A/N: Just posting some old stuff from LJ that I didn't realise I never put up here.
She spends the first night alone and at uncanny ease; Booth does not drop by, too-concerned and protective under guise of badge but calls once to tell her he'll swing by at eight in the morning. It's easier than it should be, she thinks, to slip the buttons through their eyelets just as any other day; to shrug the shirt from her shoulders and step out of the simple black cotton, leg after leg.
The hot water is a welcome rush against her too-small skin, scalding and powerful as it soothes her aching shoulders and washes all evidence of ordeal from her exhausted limbs. She emerges from the bathroom in a sweeping cloud of steam, billowing at her feet and returns to the kitchen only for a glass of wine.
(The first night, she sleeps. She does not dream at all.)
"Angela's been great," Hodgins tells her, the next day at the lab, maybe, or even later – still unsteady on his feet but as at home in the lab as any other place, she realises.
Brennan nods, tying her hair back.
just the same as any other day.
"Did you give her the -"
"No," Hodgins says quickly, meeting her eyes. "No. It, uh – I just figured, she didn't need to read it, you know. Not like that. Not when I can tell her myself, I mean."
"I understand," she says, and waits -
"So, uh, did you give…?"
She realises he isn't sure who exactly, not entirely, though he'd like to assume, and she rocks on her feet, hands in the pockets of her lab coat, just once.
"No," she says eventually, lowering her gaze. "Like you said. They don't need to read that."
(Nobody needs to know; not that part at least.)
It's something Hodgins says that eventually makes her dig through the piles of clothing to find the pocket she'd thrust the torn pages into – that makes her hesitate with her finger on the light switch before sliding into bed in the evenings.
There's no case, for once, and he finds her on the platform, eyes vacant and under-shadowed with fear and fatigue, and finally, he thinks, finally there's someone who understands.
She tenses, fist clenched around the piece of paper and when he gently pries it away from her and unfolds it, his heart twists painfully in his chest.
Booth, he imagines it begins, as far as he can make out beneath the scribbling, along with several other scratched-out beginnings, nothing sounding right or making sense until the only farewells she could manage were thick and scratchy, and not at all in her usual neatness, and what the note says, even in not so many words, is: underneath it all, I'm scared. A cry, a plea, an outstretched hand of desperation and the tears are welling in her eyes when he meets her gaze.
please. save me.
"Hey, Dr Brennan?" he says weakly, slightly high pitched and nervous, almost like he's trying to convince himself of his words. And he is, after all; merely repeating back to her everything he's been told himself and wants to think he can believe. It's going to be okay -
"We're safe now. You were right. Booth found us."
"Booth found us," she agrees, but she's staring blankly ahead. "And yet… and yet sometimes I'm still down there, Hodgins. I'm living, I'm breathing, I'm alive and it's illogical, but… I can't get out of there."
(Because she was scared, damn it, she nearly died, and she needed the biggest freaking hug of them all – couldn't Booth see that? Couldn't any of them see that, without her having to speak the words?)
He wraps his warm hand around hers, stagnant on the cold metal of the table. They pause, briefly, gazes dropping to the place their palms touch and back up towards blue eyes, and before he can repeat the lie her arms are around him again, briefly, taking him back there, back to all the weight and the silence and it's been a pleasure, but. but I think this is goodbye.
but I think this is goodbye.
"I'm glad we made it," she breathes into his jacket, and smiles, shakily, and what it says to him is this: I'm fine, really, and what it means is: not at all. "I should… I should get back to work."
He swallows, and nods.
(He knows exactly how this feels.)
"What is this?" he'll ask her, after; his hands struggling with his jeans up over his hips and his head bowed, his back to her and too much and too little between them. "What are we doing here?"
She'll kiss him first, this time – slow and sweet and nothing like what's come before and maybe, she'll sigh, heart wrenchingly, painfully into his ear, we're pulling thin air out of thin air.
His eyes fall shut as he presses her back into the mattress, anger bubbling up to diffuse to her skin from his fingertips, dead and cold but burning and ohso frantic.
that's going to bruise, and.
(He thinks he's forgotten how to breathe.)
"I'm sure you can drag yourself away from that table for a few hours, or so, Bones. Her parents deserve to know what happened to her. It'd be good for you to get away from the lab – you've been shut up in here for a few days, now, burying yourself in your work… all I'm saying is, not healthy."
female. approximately thirty years in age. cause of death appears to be asphyxiation -
Booth is dressed in black and white and serenading shades of grey like it's the levels that define him, confining all colour to the tread of his feet on the concrete, and something inside of her snaps.
"Stop babying me," she enunciates, and scrunches up her mouth in the way that she's practiced to show him she's fed up with him, turning her back and returning focus to the remains.
"Hey, hey, Bones. Simmer down. You usually like to help out with this part, is all."
"Well as I've explained to you, I'm busy."
She doesn't elaborate.
"You know, Bones," he begins again tentatively, "if this is about the whole car thing, then –"
"It isn't," she interrupts.
"Uhuh. You uh, you sure?"
"Yes, Booth, I'm sure," she frowns. "For me to have a fear of cars now would be highly irrational."
"Human. It would be human."
She brushes past him, pulling the latex gloves on with a snap and a pointed stare. He doesn't scare, though; still keeps his shoulders square and brow furrowed, bulk tilted slightly towards her only half in softened sympathy.
"My insurance company organised me a rental. I've driven myself to work for the past three days, Booth. I'm fine."
(This, at least, is the half-truth; her hands don't shake at the wheel, and she drives with the windows down and the wind in her hair as a reminder.)
It's late (after midnight on the fifth day; when did she get to lose such track of time?) when she opens the door, and she expects Booth to be standing there, tired but smiling piano forte and smelling like the lemon honey chicken and sweet and sour pork cradled in his arms.
"Booth," she begins, voice tired, "how many times do I have to tell you that I'm perfectly capable of -" She stops, suddenly, surprised. "Hodgins," she finishes, almost lamely, and the sentence dissipates on her tongue.
(He is the soldier that for days, months, years thinks only of his wife and of returning to her, having that seemingly unattainable dream come true and being hit with the sickening lurch somewhere in the vicinity of his stomach that is the realisation that she doesn't, can't, understand.)
She doesn't understand -
"You understand," he murmurs against the corner of her mouth, later, just where he thinks she might taste the sweetest. She's trembling, moving so beautifully beneath him and his hands are tangling in her hair. "You understand. Angela, she – you; it was so... so..."
"Dark. It was... very dark."
She stands almost stock still as he finally claims her lips, gently, softly, and her eyes flick backward hesitantly before closing, and she opens her mouth to him but does little else. Her hands hang by her sides as he touches her fervently, palms running over her shoulders and pushing back her jacket and when he senses she isn't reciprocating, not completely, he draws back.
She meets his gaze, slow and steady, and when she sees the fear lingering there something twists, deep in the core of her and she tilts her head in surrender, in invitation, and her lips are back on his in an instant.
They're stumbling backwards and her shoulders are hitting the wall with force, his thumbs rubbing circles on her stomach and she pulls back, looks him in the eye as she pulls her camisole over her head, kissing him again, hard, as soon as she's free of the fabric. There's his thigh between hers and the sweet friction of his jeans with her closer to the edge than she should be and a shared appreciative groan as he's finally inside her and when he winces she pulls away, breathing heavy, with concern.
"Your leg," she murmurs, head tilting back but he quietens her with an upward thrust.
(There's Angela – oh god, there's Angela – but this is something else entirely; he seeks her life and her light but goes elsewhere for understanding.)
His fingers brush the underside of her breast, and she whimpers.
"It's fine," he insists, and soon enough he's coming, hard, and she's touching herself to follow, and his legs finally give out and crumple. A pile of arms, legs, and half discarded clothing on the floor and he pushes her hand away, presses down hard on her clit and she gasps, bucking against him.
She tastes like salt and darkness and the air they almost didn't breathe, and later when his eyes fly open from the nightmare her hand around his dick and her mouth on his is something like slow, sweet understanding.
it was dark, and the air was… it was getting thin but it felt too thick, almost, too heavy to breathe and all you could smell was dirt. dirt, and perfume…
(The light stays on. They do not sleep at all.)
Rinse. Repeat -
It's nine days, almost to the hour and a part of her figures that giving the computer her undivided attention is somehow better than meeting her best friend's eyes; somehow better than I'm sorry and it was never supposed to happen like this and all the jumbled tears between she wishes she knew how to let fall.
"Brennan," Angela says again, and the pleading note in her voice is what eventually tears her eyes away from the screen, "what happened down there?"
it was dark. very dark.
"I don't understand."
"It's Hodgins. He's all quiet and attentive and to be honest with you, it's starting to freak me out. He won't talk, Brennan, and while I'm used to that from you, something isn't right. With him. Something isn't right with him and I know I should be patient and understanding but I really don't know what else to do."
"I'm probably not the best person to be asking for advice on relationships, Angela."
"Not relationships. Hodgins. And being buried alive."
She impresses herself with the ability to suppress the sharp intake of breath at the words being spoken aloud; the very small part of her that just might be growing in the knowledge of how to read people senses that it's exactly the kind of thing Angela is looking for. Proof that she isn't doing quite as well as she's managed to fool everyone into thinking she is, and her heart pounds rhythmically in her chest.
"What do you want me to say, Ange?"
I was thinking maybe you could talk to him.
"Anything," Angela whispers, wringing her hands before turning to leave. "I just want one of you to say something, instead of shutting me out like this."
(The only thing is, she doesn't know where to begin.)
Once upon a time, there was a Gravedigger.
(After all; the best place, they often say, is the start.)
Two weeks of clandestine ways of coping and he's itching again, itching beneath the cast where his wound's healing, itching for the smooth skin of Angela's hips and her sweet, smiling mouth but Brennan's fingers, nails angry at his back and unforgiving as they tangle in his hair, and his leg pulses painfully in reminder. He starts towards her office unsure of even his own intentions but where he finds himself is Booth -
"- and I don't want you to get mad, like I'm in on your territory or anything, dude, because seriously, this was the last kind of thing I saw happening, and I love Angela, man," he says forcefully, clumsy on his feet and his limbs at a loss of what to do.
"Hodgins, what is it?"
"Me and Dr Brennan, man," he says, finally standing still and meeting his gaze. "You gotta help me. I can't do this anymore."
Booth freezes, here; lets the words wash over him with a strange ease of familiarity that should be like shock and little bits of glass but instead it's oh god, I should have known. He almost did –
(She's stopped wearing perfume.)
"Hodgins, I don't know what to say," he stumbles over eventually, stunned. "Except talk to her. Angela, I mean. You've got to talk to her. It'll do you both some good."
He nods, at this; knowing it and hearing it and having someone say it – having someone else know – is like the weight crumbling from his shoulders.
like the dirt (god, he hates the word) washing sweetly from his skin.
"Dr Brennan -"
"—Bones," Booth says, sucks in a breath and stops. His hand rests briefly on his shoulder. "Just – just sort things out with Angela, okay? I'll take care of everything else."
(He's tempted, oh so tempted, to pull out the siren, but he keeps himself in check and barely lifts his foot from the gas the whole way there.)
When he opens the door (unlocked, almost like an invitation; he'll still have to chastise her for it later) she isn't anywhere in plain sight but he can hear her breathing, he thinks, a little heavier than usual and broken and irregular. He drapes his jacket hesitantly over the back of her couch.
He takes in the illuminated room, the lamps and the burning ceiling bulbs, aching a little inside knowing that it's got this far without him realising, and almost without thinking his fingers linger on the light switch, and seconds later the room's reduced to an eerie glow. He does hear the intake of breath this time, sharp and jagged, and he continues his quest by switching off lamp after lamp and extinguishing light after light.
She's against the wall outside her room when he finds her, slid down to wrap her arms around her knees and her hair's all ruffled and her eyes are wide and haunted when she glances up at him in surprise.
"Booth," is all she says, with an underlying, desperate hint of what are you doing, but more than anything he's glad that there's that stronger hint of trust, too.
He crouches down in front of her, brushes a strand of hair from her eyes and smiles; extends his palm and the small, red candle flickers light across her tear streaked features. She takes it, captivated by the tiny flame.
"You're going to be okay, Bones," he tells her. "You don't have to be afraid of the dark anymore."
The seconds tick by before she finally meets his gaze, and slowly, she nods.
(What you have is faith -)
Her arms thread around his neck, and she extinguishes the candle herself.
(The only light left is the stars.)