Without you, the stars don't shine as bright.
I see the world in black and white.
Without you by my side,
It just doesn't feel too right.
The emptiness inside won't ever go away.
Not until we are united again.

Booth entered the FBI Deputy Director's office, snapping the door shut behind him.

"Take a seat," Deputy Director Robert Kirby said, gesturing to the seat in front of his desk.

Booth wordlessly took a seat. He vaguely noticed it was dark in the room. Everything was dark to him. It was like a constant haze around him, preventing him from being happy.

Kirby was silent for a moment, and then leaned forward on his elbows. "We've paired you with a number of different partners, but you seem to have a problem with all of them. This can't go on Agent Booth."

Booth stared up at him with hollow eyes. None of those partners were Bones. His Bones. He could never work with anyone else. But how could he explain that to anyone?

Kirby was looking at him expectantly so Booth said, "I prefer to work alone, sir."

"You haven't been the same since…" Kirby didn't finish his thought, but they both know what he meant.

Nothing had been the same since that fateful day. The team had split up again. Cam and Sweets had stayed with the FBI. A very pregnant Angela and Hodgins had left the science field all together, preferring to stay at home. He rarely saw them anymore; it was just too painful.

"You better get your head screwed on straight, Seeley or I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go," Kirby said.

They both knew it was an empty threat; Kirby would never fire one of his best agents. Booth still did his job very well; he just didn't get the usual help from the squints, and so catching the bad guy took longer.

"You can go," Kirby sighed, seeing he was getting nowhere.

"Thank you, sir," Booth said. He moved on autopilot out of the FBI building and to his car. He barely registered the rain as it soaked through his pointless suit.

He had even stopped wearing colored ties and socks. He just didn't have the energy.

He unlocked the car and climbed in, just as a thunderclap sounded.

He sat in his car, looking out the windshield as the rain poured down in buckets. It mirrored his mood.

Because of his meeting with Kirby, his mind kept wandering to things he always tried to push to the back of his mind…

A Year Earlier:

It was a dangerous case. And he knew that when he brought her on the case. He originally didn't want her involved at all. But she had insisted, charming him in her unique ways.

Damien Pratt was a serial killer who kept slipping through the cops fingers. Brennan insisted she could get evidence that proved Damien was guilty. Once she mentioned this to Kirby, there was no way he could get her off the case.

Booth remembered her excitement at being able to work on this.

They poured over the case for hours on end. Brennan examined many sets of bones well into the night. Booth remembered one time, he had surprised her with a Chinese food feast.

They were so close to getting some hard evidence when the threats started coming. They were handwritten notes that nobody could trace.

Booth had begged her to stop. Stop well before she got hurt. But stubborn Bones didn't listen. She said she wasn't scared of some killer and that she had gotten death threats before and she wouldn't stop until he was behind bars.

He loved her determination.

Booth rarely left her side, fearing Pratt would attack at any given moment.

One day, he had left her. Rebecca had called him saying that she was running late and asked him to pick up Parker at school. Brennan had insisted that he go; she knew how important Parker was to him. She promised him she would stay at the lab.

Why did he listen to her? Didn't he know her better?

He was gone 10, 20 minutes tops.

Bones had apparently found some useful information and she made her way to the FBI building, ignoring Booth's warnings.

Booth had come back to the lab only to find Bones gone and no one had seen where she went.

He had tried calling her cell phone numerous times, but she didn't pick up. He had tried to calm himself down, assuring himself that she was fine and that she had just misplaced her phone, but he knew that wasn't the case.

Booth and a whole bunch of agents set out, hunting for a trail.

They had found a lead that led them to an abandoned warehouse.

Booth's heart was in his throat as he quietly crept inside, gun raised. The agents followed on his heels.

Since Booth was the first in the room, he was the first to see Bones' crumpled body on the floor. The floor around her was soaked with blood. He couldn't see her face because she was lying flat on her stomach. She had been shot in the back.

He remembered falling on his knees, emitting some sort of painful whimper. His gun clattered to the floor as he crawled towards her. The other agents dispersed, searching the warehouse for Pratt.

Of course, he was gone. All the evidence with him.

Booth cradled Bones' limp body in his arms, stroking her hair, her face. Her eyes were closed and her face was unnaturally pale. In the dim light, it looked almost as if she was sleeping. Only he knew better.

Paramedics came in some time later and they had to pry Booth off of her to transport her to the hospital. He wanted to tell them that it was too late, but the words stuck in his throat. He had never seen her so void of life, so pale and still. He knew in his heart that she was gone.

He wasn't sure how he got home, only that someone drove him there. He didn't cry, not until he was safely behind his locked doors, where no one would see him. He had seen the picture of him and Brennan that Angela had drawn for them; he knew Bones had one in her apartment, too.

Booth went into a rage, tearing through his apartment, sparing only that picture. He didn't sleep the whole night; guilt was eating him away.

The next day, he happened to turn on the news. On it, he saw Bones' murder as the main story. Damien Pratt had gotten away.

The next thing Booth knew, he was at her funeral. It was a modern event that he knew Bones would have loved. A lot of people came, too. She had touched so many people's lives and she didn't even know it.

Max, her father, was there, along with the Jeffersonian team. It was even harder to see how they were coping with their grief. It just amplified his own.

Present Day:

He had been living in a fog ever since. The team had not survived, without Brennan to hold them together. Everything changed.

He hadn't realized how empty his life was, without her…

Booth banged his hands on the steering wheel loudly. Tears burned the back of his eyes and a lump formed in his throat, too big to swallow around.

A year later and it was still just as hard.

He laid his head on the steering wheel, feeling the cold leather pressing on his cheek.

It was his fault she died, his fault he let Damien Pratt get away, his fault for bringing her on the case in the first place.

He regretted not telling her how he really felt about her. He had come so close to telling her so many times, and now he would never get the chance. Never know if she felt the same way.

All his fault.

He let a single tear fall and he felt it make its wet trail, sideways across the bridge of his nose.

His determination had not faltered; he would find Damien Pratt and kill him for taking that beautiful woman away from this world.

He sighed, sitting up and finally finding the nerve to start his car. He switched the wipers on high and puddles of rain were flung from the window.

Flashes of lightning made the world look ghostly and haunted.

He wasn't ready to go home yet. Not ready to sit there and face the memories.

He went to the only place he knew that would drown those memories out.

So what do you think?