Booth could taste the adrenaline in his mouth, feel his heart rate accelerate, and his guts spontaneously tied themselves in knots as he slammed on the brakes. Shoving Brennan's shoulder so she'd put her head down, he put the cab into reverse and peeled back from the backpack sitting in the middle of the road. The engine revved and the tires squealed in complaint as he tried to pull the car as far away from the bag as possible. "Not fast enough," a detached part of his brain thought as there was a white flash and Booth felt the taxi leave the ground and flip through the air. He cracked his head against the steering wheel just as the cab landed and everything slipped into blackness.
The painful throbbing in his temple brought him back to consciousness slowly. The radiator was hissing and the annoying quality of the sound forced him to open his eyes. For a brief moment he couldn't recall where he was but the site of smouldering and broken pieces of asphalt brought everything back. He gently flexed each of his limbs and was relieved that everything appeared to be in working order. Glancing over at Bones, he felt a familiar terror as he saw her bleeding and unconscious face. He called her name but got no response. Reaching across her with his legs, he kicked at her door but could not loosen it. Her head lolled to one side, but she did not stir.
Panic began to well up within him as he pulled himself out through the driver's side window and dragged himself around to the passenger side. Reaching in, he grasped Brennan's torso and heaved her through the window. She made no effort to help him. Tightening his grip around her waist, he dragged her towards the sidewalk where his legs gave way and he collapsed with Brennan's head in his lap.
"Bones," he called anxiously, brushing a stray hair from her face. With a sudden onslaught of fear, he realised her chest was not rising and falling with its usual steady rhythm. Placing two fingers just under her jaw line, he desperately tried to find a pulse. There was none.
"No. No! Bones!"
Booth sat upright violently. Disoriented for a moment, he quickly realised he'd had a nightmare. Letting out a gusty sigh, he buried his face in his hands.
"You know, other women might get jealous to hear their man shout another woman's name only hours after we did what we did," Hannah's voice said softly from her side of the bed. Her tone was teasing but there was an obvious concern underneath.
Booth turned to look back at her and tried to force his face into a smile.
"I guessed. You want to talk about it?"
Booth shook his head.
"No, it's ok. I'm going to get a drink. Go back to sleep."
He slipped out from under the covers and pulled on his boxers. Getting up, he went to the en suite bathroom and grabbed the glass from next to the sink. Filling it with water, he gulped it down and returned the glass to its usual spot. His hands still trembled from the excess adrenaline generated by his dream.
Flipping off the bathroom light, he returned to the bedroom to find that Hannah had not gone back to sleep but had instead rolled onto her side and was watching him.
"What?" he asked.
"This happens a lot, you know."
"The nightmares about Temperance."
Booth's brow wrinkled as his girlfriend referred to his partner by her given name. The relationship between the two women made him vaguely uncomfortable and that Hannah called her Temperance just made it weirder.
"Yeah, well we've had to deal with many nightmarish scenarios."
"I get that. I'm just concerned. This is the third nightmare you've had this week."
Booth shrugged. His litany of nightmares was long and a good chunk of them had Bones in them. He'd always rationalised it as being the result of his protective nature conflicting with the many times she'd ended up in danger, mixed with his general fear that one day she'd get herself killed.
"Seeley," Hannah prodded gently.
Booth sank back onto the bed and pulled the cover back up before turning to face her and indicating with his expression for her to continue.
"I'm wondering if there's something else going on."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean... I get that the two of you deal with dangerous situations pretty regularly and that doing that can result in nightmares. But this sudden increase in nightmares about Temperance makes me wonder if there's some other fear in your head that's causing them."
"Ok, now you sound like Sweets," Booth said tiredly, and leaned back against his pillow.
"Sorry. I don't want to push. I just think that... these dreams you've been having, she dies in all of them?"
Booth flinched at the words but nodded.
"My thought is that maybe the dreams aren't the result of your job. Maybe it's your subconscious expressing some fear that you're losing her."
Booth opened one eye and gave Hannah a look. She was sitting up next to him on the bed and as she met his gaze, she raised her hands in surrender.
"Ok. I know it sounds like shrink talk. I'll let it go. It was just a thought," Hannah said and then settled herself against his side. "Let's just go back to sleep."
Booth grunted his agreement and wrapped an arm around her absentmindedly as he settled back into his pillow. He tried to keep his mind from tying itself up in thoughts about Hannah's theory of the reason for his nightmares and had just begun to relax back into sleep when his cell phone rang.
"Let voicemail pick it up," she muttered.
"Can't," Booth said, snatching the phone from the night stand. Ever since he'd received that horrific voicemail from the Gravedigger, informing him that Brennan and Hodgins had been buried alive, he'd always made every effort to answer his phone.
"Agent Booth," he said into the phone as he got out of bed and wandered towards the bedroom door so as not to disturb Hannah.
"Is this Seeley Booth?" a hesitant female voice asked.
"Yes," Booth replied, feeling a mild anxiety creep into his gut. Rarely was it a good thing when strangers called in the middle of the night.
"Do you know a Temperance Brennan?"
"Yes," Booth said, feeling the anxiety begin to ramp up towards fear.
"Mr. Booth, I'd like you to try to remain calm," the woman said, in a voice meant to be soothing but which sent Booth straight from fear to panic.
"Why am I staying calm?" Booth prompted, trying to keep his voice from reflecting how he was feeling.
"Ms . Brennan was in a car accident this evening. We have her here at Providence Hospital. In her personal belongings there was a card stating we should contact you in case of emergency."
"I'll be there in ten minutes," Booth said sharply and hung up.
Booth sat in the chair next to Brennan's hospital bed, desperately trying to sort out the blur of the past couple hours.
He couldn't remember if he'd spoken to Hannah or what he might have said before leaving his apartment. He vaguely remembered turning the half hour drive to Providence Hospital into a ten minute race through dark and empty streets. He remembered getting increasingly frustrated with various hospital staff while trying to get information about his partner. The shock from the conversation with Brennan's doctor still lingered. Words like respiratory arrest, fracture, internal bleeding, and coma weaved their way through his brain, amplifying his fear. He'd moved to terror and anger at his own uselessness after glimpsing his partner lying in her hospital bed. He knew he'd just gotten off the phone with Angela after helping Hodgins to convince her that she didn't have to come to the hospital until the morning.
He slumped back into the chair and closed his eyes for a moment. Fragments of his nightmare came back to him mixed with details from what the doctor had said. Bones had been driving home late from the lab. Going through an intersection, her car had been t-boned on the driver's side by a driver running the red light. Booth's brain conjured up imagined images of her face as the other car crashed into her, causing his eyes to shoot back open.
Of course, the sight that met his gaze was only moderately better than his imaginings. Brennan was lying in a hospital bed. Her left arm was encased in a cast; the ulna had been fractured. There were a multitude of cuts and scratches on her face from the window glass. There was also a large bruise on her temple where her head had glanced off the support pillar of the car door. He couldn't see them, but he knew from the doctor's report, that her torso was wrapped in bandages. The impact had broken two ribs and her spleen had been damaged, resulting in internal bleeding. Surgeons had managed to repair the spleen and an MRI had shown no bleeding in her brain. The doctor had said that the coma was not unusual given the head trauma but he was concerned about potential brain damage as Brennan had not been breathing when the paramedics had arrived. Given his previous experience with his own coma, Booth's fear about what Brennan might be like when she woke up was even greater than the doctor's.
"Not such an excellent driver after all, huh Bones?" Booth said gently.
Deep down he hoped that perhaps the ribbing about her driving skills would awaken Brennan, even though logically he knew it was unlikely.
Gently he reached out and wrapped both his hands around her free one. Her skin was cooler than his and her fingers felt thin and frail in between his palms. He realised as he sat there, holding her hand and searching her face for any sign of consciousness, that they hadn't touched in months. She'd always ensured they sat far enough apart that they wouldn't brush against each other and he hadn't put a hand on the small of her back to guide her through a space in just as long. He couldn't remember the last time he'd hugged her.
"Maybe Hannah's right," he muttered, mostly to himself. "Maybe I am afraid I'm losing you."
Brennan's face remained unresponsive but Booth felt the need to unburden himself.
"Our relationship isn't the same anymore. And I know we agreed that this was what needed to happen, but maybe we were wrong. Maybe I made a mistake that night when I kissed you. I know better than anyone that when it comes to relationships, you shouldn't be pushed. But I pushed anyway. And you pulled. And that hurt so much, Bones. It still hurts. But it was kind of my own fault.
"You told me that I should be happy, that I deserve to be happy. And I think I've fooled everyone including myself on that count. Hannah does make me happy and I do care for her. But compared with what I could have with you, I'm still miserable. And now we're even further apart and I miss you so much sometimes that I can't breathe. It's probably the reason for the nightmares.
"We need to fix this, Bones. We need to fix us. I know I always get my man and you're a woman, but just this once I want to get you. I miss you. I need you. And if you go out this way, I may never forgive you."
Brennan's face remained unresponsive. Booth sighed deeply. Getting the words out helped a little. For a few seconds at least. Feeling his exhaustion sweep over him, he closed his eyes and let himself drop off.
Booth woke with a start. For a second, he couldn't figure out why he was crammed into such an uncomfortable chair. One glimpse of Brennan's face brought it all back. He arched his back in a stretch, ran a hand through his hair, and then settled back into the chair.
Checking his watch, he saw that it was still early in the morning and his brow furrowed trying to figure out what could have woken him.
A small twitch of the fingers within his hand answered his question. Bones was moving, her fingers fluttering against his palm. His breath caught in his throat and he watched with fear and anticipation for her eyes to open. When they did, they wandered around the room until they landed on his face. He felt his face break into an anxious smile.
"Bones?" he prompted gently.
She furrowed her brow in an expression so familiar he almost wept with joy. His relief stopped short when she opened her mouth and asked, "Who are you?"
Booth wasn't sure what expression came across his face but his brain began to race in a million different directions simultaneously. A small corner of his mind noted that he now knew how Brennan felt when he'd woken from his own coma. He focused back on Bones' face which now also looked slightly concerned.
"I'm kidding, Booth," she said softly.
Booth felt his breath whoosh out of his lungs.
"Now really isn't the time for you to develop a sense of humour, Bones," he said weakly.
Booth ran a hand across his face.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
"I've been better. Your not dying is making me feel much better."
"Mmm. I have to say I am not sure that being alive feels very good right now."
Booth immediately reached for the call button and pressed it.
Brennan tried to smile but stopped suddenly. Obviously it caused her some pain.
"How bad am I?" she asked quietly.
"It's sort of a combo of that time I got blown up and the time I was in the coma," Booth replied.
"Was I unconscious that long?" Brennan asked, concern in her eyes.
"No, just longer than anyone really liked."
She nodded, reassured.
The doctor came in at that moment and began bustling around Brennan, checking wires and tubes and asking Bones questions the entire time. Satisfied that his patient was doing as well as could be expected, he gave her a shot of morphine and left the room.
Brennan immediately began to get drowsy but she fought against sleep.
Booth reached out and smoothed her hair away from her face and then wrapped both his hands around her free hand again.
"Go to sleep, Bones," he murmured gently.
"I just woke up," she protested, "and there are things..." she began.
"Don't worry. We'll deal with that soon. Just go back to sleep. I'll be here."
She nodded a little, tightened her grip on his hand, and fell back to sleep.
Running his thumb gently across her the back of her hand, Booth spoke softly, "We're not done yet."