"Really, Bones? You're really going to stand there and say that to me?"
"Booth, you're being foolish. You're misunderstanding what I'm saying."
"No, I think I hear you loud and clear. That's what you think of me, huh? I'm good enough to get you pregnant, but you don't have much other use for me."
"That's not true! I love you! If you would stop letting your pride get in the way-"
Booth put up his hand to silence her. He snatched his keys up from the hook where they hung by the front door. "Whatever. I don't want to hear it. I'm going out."
"Fine. Go!" She snapped. Without a backwards glance the door slammed with a particular vicious note of ferocity. Brennan stood solo in the aftermath trying to comprehend just what had taken place.
The shrill ringing of a rotary phone woke Brennan from the fitful sleep she'd been lost in. Without opening her eyes she extended her hand to the bedside table where her phone laid charging. Unplugging it, she managed to turn the alarm off without ever moving much more than her arm. Why had she decided her ring tone would make an excellent alarm? Further, why hadn't she bothered to change it when she went through this same thought process every morning? "Are you showering first?" She grumbled. The lack of response she received at last got her eyes open. The space in the bed besides her was empty. Her heart fell with sorrow.
Brennan waited a half an hour before calling his phone. "Booth please, this is ludicrous. We need to talk. You need to come home."
"I'll come home when I'm ready."
"When will that be?"
"I don't know." He disconnected the line.
She and Booth had gotten into plenty of fights before. Usually she had always been the one to leave. But in the rare occasions that Booth did he always was back by morning. Could he still be so angered with her? Tears flooded her eyes. She decided she'd shower and make breakfast before trying his phone again. With a great amount of difficultly she sat up. Her protruding stomach which currently housed her growing child loomed in front of her. More extreme effort it took just to climb up out of bed.
Booth and Brennan had been together for years, though not in the traditional sense. They'd made the transitions from acquaintances to partners, and partners to subsequently, lovers. She'd been in a slight shock when she'd discovered her pregnancy. She'd been surprised again at the joyous reception she'd received from him when she'd told him the news. Though she hadn't been sure what she'd been expecting, his reaction had told her all she'd needed to know. Being with him was the right choice. Since then they'd been much more outgoing about their relationship.
Her thoughts were on him all while she showered and prepared for the morning. She turned on his television on her way to the kitchen to make breakfast. Before they'd begun making the awkward apartment shifts every week Brennan had hardly ever watched a television for more than a few hours at a time. Because of Booth she'd begun viewing more. In the morning he usually liked to watch the news before heading off to work. He may not have been there but his habit ran in her.
She removed two pieces of bread from the loaf. Into the toaster she inserted them, and then sat to wait for them to finish. The local news anchor's voice loudly boasted the morning's headlines.
"Our top story this morning happened during the overnight hours. Fog and ice are to blame for a ten car pile up that occurred on the Key Bridge. Four were dead on the scene, and one died later from their injuries at a local hospital. Others were transported to area hospitals. We have Mike live out at the scene. Mike, what time would you say this happened?"
"Well Carol, the police are telling me they believe the first accident took place around two this morning."
Brennan's blood ran ice cold. Her argument with Booth had been in that time frame. He'd never come home all night, so far as she knew.
"Since it was dark by the time upcoming traffic came upon the first accident, there was little they could do. Ice on the road only complicated the matter."
"Do you know anything about the injured?"
"As you can see from the pictures-"
Brennan flew into the living room to watch the screen. A sick feeling was forming in her stomach. This time she was sure it had nothing to do with her pregnancy.
The carnage was massive. Multiple cars had hit so hard they'd nearly crunched into one. A few were upside down. Pieces were lying in the road. A tire had been laid up against a guard rail. "No," she whispered to herself.
"The damage was pretty great. I'm told the survivors were transported in both serious and critical conditions. That's the only information the police have given."
As calmly as she could sustain Brennan retrieved her cell phone from the bedroom. She sat herself back down on the mattress. She dialed Booth's number, staying on the line until it rang through to his voice mail. After five minutes she repeated her actions. He didn't answer.
Her heart was in her throat when she began dialing hospitals to search for him. The first one she tried, the most local, had no listing for him. The second one didn't want to give her any information at all. "Please, I'm his wife." She'd begged her lie. Only then did they too, admit he was not a patient in their hospital.
Just as she was beginning to try a third her phone rang in her hand with an unidentified number. Swallowing raw nerves, she answered. "Brennan?"
"Is this Dr. Temperance Brennan?"
She shut her eyes tight. "Speaking."
"This is Dr. Nash. I'm calling you concerning-"
"Booth." She under toned. A tear dripped down her cheek.
Dr. Mullins had tried to prepared her over the phone. But no amount of preparation could ready her for what awaited her in the intensive care unit. Upon arriving at the hospital she was appointed to Booth's doctor straight away. The man had taken her hand. "I'm sorry we have to meet under such circumstances."
She merely nodded. In a robotic voice she heard herself ask, "what happened to him?"
"He was fifth in the pile up, from what I've been told. He came up on the accident and swerved to avoid. The trouble was the speed at which he was traveling and the ice-"
"Please just get to the point."
"Basically, his vehicle was t-boned by another and sandwiched into the pile up."
"What are his injuries?"
"Couple of broken ribs. Punctured lung. Broken wrist and collarbone. But the injury we are most concerned about is his brain. He suffered a severe head injury. We were forced to do surgery to relieve building pressure."
Brennan worked hard to control her emotions. "Are you saying he has brain damage? How bad is it?"
"We won't know the true extent of the injury until he wakes. Then we'll be better able to assess."
She nodded, not being able but to help think he was holding something back from her. "I wish to see him."
"Of course. Right this way." He wound her around through the back halls of the unit until they stopped in front of a particular cubicle. It took all the courage Brennan could muster to approach the bed. The sight of him took her breath away. Both his eyes were blackened with bruises. His face was cut up from glass, no doubt from a shattered windshield. A white bandage covered his entire head. A respirator mask strapped down over his mouth and nose kept him breathing in a timely rhythm. But she could still hear his fight for each breath. Her stoic stance slipped. "Booth."
Dr. Mullins sensed it was best to leave them alone. He made his quiet exit. Brennan hardly remembered he'd been with her in the first place. "I'm so sorry," she took a hold of his undamaged hand and gave it a squeeze of affection. "You wouldn't have been out there if it weren't for me."
With the exception of his breathing Booth was completely still. She saw no glimpse of him in the shell that had been pulled from the wreckage. Without letting go she pulled a chair up besides his bed and sat down. No matter how long it took, she'd wait for him.