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Chapter 14. The Hope in the Partner.
"A moment lasts all of a second,
but the memory lives on forever."
Monroe grinned at his prize. "Temperance, I've been waiting for you for… so long." He breathed out the last words, stepping closer to her.
Brennan hated this. She felt so vulnerable and exposed, unable to shield neither her child nor herself. She struggled against the binds subtly, but Monroe paid no attention; he deserved this moment far too much.
His fingers swept over her flushed cheek, and she tried to pull away. There was no escaping his eyes, his touch.
He leaned forward and inhaled the scent of her hair. With a dazed expression, he smiled. "I've missed you, Temperance."
Brennan used this moment to her advantage, quickly head-butting him with as much force as she could muster.
Monroe stumbled backwards, clutching his now bleeding nose. He had been snapped out of his haze, bringing him back into Brennan's reality.
Brennan glared at him, her head throbbing. She felt her daughter flutter inside of her as both of their hearts raced. It surprised her; she had never felt her child move inside of her until this moment. Her eyes flew to her abdomen, relishing in this beautiful, stunning moment.
Monroe didn't let her enjoy that moment for long.
"Temperance, what is wrong?" he murmured, falling back into his stupor. He stepped towards her once more.
Brennan turned her head away, forcing herself to stare at a blank cement wall. It was a better sight than Monroe.
But Monroe would have none of that. With a scowl, he grabbed her chin forcefully and demanded he look at her. This wasn't how he envisioned the start of their life together; he thought Brennan would understand all he had was love and admiration for her.
"I love you, Temperance," he told her through gritted teeth. "We belong together—our IQs, our interests, our understandings are perfectly suited."
"You can't force me to stay here," Brennan pointed out the obvious. "Your logic is in no way sound; you cannot force a person to willing be confined."
Monroe released her jaw and stepped back a bit to stare at her fully. "Perhaps, not yet. But…" he then placed his hand on her stomach, crossing more lines than Brennan realized she had, "when our baby is born, we can finally be a family. Together."
His words sent splinters of ice through Brennan's system as she remained trapped under his grasp.
"Where now?" Booth demanded anxiously of Hodgins. They had been on the road for a good fifteen minutes now, achieving nothing quickly.
Hodgins was video conferencing with Angela on his cell phone. After informing her of the results, she had mapped out exact locations of where the Round Leaf Birch tree could be found. They had narrowed it down to five specific locations.
"Left in a mile," Angela spoke, staring at the Angelatron.
Booth pressed the gas pedal of the sports car impossibly faster. An FBI car and ambulance followed, but were a good five minutes behind the speedy automobile.
After a couple more high tension moments filled with Hodgins and Angela murmuring comforts to one another, the red car skidded left, farther down a dirt path.
"Go for straight for two more miles. That's the spot," Angela promised.
Hope came to Booth again. Over and over, it came and disappeared, came and disappeared. Why must it always vanish so cruelly? Why, oh why, could it not gently fade into relief and happiness?
Hodgins and Angela's conversation faded out, both two anxious to do anything but wait.
The two miles came in a blur. Booth cut the lights and fled the vehicle, scanning the area for any buildings or disturbances.
"Do you see anything?" Angela murmured to Hodgins.
He shook his head.
Booth clutched his hope to him as he searching the deserted land.
Hodgins approached one of the few trees located in this desert land and touched the round leaves. "This is the Round Leaf Birch tree."
Booth started from there, stomping his way through the brush to find anything.
He saw nothing, heard nothing. But that didn't stop him from looking for his Bones. Because, really, she was his bones—a vital part of the body, used to maintain every aspect of life. She was a vital necessity to him.
The FBI team and ambulance pulled up three minutes later, right as Booth's hope fell to the ground again. No one, besides them, had been here in quite some time.
"Agent Booth?" one of the agents questioned for direction.
Booth glanced at him, knowing that Brennan's and their child's chances for survival dwindled away with each tick of the clock. "Next location."
With Hodgins hurrying into the passenger seat, Booth slid into the sports car and sped back onto the dirt road.
Brennan stared at the ceiling from her metal slab, wondering what Booth was doing. She wasn't sure he had even noticed her absence yet. How long had she been missing? Things over that past couple of days were rather… hazy. She remembered… a crime scene… all those bodies under dumpsters. It was so dark. She remembered her head hurting, Booth's arms, their bed… What had happened?
Monroe, having stepped out of the room a few minutes ago, came back down the stairs with a grin and a glass of water. "I brought something for you."
He neared closer to her, offering her the water.
Reluctantly, Brennan accepted it. Before the water had even reached her lips, she could smell something strange from within the solution.
"What is this?" she questioned, pulling the liquid away from her mouth.
Monroe grinned sheepishly, having been caught. "A mild sedative. You need to get your sleep for tomorrow."
Brennan forced herself to reign in her emotions as she pulled the glass away from her lips. "What's occurring tomorrow?" She dared herself to ask.
Monroe smiled at her, his cold fingers pressing—prodding-against the flesh of her cheek. "Tomorrow we'll start our new lives together. We'll get away from here."
Brennan wouldn't let herself cry. She wouldn't let herself express any emotion.
But fear reined her body. She knew if Booth didn't find her soon, he never would.
"Um…" Angela stared at her computer screen, trying to get a closer image of the next site.
"Angela, when do I turn?" Booth inquired anxiously.
She tapped the screen more frantically.
"Angela?" Booth's nerves were getting the better of him, causing Hodgins to turn the phone's screen back towards himself.
"Ange, is it close?" he asked.
After a couple more taps, she shot back, "Turn right!"
"Now?" Booth demanded.
"TURN RIGHT NOW!" Angela answered, the anxiety becoming overwhelming.
Booth skidded right far too quickly, causing Hodgins to clutch onto the roof of the car.
"Two more miles," Angela promised.
Hodgins watched fearfully as the speedometer inched past one-ten.
"Here!" Angela informed them just after a minute of speeding through the desert.
After nearly speeding into the exact tree they were tracking, Booth stomped on the brake and yanked on the steering wheel. The two, or three, spun out and skidded to the side, narrowly missing the tree.
"Maybe you should cool it, Booth," Hodgins suggested, adrenaline filling his nearly shot system.
Booth ignored him and began searching the area, again starting from the tree.
But, like before, nothing was to be found except for the tree.
"Maybe I should drive," Hodgins offered passively. He still feared the gun holstered to the FBI agent.
Booth slid into the driver's seat, forcing Hodgins to reluctantly slide back into the passenger side for the third location.
Booth was becoming mechanical now, seeing the fuel tank decreasing and knowing the sunrise was less than an hour away. Once the dawn had been broken, who was to say Monroe wouldn't be leaving for a new location, if he hadn't already?
The speedometer inched past one-twenty.
Monroe walked half way up the stairs, peering onto the floor above. Satisfied with something, he walked back down the stairs and sat in a metal chair next to Brennan. He didn't move; he just watched her with a grin, his chin rested on his propped arm.
Brennan glanced at him periodically, seeing no change. Hating being an ant trapped under his magnifying glass, she turned her head back towards the blank wall.
"This is all for you, you know," he murmured to her.
The past few days, along with the details of this case, were distant and hazy. She assumed that Monroe was now connected to those serial killings, but the details were fuzzy.
She didn't want to feed his ego and prod into his obviously cryptic suggestions. However, after a few moments, the scientist couldn't let her curiosity remain ignored.
"What is?" she asked, her raw voice cracking. She glanced at the tempting water in her hand, but refused to drink the sedative. If she did, sleep would overcome her and end it all. Everything.
"Drink," he encouraged, nodding towards the drink. "It will calm you and our baby."
Brennan fought the chills rising at his possessive pronoun. There was no way she could ever agree to raising a child, her child, Booth's child, with this monster.
"Let me go, Dane," she murmured, turning her head. She couldn't recall his exact name.
Dark anger flashed in his eyes. "It's Daniel."
Brennan glanced at him with her distant blue eyes, envisioning her future with Booth, the future she needed.
Daniel glared at her, trying to make her see him, but she turned her head back toward the blank wall.
In a fit of anger, Monroe sprang out of his chair and latched onto Brennan's jaw. He turned her face towards him, grabbing her soft cheeks much too roughly. "It was all for you! Do you understand what we have? What we will have?" His grip released her jaw, turning into a caress of her bruising flesh. "We're a perfect match, Dr. Brennan. Temperance." Her name was spoken with a sadistic, possessive reverence.
Brennan's grip on the glass tightened, but she didn't allow herself to use her weapon. Not yet. Instead, she used a biting weapon. "Go to hell, Dane."
The searing temper erupted in his eyes, and then his hands. His fist was flung out to punch Brennan across the mouth.
Satisfied with the bit of blood dripping out of her lips, he reached down and began refastening the gag around her mouth, tighter than before. "We'll just have to keep you a mute until you realize our future."
Brennan fought to keep her fears from representing themselves in tears. Monroe didn't deserve the satisfaction of striking emotions in her heart.
Now that she was silent, Monroe went back to stroking her cheek. "I want to show you something."
Brennan had no choice but to wait, adrenaline and all, as Monroe went upstairs, retrieved something, and came back down. In his hands, he held a photo album.
Without looking at her, he scooted closer to her and opened it. A reminiscent smirk smothered his face.
A woman, pale and wide-eyed with fear, stared at the camera. Her features had an obvious, eerily so, resemblance to Dr. Brennan. One might know her as the first victim or Alexia Livingston.
"She was the first one," he murmured. "I knew I would have to wait for you, and I tried. For six years, I tried. But it wasn't enough; I needed a replacement—temporarily, of course. I had to cut her hair a bit. She lasted a few days, but she was so mundane!" He glared at the poor woman's photo. "She knew nothing of science! She only knew damned art. My anger got the better of me with her."
He flipped the page as Brennan's stomach dropped.
Rebecca Hurston, with a cry evident on her mouth, screamed at the camera. Her appearance matched Brennan, straight to the clothing she wore. Brennan wondered if Monroe had forced them into the clothing she would wear.
"The second Temperance. Kyle helped me find her in a martial arts class." Monroe smiled distantly, reminiscing. "I remember when you trained in karate. That was before the rather large ordeal with the Gravedigger… She was an awful woman, deserving death in the most brutal way."
Brennan wanted to close her eyes, but her dreams of a future with Booth were sinking; Monroe's sadistic fantasies—and realities—had infiltrated her mind.
"This one lacked rational qualities…" he murmured turning the page to another frightened Brennan.
"Something about her was just off… It irked me to even look at her." He hastily flipped the page.
"She was much too loud, always speaking ignorantly."
"She fought too much. I had to put her down."
Brennan's disgust and fear clawed at her internally, hating how he was attempting to rationalize these poor women's deaths so brutally. These poor women who only had the misfortune of looking like her.
"I considered plastic surgery for a bit," he muttered absently. "I only needed to find a surgeon for the right price…"
Brennan moaned, unable to stand any bit of this any longer. She squeezed her eyes shut and considered praying for Booth to come. Anything to reach his arms.
Monroe petted her cheek. "But you're here now," he reassured himself. "That option is no longer necessary."
He planted a kiss to her cheek, infesting her skin with a poison she wanted to suppress more than any other true toxin.
Booth's foot was numb for pressing the gas pedal so harshly for so long. But every time it began inching off, he forced it right back. He forced himself to never stop until Bones was back.
"Are we close?" Booth questioned a weary Angela. He couldn't help but notice the low battery life on Hodgins's phone.
Angela nodded. "Thirty miles left."
Booth turned back to the road, only to have his cell phone ring. With a glance at the caller ID, he saw Gorski's name. He ignored the call.
The hope returned again, making Booth wonder how many more times he could wish so frequently and painfully before his heart collapsed.
The hope grew all the same, rekindling his nearly absent adrenaline.
Monroe ducked out of the room and mounted the stairs, seeing something that brought a grin to his face.
He rushed back down the stairs and snatched Brenan's glass—and only weapon—out of her hands. "The sun's up, Temperance. We have to get moving if we're going to reach our new home today."
Brennan's heart fluttered fearfully at his content threat.
He untied her gag and pushed the dosed water closer to her lips. "Drink it; I need you sedated until we get there."
"Straight ahead," Angela vowed, stating the third try for the tree's location.
The car sped along at one-twenty, only to be suddenly jerked to a stop.
The two lurched forward in their seat and became restrained by their seat belts.
Booth didn't have to search this time; just beyond the birch tree in front of the car, a small cabin resided in the middle of the deserted land.
Quickly, Booth threw a bullet proof vest to Hodgins and strapped one onto himself. He pulled out a gun, cocked it, and looked to the defenseless Hodgins. With an eye roll, he handed Hodgins a back-up revolver.
"Only shoot at the perpetrator if I am incapable," Booth ordered, not needing another person to worry about. "Got it?"
Hodgins rolled his eyes but answered affirmatively. "Shouldn't we wait for back-up?"
"Bones is right there," Booth said. "There's nothing that's going to stop me from getting her back."
Booth began quietly making his way towards the cabin, his gun at the ready. Hodgins followed behind him, focusing on not crunching any obnoxiously loud sticks. They were so close; he didn't want it to end with Booth gunning him down for a snapping twig.
From the outside of the log cabin, nothing was audible. Booth carefully peeled the door open, cringing as it made a squeak.
After a couple uneventfully silent moments, Booth gave Hodgins a nod and stealthily marched inside with the guns drawn.
No one and nothing was visible other than a table, chairs, a fireplace, and a couch. However, in the back, a hole was cut into the floor.
The edge of the glass was forced against Brennan's lips, so she turned her face away. "Please, I need to sit up."
Monroe stared at her for a moment, contemplating. Reluctantly, he untied her ankles' binds, then her wrists'. Keeping a close eye on her, he hand her the glass.
Slowly, she sighed and took the glass. At a methodically sluggish pace, she placed the cool glass back against her lips and allowed a bit to trickle in.
That action let Monroe's guard down. He turned slightly to grab a bag, giving Brennan the perfect opportunity to move.
Like the strike of a snake, Brennan slammed the glass against the back of Monroe's head.
In a surprised heap, Monroe fell. Brennan slid off of the slab, holding her abdomen as she hurried past him.
However, Monroe somewhat recovered and dazedly latched onto her ankle. Brennan screeched as she fell with the psychopath.
Booth and Hodgins heard the commotion and quickly move through the small cabin and to the open stairs of the basement.
Monroe, having heard the now-evident feet overhead, latched onto Brenan's neck with his arm and pulled her to her feet with him. With his left hand, he pulled a revolver out of the back of his pants and pointed in directly at Dr. Brennan's temple.
As the two men rushed down the steps, Booth's heart sped with adoration and pure relief. Despite the dire circumstances, Brennan was back right in front of him. She was alive for him to see, right before his eyes.
Quickly, the barrel of Booth's gun, followed by Hodgins's, became trained on the middle of Monroe's forehead.
"Drop it, Monroe," Booth commanded. "Let her go."
Brennan didn't realize the true extent to which she had missed her other half until he had represented himself. He was here now, so close—so damn close! She wanted to walk towards him and fall into his arms. However, a yank to her jugular quickly deflated that fantasy.
"Leave here now, and we'll all make it out alive," Monroe threatened darkly. He wasn't going to give up his life's existence for a second.
But neither was Booth.
"Put down the gun NOW, Monroe," Booth challenged back, his eyes quickly raking over Brennan for any obvious signs of injury.
Monroe shook his head frantically, backing himself and Brennan into a wall. "She's mine. I've been waiting too long to let her go."
Booth's eyes narrowed, hating how close she and their child were to Death. "Last chance."
"I'll follow you into the afterlife, Temperance," Monroe breathed into her ear.
Fear flooded her system as a bullet rang out, echoing around this chamber.
She fell to the ground, a corpse piling on top of her. She managed to break most of the fall with her hands.
Booth rushed forwards, thrusting Monroe's lifeless, bleeding body off of Her.
He pulled her into his arms after a quick look over for dire injuries. He cradled her against his chest, murmuring promises of safety.
"Booth," she murmured, hazy, relieved, and weary. It was here that she desired refuge for the longest time. "What's happened?"
Booth considered pulling away from her; after all, she still remembered him as the stranger from seven years ago. But he couldn't bring himself to do it.
"Apart from what has just occurred here, the last thing I remember is someone hitting me in the alley at the crime scene…" she trailed off trying to recall finer details.
He pulled her slightly away to look into her blue eyes, afraid she had lost even more memories. "And the other memories? Are they still gone?"
She gave him a tired, questioning stare. "Booth, what are you talking about? These past three days seem a little unclear, which I'm not accustomed to. Did the injury damage my hippocampus?"
Booth couldn't help it; he smiled like a mad man. He pushed Bones back closer to him and planted his mouth onto hers.
His Bones, not Brennan, was finally back in his arms.
I'm debating a short, fluffy epilogue. Yay or nay? Anything you want to see closed up before the story is officially closed?
Thank you so, so, so much for sticking with me through this all! It's been an outrageously numerous amount of delays, which I will continuously apologize for.