Hey and welcome to the last real chapter of this fic! I had a hard time getting this one right, so I hope you guys like it! As always thank you to Sam for her constant support and patience with my incessant questions.
Brennan ran her fingers through Booth's hair in a desperate attempt to keep him calm. His eyes never moved from his old friend's face as he gasped for air. Brennan turned to look at Will with apologetic eyes. "I think you should leave," she suggested. Will nodded and left the room. Brennan turned her attention back to Booth, who was beginning to relax. "Booth, what's wrong? It's just Will." Booth shook his head and tried to gather his thoughts.
"It was him." Brennan just stared at him quizzically. "Everything. All of it. It was him. He blames me. He thinks I didn't do enough."
"Booth… you're just a little confused right now." Booth shook his head violently.
"No! Just… trust me, Bones. Okay?" The sheer desperation in his eyes was beginning to scare her so she relented.
"Okay. Okay, I trust you," she assured him although her eyes betrayed her uncertainty. Booth either didn't see it or chose to ignore it and searched for her hand with his. She slid her fingers between his and gripped tightly. A nurse walked in and smiled when she saw that he was awake.
"You should go get him," Booth told Brennan. "I'll be okay by myself for a little while. You shouldn't let him get away." Brennan nodded and gave Booth a kiss on the forehead. "I love you, Bones."
"I love you too," Brennan answered automatically as her heart slowly began to return to a normal pace. She let go of Booth's hand and walked out of the hospital room. She saw Will sitting in the waiting room and approached him.
"I'm sorry," she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "He's been through quite an ordeal. You were one of the last people he saw before he was attacked. He's just confused."
"It's okay," Will promised. "I understand. Look, I think I'm gonna go, if you're okay." Brennan nodded.
"Yes, he's awake now so I'll be okay." A rogue tear escaped at the thought of how close she had come to losing him, again, and she wiped it away. "Thank you again for everything, Will." Will didn't answer; he simply walked past her and toward the elevators. Once he was out of sight Brennan made her way back to Booth's room.
"That was fast," Booth commented with a smile when she walked back in. Brennan didn't answer and his smile faded. "You let him leave," he guessed. Brennan sighed and sat down in a chair next to Booth's bed.
"Booth, I don't know what it is you think you remember, but Will did not attack you."
"No, Bones! Would you just stop saying that I'm confused? He drove me out to some field and he beat me up. Why don't you believe me?" Booth was nearly in tears and Brennan's heart felt like it was being ripped apart.
"Booth…" He turned away from her both out of embarrassment at his tears and out of anger. "It doesn't make logical sense," she told the back of his head. Booth whipped his head back around to look at her.
"Of course. That's what it's all about with you. The logic of it all. You know, maybe once you could trust the man who loves you instead of thinking about what makes rational sense. I know what happened. I'm not mixed up. I need you to believe me, Bones." Brennan wanted to, so badly. But a tiny part of her still couldn't let go of what made sense to her. Why would Will come to the Jeffersonian instead of running? Why was he injured? Why did he stay with her when she wasn't sure if Booth was going to make it? Booth caught her unsure expression and shook his head sadly.
"I'm sorry," she told him sincerely. There was no reply. "I think I'm going to go sit with Evangeline for a while. I'll be back." Booth didn't say anything and watched her go. When the door closed behind her he grabbed the bag of food she left behind and hurled it across the room.
"I drove your car here," Brennan heard Will's voice as she made her way toward the elevators. She looked up and saw him walking toward her. "I figured you wouldn't want me to take it."
"No, that's fine. I'm going to be here with Booth all night. I can have Angela pick me up when I want to leave. I'm going to go sit with my daughter for a while." Just as Brennan was about to walk away, her phone rang. She glanced at the ID and answered. "Hi, Hodgins," she greeted.
"Hey, Dr. B. How's Booth?"
"He's awake now."
"That's good to hear. I'll give Angie the news. Listen, I found something interesting on the car." Brennan waited for him to continue. "It wasn't hit by another vehicle. The only particulates I found on the impact point were from something made of wood. The car hit a tree or a pole, not anything made of metal."
"It's not possible that another car pushed the vehicle into a pole or a tree?" Brennan tried to keep her voice low as her heart began to pound in her chest and she shifted away from Will unconsciously.
"No, there was only one impact point. This car ran into something made of wood on its own. On top of that, Angela says that the dent in the car makes no sense. There's no way this was an accident bad enough to knock someone out."
"Thank you, Hodgins." Brennan hung up and looked at Will with tears stinging her eyes. She fought them back and forced a smile. "Dr. Hodgins needs me to come back to the lab," she lied. "I think I'm going to sit with my daughter for a few minutes and then I would like you drive me, if that's okay."
"Sure, no problem," Will responded automatically. He watched Brennan walk over to the elevators. He had a heavy feeling in his chest. He genuinely liked Brennan and he was sorry that she was collateral damage in all of this. But it's worth it, he told himself. He'd try again. And this time he'd succeed.
Brennan walked into the NICU, a place that was becoming all too familiar to her. She walked up to Evi's incubator and stroked her tiny arm with her forefinger. Her eyes hadn't opened yet, but Evi responded to her mother's touch by rolling her head toward her. Brennan smiled and promised her little girl that soon everything would be put right. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed the only number she could think of. "Andrew," she greeted when he picked up.
"Temperance? I heard about Booth. Is he alright?" Brennan smiled at her old friend's concern.
"Yes, he's fine. I… I know who did this to him. And to Chief of Staff Jameson. It's Will. I can't prove it. I just… I need some help."
"Will as in Booth's security guy?" Brennan sighed in exasperation.
"Yes. I have circumstantial evidence tying him to the crime. Admittedly it's not much, but I have him here right now and I can't let him hurt Booth or anyone else."
"Okay, I'll have a couple guys down there within ten minutes."
"That's it? You're not going to ask for more evidence?"
"I trust you, Tempe. You'll find it. Just sit tight and keep him there."
"This is unethical," Brennan pointed out. "You don't even know what the evidence is. And I can assure it's not enough to justify an arrest warrant.
"If you say he did it, then he did it. Unless you're not sure?"
"I am." Andrew smiled at the familiar confidence in her voice.
"See? So I'll figure something out. You just leave the dirty work to me. My guys are on the way, okay?"
"He's going to be driving me to the Jeffersonian. Your agents can meet us there. Thank you, Andrew." They said goodbye and hung up.
"You ready to go?" Will asked when she approached him a few minutes later. She nodded silently and he led her down to the parking garage.
"I can stay with you for a while longer if you want," Will offered as they drove.
"That's okay," Brennan answered.
"I guess I feel like I have to make up for letting this happen to Booth. I mean, this is my job. I should've been able to prevent this." Brennan mumbled noncommittally in response, not trusting her acting abilities.
Mercifully, they pulled into the Medico-Legal Lab parking garage. Brennan watched as the agents approached the car and forcibly removed Will from the driver's seat. She listened as they mirandized him. And she saw the look of absolute betrayal on his face when he looked at her through the car window. "I trusted you!" Will shouted to her as the agents began dragging him away.
"You trusted me?" Brennan retorted in disbelief as she climbed out of the car. "Booth trusted you!"
"You don't understand, Temperance! I did the right thing! I did the right thing! If you knew everything you'd understand! I did what I had to do!" With that, the door slammed shut and Will's shouts muffled.
"Do you want someone to drive you back, ma'am?" an agent asked. Brennan shook her head, her eyes never leaving Will's face.
"No, thank you," she said politely as she glanced at the agent. She watched the car holding Will drive away then walked around the car without another word and drove back to the hospital.
Brennan opened the door to Booth's room, not entirely sure of what she would find. He glanced up at her when she walked in but quickly broke eye contact. "They arrested Will," she told him and took a seat next to his bed. Booth lifted his eyes to hers for another second. "I told them to."
"Did the squints prove it?" he asked with a hint of anger and betrayal in his voice. Brennan nodded slowly; not able to lie to him.
"I got a call from Hodgins that revealed an inconsistency in his story. It wasn't exactly proof but it was enough to convince me." Booth sighed and focused his attention on the ceiling. "I wanted to believe you," Brennan promised.
"But you didn't," Booth pointed out. "Instead of trusting me you trusted him." Brennan's instincts told her to grab Booth's hand, but she resisted.
"It has nothing to do with trust. No matter how much I trust you or how much I love you, you are not immune to being confused or incorrect." She paused and Booth just continued to stare off into space. "I believed that you believed what you were telling me. It never occurred to me that you might be lying. That's how I define trust, Booth. But apparently that's not how you see it." She sighed and changed the subject. "How are you feeling?"
"Like someone bashed my face in, stabbed me in the gut, and left me for dead," he replied curtly. He turned to look at Brennan. "I'm sorry. It's just… do you know how that feels? To know you're telling the truth but no one believes you?"
"Yes," she replied honestly. "Would it help if I told you that what Hodgins told me was circumstantial at best and I would never have accepted it as definitive proof of his guilt under normal circumstances?" Booth laughed as hard as his broken body would allow.
"I love you," he said when his laughter subsided.
"You didn't answer the question."
"Bones," Booth whined with a pout. Brennan rolled her eyes.
"I love you too." Booth smiled and leaned forward for a kiss but winced when he felt a sharp pain in his stomach. He rested his head on the pillow and Brennan leaned over to kiss him softly on the lips. "You know why he did it." It was a statement, not a question. She sat in her chair and took his hand in hers. "Will you tell me?"
"Will and I were in the gulf together," Booth went right into his story. "We both kind of took Teddy under our wing, but he was closer to Will. They had this big brother, little brother relationship. That day… Teddy was ordered to go out with me while Will was on another assignment. And when… Teddy was killed… Will was a wreck. When we went home Will was admitted to the hospital for treatment for PTSD. He was doing really good but then a few months ago he had a relapse and he lost his job. Everybody, especially him, thought I was crazy for hiring a guy who was still dealing with PTSD after all these years as the head of a security team. But this guy saved my ass three times over there, you know? I knew he'd take care of you. And his doctor told me that his PTSD was under control." Booth chuckled humorlessly.
"Don't you dare feel guilty about this, Seeley Booth," Brennan demanded. "This isn't your fault. You had no way of knowing what he would do."
"He's always thought that if he were there instead of me, Teddy would still be alive. And he has a mental illness. No matter how much I owed him or how much I trusted him I shouldn't have hired him with no questions asked. I'm an idiot."
"You're a very loyal man. You wouldn't turn your back on a friend who needed you. Perhaps your decision was a little misguided, but I understand the reasons why you did it, and they're valid. This is not your fault."
"Because of me and my warped idea of what I owed him, I put you in danger. I got Daniel and the Chief of Staff of the FBI killed. I let our daughter be born prematurely."
"Booth, look at me." He obeyed. Tears shined in his eyes and it made Brennan fight back her own. "You did not do this. This is a grudge Will has held for nearly twenty years. Whether or not he worked for you he would have found a way to exact his revenge. He's the only one to blame. He decided to kill Jameson and Daniel. You didn't. And as for Evangeline, we'll never know for sure why she was born early. But even if it was the stress of everything, none of it was your fault."
"I want to believe that, Bones. I really do." Brennan smiled knowingly and gave his hand a squeeze.
"Don't you trust me?" she asked teasingly.
"More than anything," he answered with a gentle smile. He pulled on her hand in a silent invitation to join him on the bed. She hesitated for a moment before gently easing herself next to him.
"Am I hurting you?" she asked anxiously. Booth gave her a kiss on the head.
"You're fine," he promised.
"Do you think you can forgive yourself?" she asked sheepishly.
"I can try," he answered honestly. "What happened and what I did might never be okay, but as long as I have you, I know I will be."
So that's it! Look for an epilogue in a few days to tie up all the loose ends. As always, tell me what you think!