you can at least have a change of clothes," sighed Hodgins, taking out his cell phone.
"I'll ask Justine if you can use the nurse's change room to get cleaned up." offered Angela.
"Anyone want anything from the food court downstairs?" asked Cam, grabbing her purse. "I'm going to go get myself a sandwich and a coffee, so I might as well take orders."
The only thing that everyone else seemed to want was a coffee, so Cam shrugged and turned to Brennan.
"What about you Brennan, did you get to eat on the way here?" she asked.
"I had a granola bar on the jet." replied Brennan.
"All right then, I'll grab you a salad." Cam nodded as she left.
"You need to eat Dr Brennan." Sweets reminded Brennan while stopping her from refusing Cam's offer.
"I'm perfectly capable of getting myself something to eat if I were hungry." huffed Brennan, exhaustion finally getting to her. "Why do you, Cam and Booth not realize this?"
"We don't do it because we question your competency," soothed Sweets. "We do it because we care. Because people who are as passionate and brilliant as yourself sometimes have a tendency to drive themselves too hard. All they see is the big picture, and they overlook details such as sleeping, and eating, especially when they are focused on something that-at the time-seems more important. When that happens, its up to the people that care about them to step in and help them with all of those little things so that they can keep their focus on what is important."
Overwhelmed by her emotions and her fatigue, Brennan simply nodded. Sweets smiled, and begun rearranging a couple of the chairs in the waiting room.
"Here," he said with a sigh and a flourish of his hands. "The chairs are fairly comfy. You can at least take a bit of a nap while we wait for news of Booth's surgery."
"Thank you." she replied gratefully, settling into the chair.
"We'll wake you up the second we hear anything." promised Sweets, bundling up his jacket so she could use it as a pillow. She accepted it with a small smile, anticipating that she would continue to have trouble sleeping. Instead, as soon as she placed her head on top of Sweets jacket, she found herself drifting off.
Sweets, Angela, Jack and Cam took turns watching over Brennan, none of them mentioning the fact that the surgery was taking a little too long for their liking. They each tried to find out what was happening with Booth, but all that they were told was that there would be someone from the OR on the way to give them an update.
At least Brennan was getting some much needed rest.
It was Cam's turn to keep an eye on Brennan, and the wait was getting to her. She sat in a chair beside Brennan, and for the first hour, she tried to watch the news on the flat panel TV on the waiting room wall. The problem was that she just couldn't absorb anything that the news anchors were saying. It was as if they were speaking in another language-under water. She then tried to read the latest Vogue magazine that she purchased at the newsstand downstairs, but all she managed to do was flip the pages. If someone grabbed the magazine from her and asked what was in it, she would have no clue.
Instead of reading her magazine, Cam's eyes kept drifting to the digital clock on the wall, and every time that she did, the time seemed to have jumped ahead. Unless someone was messing with the clock and her, the surgery was taking longer than she hoped that it would. Granted, she hadn't performed surgery in years, and neurosurgery was pretty damn complicated, and the last thing she wanted Dr. Jursik to do was rush it. On the other hand, she could understand the length of the surgery if the glioma was diffuse, or showed evidence that it had metastasized, but it was a single mass, and-
"Cam?" muttered Brennan sleepily, stretching in her chair and interrupting Cam's thoughts. "Where is everyone?"
"Sweets had some urgent messages he had to attend to, and Hodgins and Angela went to go get something to eat," Cam informed her. "They should be back soon. I got you a salad earlier, but when I came back from the food court you were sleeping."
"Here," said Cam, offering Brennan a packet containing balsamic vinaigrette along with a clear plastic container filled with an assortment of leafy greens. "It still looks edible. Do you still want it?"
Brennan was about to decline when her stomach rumbled loud enough for Cam to hear. Cam smirked and handed her the salad. She was surprised at how hungry she was and finished her meal quickly. She ate without really tasting her food, knowing that her body required sustenance to function at optimum levels. Or as Booth would put it, her body needed fuel to run.
She smiled softly at the thought of Booth before remembering where she was and why. A quick glance to the clock at the corner told her that she had been asleep for some time now, and since her friends had not awakened her with news of Booth's surgery, she knew that there was as yet no news.
Just then Jack and Angela returned to the waiting room, and before they could ask for any news the couple could tell from the looks on Cam and Brennan's faces that the wait was still ongoing. Shortly after Sweets arrived, and Cam, Angela, and Hodgins all shot him a look to warn him not to ask of Booth's surgery.
Cam caught Brennan glancing at the clock, and tried to reassure her despite Cam's own concerns.
"We haven't heard anything yet," said Cam, understanding how anxious Brennan must be feeling. "But that isn't necessarily a bad thing; it just means that Dr. Jursik and the rest of the surgical crew are taking their time and making sure they do the job right. There's no reason to anticipate a negative outcome."
"I know." Brennan replied with a shaky smile, not taking her eyes off of the clock. "Although I find that the longer the length of surgery, the more difficult it is to stop myself from considering the unforeseen complications that may occur during surgery. He's previously had an adverse reaction to anesthetics, and he's having another tumor removed from his brain. There's a myriad of things that could go amiss-"
"Dr. Brennan, I can only imagine how difficult waiting must be for you," interrupted Sweets, thinking that anticipating the worst wasn't good for her. "But as Cam said, no news is good news, right?"
"I've never understood that idiom," growled Brennan. "No news is simply no news, how can it be good to not know? How can being uninformed be something to be desired? I'd want to know, even if the news is bad, I'd want to know."
They all exchanged looks, all knowing that her surliness came from her exhaustion and her anxiety over Booth. Cam, Angela, Hodgins and Sweets all wanted to say something that would reassure her without making false promises that she would see through. They could come up with nothing.
Suddenly Hodgins spotted a doctor in scrubs walking down the hallway and heading straight towards them. He slowly stood up from his seat, squeezing Angela's hand and nodding his head towards the newcomer. Sure enough, as the doctor neared, the couple recognized him.
"Guys, here comes Dr Jursik." Breathed Angela, clutching Hodgins hand.
Cam, Sweets and Brennan stood up as well, apprehension rolling off of them in waves. If Dr Jursik noticed it he gave no indication as he stopped in front of Brennan and Cam.
"Hello everyone, and Dr. Brennan, good to see you again." he said politely, the wear of such a lengthy surgery apparent on his face.
"How's Booth?" Blurted Brennan. "The surgery was longer than I anticipated, what complications did you face and what are the results? Was the surgery successful?"
"Booth seems to be doing well," smiled Dr Jursik, causing the group to give a collected sigh of relief. "We did manage to completely resect the tumor without the need for a radical resection, but as you may have guessed, there were complications. The tumor was highly vascularized for a low grade glioma. We had some issues with bleeding, and stabilizing his blood pressure, but he pulled though. His vitals are strong, and he's being transported to his room right now. In my opinion, the surgery was a success, but the only way to know for sure is to do a few more tests, and of course a neurological examination when he's awake and lucid. I know that you all want to see him, but I suggest that only one person at a time go in. You don't want to overwhelm him."
"Thank you doctor." whispered Brennan.
"You're welcome." Dr. Jursik replied with a warm but tired smile. "I have to go check in on some other patients, but I will see how Agent Booth is doing in a little while. I suppose I'll see you all later?"
"You bet." Cam, Hodgins, Angela and Sweets answered.
They exchanged relieved hugs and high fives before noticing that Brennan was standing still.
"Brennan, are you okay?" asked a concerned Cam, turning Brennan by the shoulders to face her. "You heard what the doctor said, Booth's surgery was a success! He's going to be okay."
"Did you hear the caveat?" replied Brennan. "He said that the surgery was a success in his opinion, and that the only way to know for sure would be to do a neurological examination when Booth was awake and lucid. The last time he had brain surgery they thought it was a success until he didn't wake up after the surgery. That was when they realized that he had an adverse reaction to the anesthesia."
"Bren, they know about his previous reaction to the anesthetics, and I'm sure that they took that into account during this surgery," Angela reassured her. "It's going to be different this time."
"How do you know that Angela?" asked Brennan, fear apparent in her voice.
"Because he has a future with you to look forward to when he wakes up." Smiled Angela.
A little while later, Justine came by to inform them that Booth was in his room and could see visitors.
"Come on Dr Brennan," beaconed Justine. "I'll take you to him."
With uncharacteristic reluctance, Brennan started to follow Justine through the halls until she stopped at a particular door.
"He's waiting to see you." said Justine as she opened the door for Brennan. "I'll have someone bring up a cot so that you'll at least be comfortable there. I won't even bother asking you to leave once visiting hours are over."
"Thank you Justine." Brennan smiled gratefully.
"You're very welcome," grinned Justine. "Just glad you two aren't denying your feelings for each other any more. Let me know if you need anything."
With a deep breath, Brennan entered the room and fought back the flood of memories that threatened to overwhelm her. The last time that she was in a room just like this, with Booth lying prone on a hospital bed, his newly operated head bandaged, her pleas for him to wake up ignored for four anxious, strained, sleepless days. She swallowed back tears and fought for control, telling herself that this wasn't like the last time. This time was different, because as Angela said-he had a future with her to look forward to.
She also couldn't help but remember that he promised her that he would survive the surgery. And Booth kept his promises.
Brennan walked toward his bed, battling the urge to run as fast and as far away as possible. She had made up her mind to explore a romantic relationship with Booth, and she wasn't going to change her mind now.
She sat with him for an hour, holding his hand and sitting quietly beside him as he slept, imagining what being romantically involved with Booth could be like with a soft smile on her lips. She could have sat there for longer, but her thoughts were interrupted by a quiet knock on the door, and Cam peeking her head in.
"I'm sorry," Cam apologized sheepishly. "I hate to intrude on your time with Booth, but visiting hours are almost over, and we were all hoping to visit with Booth a little while before we all get kicked out."
"No problem," nodded Brennan, getting up. "Justine has made arrangements for me to stay with Booth while he's at the hospital, so go ahead and visit with Booth. I'll go and get some coffee in the hospital food court and return when visiting hours are over."
"Thank you." smiled Cam as she entered the room.
Brennan returned to Booth's room just as the announcement was made over the intercom that the hospital's visiting hours were over. Outside of Booth's room she once again encountered Nurse Perotta, and Brennan thought that the nurse would use the visiting hours to try and prevent Brennan from returning to Booth. Instead, Nurse Perotta merely gave her a dirty look before continuing down the hall.
"Don't worry about her," Justine reassured her as they headed into Booth's room together. The cot was already in the room and set up in the corner where Brennan wouldn't be in the way of the doctors and nurses who were there to check in on Booth.
"We had a nice little chat. She shouldn't be bothering you or Booth anymore."
"I'm glad to hear that," sighed Brennan. "While we're here I want to focus on Booth's recovery."
"Speaking of which, I'm here to check on his vitals." Declared Justine. She checked his heart monitor and his blood pressure before trying to wake him.
"The anesthesia should have worn off by now." she frowned.
Brennan took a seat beside his bed, wrapped his hand carefully in hers, and whispered in his ear "I'm here Booth. I need you to wake up for me. Please wake up for me Booth. Wake up for me."
"I was just restin my eyes." Booth muttered, his eyes still shut.
"You're all right?" asked Brennan breathlessly. Booth's speech was slightly slurred, which was to be expected after brain surgery. What mattered most to her was that he was awake now, and he was talking to her in that rich baritone voice that she missed.
"Yeah Bones, 'm awake," he managed to squint at her. "I'm just a bit tired. I did just have brain surgery ya know."
"Figures that he would wake up for you." chuckled Justine. "I'm just going to go now and leave you two alone."
"I was scared Booth," she admitted once Justine left. "I was scared that this time you wouldn't wake up."
"I promised you that I would make it through surgery didn't I?" he smirked. "Face it babe, you're stuck with me unless you want to pretend that you didn't tell me that you love me."
"You said that you loved me too." she retorted, once again ignoring his term of endearment and feeling better than she had in a very long time.
"I remember that," smiled Booth. "I'm going to prove to you that we can live happily ever after."
"I'm quite cynical you know," she warned jokingly. "It's going to take a lot of effort on your part to validate your claims."
"Then I'm going to need some sleep." Booth quipped.
"Go ahead and sleep Booth," she cooed softly. "I'll be here when you wake up again."
"Love you." he mumbled, closing his eyes.
"I love you too Booth." she replied, enjoying the freedom to finally be able to say those words to him.