Author's Note: I was unhappy about the death of a certain squintern, obviously. So I decided to write this as an alternate sort of plot. I do not own Bones or any of the characters. Please be kind, as I am not a particularly skilled writer (though I enjoy it greatly) and this is my first fic.
The shot rang out loud, rough, quick, smashing two glass windows and hurtling towards them. He acted on instinct, tackling Mr. Nigel-Murray to the ground, out of harm's way. Brodsky, of course. But from where? And how? The questions flashed through his mind like fast-forwarded commercials on a TV screen, too quick to process, too quick to come to a conclusion. We were just on the phone with him. The thought was almost sickening. He'd been aiming his gun while they answered the phone… "Everyone okay?" he asked, sitting back to allow the squintern up off the floor.
There was more emotion in that single word than there had been in the whole conversation leading up to the shot. Shock. Terror. Panic. A trace of desperation. It wasn't the Bones he was used to. "Oh god…" Booth's gaze shifted to Vincent, a feeling of cold dread seeping into him. He hadn't tackled the British intern in time. Blood leaked from the wound in his chest, already staining his lab coat red and seeping onto the floor. Booth hastily dropped to his knees, pressing both hands to press down on the wound.
"We need an ambulance! Someone's been shot!" The hysteria in Brennan's voice was subtle, but still there, her eyes wide and horrified. Several security workers went running, glancing back nervously and the wounded man on the ground. The looks on their faces were mixed. Some grim, some panicked, and some shocked. Things like this weren't supposed to happen. They solved murders, not because victim to them. Then she turned, crouching down next to the intern, hand resting on his left knee.
"Vincent, can you hear me?" Booth leaned forward slightly, pushing down harder on the intern's chest. Anything to stop the flow of blood. The intern's breaths were short, labored, but he managed a nod, pale faced and dazed as he was.
"Vincent, you have to stay conscious, okay?" Brennan's eyes were wide, "Help is on the way."
"Vincent, I've got to apply pressure on this wound," Booth looked the intern in the eye. Why were they using his first name so much? A dull voice asked in the back of his head, he'd always just been Mr. Nigel-Murray, before. "I know it hurts, but I have to apply the pressure." The intern was already shaking his head, barely perceivable movements.
Vincent shuddered, "D-doesn't…doesn't…it doesn't hurt." He managed, trembling.
"That's good, right Booth?" Bones looked at him, eyes hopeful. Begging him to tell her that he would be okay.
"Yeah, that's good." Booth wasn't sure what made him say it, the words tasting bitter to him. If he couldn't feel it…
"P-please…please don't…don't make me leave," the intern was shivering violently, eyes struggling to remain open as his gaze fixed on Dr. Brennan.
"No, you don't have to leave," Brennan once again turned towards Booth, questioning, unsure of what Vincent meant. Looking for an answer. He didn't have one.
"I love…I love being here. Don't…just don't make me leave." Vincent almost pleaded, trying desperately to stay awake.
"We love you here! We don't want you to leave." It was heart shattering, as Booth watched his partner's eyes well up. She shook her head frantically. Booth pushed down even harder, the blood making a sickening squelch between his fingertips. Vincent's blood. It wasn't supposed to be him. Brodsky didn't want him. I was the one who handed him the cell phone…
Vincent's head fell back, nearly hitting the tile floor as he let out a barely perceivable gasp. His eyelids began to flutter closed, breathing hitching.
"Open your eyes, Vincent," Booth ordered. The boy couldn't die. It wasn't supposed to be him…couldn't be him. "Stay with me!" He was pleading now, too. It wasn't just Brennan. He couldn't die now. The ambulance couldn't be more than two or three minutes away, there was a hospital less than four miles from the institute.
It was a moment before the intern opened his eyes again, "I…" he was gasping, desperately trying to take in air. Hyperventilating almost, breaths growing quicker and quicker by the second. "I…please don't…" his forehead was sweaty, expression growing more pained, "just don't make me go." Brennan was shaking her head, the tears threatening to spill onto her cheeks. "I love…don't want to go, I love…it's been lovely…being…here…" Booth was shaking his head, trying to convince the bleeding man on the ground- trying to convince himself- that it would be okay. "With…with…"
"No!" The cry ripped from his partner's mouth, her hair rumpled, a few strands falling in her face, "You can stay here with us as long as you like, Vincent." He let out a gasp. The pause between it and the next breath was far too long. Sirens. Booth could hear sirens in the distance. They were coming. Twenty seconds, he estimated, twenty seconds until the ambulance would arrive. It didn't look like it would be enough.
"Please…please don't…I l-l-love…I…" the intern let out a quiet whimper.
"You're my favorite!"
The statement surprised Booth, even in this situation. Was she just saying that, trying to convince him, throwing anything out there that might have a glimmer of a chance of getting him to inhale again, to draw another breath? It didn't sound like it. Her tone…her face…it was like a confession, raw truth, a last ditch effort. A last ditch effort for her favorite.
"Everyone knows that, right, Booth?" Brennan gave him another imploring look, "Booth? Booth!" Her voice rose in volume.
He didn't answer her, eyes locked with Vincent's. Breath. Please breath. There was a shaky gasp as Vincent trembled against the floor. He waited for the next breath. It didn't come.
The next few moments passed by in a blur. EMTs pounded into the room, calling frantically to each other, bending down beside the form of the British intern. A stretcher was rolled in, faster than on any hospital drama he'd ever seen. Somehow, they got him onto it…he wasn't putting pressure on the wound anymore, someone else was, a gloved hand pushing rather than his bare one. It was happening, but Booth wasn't registering the noise. It was though he was watching a television on mute. Perhaps something in another world, on another planet. Is he dead? He can't be dead. They wouldn't be doing this if he was dead. Everything seemed numb, dull, distant. A pair of blue eyes made contact with him, for the briefest moment, as the intern's head fell to the side. Then they fluttered shut.
It seemed like just a moment before he was gone.
"Booth? Booth!" Brennan's voice was panicked, and he realized she had him by the arm, was shaking him.
"Bones," he turned and gripped her shoulder, tightly. How much time had passed since he'd been trapped by the intern's closing eyes? Had they opened again? He didn't know. But it couldn't have been more than a minute. The sound of the sirens were fading, rapidly.
"Vincent…Vincent…he…you were staring after them…" he voice quaked, "I don't think he's…" The tears, the tears from earlier, flowed over, spilling down her cheeks. Brennan let out a sob, burying her head against his chest, arms sliding around his neck. "This is all my fault," the anguished wail was muffled by his shirt.
It wasn't her fault. He knew it, and if he could just reason with her, she would too. But now was not that time. Now was the time to hold her tightly, protectively in his arms and let her cry. And not let go until it was time. They needed to get to the hospital, Booth realized. It wasn't like they could call Vincent's family, and if he didn't…no. "Bones…" he trailed off, resting his chin on her shoulder. Brennan didn't answer, her body wracked with sobs. "It will be okay."
He hoped he wasn't lying to her.
It took very little to ruin your day, Angela Montenegro realized soon after three thirty that afternoon. One person. One gun. One phone call. Two seconds. Three words.
They were standing on the corner of Humphry Street and Wilmont Drive, waiting for the light to change. It had been her idea to go walk to the pizza place for lunch- she had been craving pizza. And, as she had told her husband, getting fat was inevitable if she drove everywhere. Five minutes later she had been regretting that idea immensely, but far too stubborn to change her mind. They were less than twenty yards from the restaurant- it was twenty yards away, for the love of god. The light seemed almost stubborn in its refusal to turn red and allow the cars going to other way- and them- to cross the street.
Hodgins was shifting from foot to foot impatiently, glaring at the cars in the street as though they had personally offended him. "Dammit, change already." Angela resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her husband's speech to the light, it wasn't like it could hear him. She rested a hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze.
That was when her cell phone went off. 'Take me out to the Ball Game' played mutely from inside her purse. Angela stifled a sigh, wondering what the FBI agent could possibly want. At over eight months pregnant, even reaching into her bag to retrieve a cell phone seemed like a chore. Yanking out the mechanical device, and using one hand to brace herself against a traffic light, Angela pressed a button an help it up to her ear. "Booth, this better be important, because I-"
"Brodsky shot Vincent."
The shock hit first. The trickling feeling of cold horror like an ice cube being dropped down her back. Than the dread, coursing through her veins. The feelings must have been displayed on her face, because Hodgins frowned, before walking over and putting an arm around her. She didn't look at him. Lunch was forgotten. Pizza had never been further from the artist's mind.
"We don't know from where." Booth's voice was heavy, tired, emotionless.
"Is…is he…?" Angela trailed off, unwilling to finish. She'd known the small, dorky intern fairly well. And over the past few weeks, with all of the apologies and random facts…she'd grown fond of him. There was a sharp pain in her stomach, and it wasn't from the baby.
"No. I'm on my way to the hospital with her right now."
"We'll meet you there." As the line went dead, she regretted not asking more. When? How? Why? With a deep breath, she turned to her husband. "Brodsky shot Vincent," Angela echoed the words that Booth had spoken just a few moments before. "We need to get the hospital right now."
There was a sense of urgency in his wife's voice that alarmed him. "Brodsky…oh god," Hodgins shook his head, "He's such a sweet guy. I can't believe…" he paused. "I'll go get the car. Don't move." The entomologist bolted, flying back up the street.
Angela stared out at the street, watching various vehicles drive by. Going about their business like nothing was wrong. She felt a prickle of anger at them, anger for their indifference, the emotionless rush. And jealousy. Jealous that the drivers and passengers could still go about their day normally, jealous because one of her co-workers had been shot, not one of theirs. The past five minutes seemed like a dream. A small part of her brain refused to accept it. There was no way that Mister Vincent Nigel-Murray could have been shot by the renegade sniper. But he had.
And even worse, Brodsky was still out there.