I know I'm repeating myself, but THANK YOU for the reviews and interest in the story.
I hope you enjoyed!
She was pacing his hospital room for at least half an hour already, around three sides of the bed and back again. 'Table, door, TV set, window, window, TV set, door, table ...'
"You're gonna make me dizzier than I already am, Bones"
She jumped, startled. "Booth! You're awake"
"Yep. Fancy seeing you here" he cringed as soon as the words left his mouth. That wasn't the way he planned on starting this conversation. "Sorry. I'm sorry, Bones, that was uncalled for"
"No, you have every right to be upset. I should have visited you before, I just..."
"Hey, it's okay, I'm glad you're here now" he threw the blanket aside and slowly turned to lower his feet to the ground.
"Can I help you? Do you need help?"
He gave her an odd look "Yeah". She could swear there was a pause before he disambiguated, by extending an arm to her. "Help me sit up here"
She pulled slowly on his arm while he pushed with the other, gritting his teeth.
"Are you okay Booth? Are you in pain?"
"I'll be fine" small beads of sweat appeared on his forehead. "It'll pass in a second"
She eyed the still full vial of morphine from which he could've released small amounts by pressing a button any time during the night. "You didn't use any morphine" her tone was accusatory.
"I said I'm fine. I hate that" jerking his chin towards the vial "My head was screwed with enough"
"Did you know that habituation or sensory adaptation occurs quite quickly with constant sensory stimulation for almost all the senses but not for pain?"
"I just meant ..."
"I know what you meant, Bones" he smiled faintly at her – at least some things never change. He could postulate a theory of his own: 'When faced with an uncomfortable situation Bones will always sprout science-y stuff'
She went to sit beside him on the bed, soaking up the warmth radiating from him. Her mouth opened and closed a few times but still nothing came out.
"Come on Bones, what is it? Spit it out"
"Spit what out? I don't... Oh, you meant that figuratively" she took a deep breath. "I should have thought about searching for lower DNA matches a lot sooner"
"Hindsight is always 20/20"
"What do you mean?"
"The tendency to see past events as being predictable. It's a judgment error". He shook his head "Sweets must be rubbing up on me"
"Are you saying my judgment is erroneous?" she frowned.
"Well, in this case..."
"I don't think so Booth. This is what we do, we solve crimes, we identify people, we find them from the smallest clues and now when..." she faltered "...it was so important and I... I'm so sorry Booth. I'm so sorry, you have every right to blame me for what..."
"Hey" he grabbed her wrist forcefully. "Listen to me. I don't blame you. I don't. It's not your fault, nothing that happened is your fault. Do you hear me? Whatever got you the idea I might blame you?"
The damned lump was back in her throat "I...you said... you said I didn't come for you...when they brought you in...you were..."
He swiped a hand over his face "Jesus Bones, I don't know what I said, I don't even remember... I didn't even know where I was"
She didn't say anything and didn't raise her eyes from the spot on the floor she had been staring at. 'God I have to go there I have to make her understand' His hand was shaking slightly, still holding on to her wrist. "That's what he said, that you, that nobody will come for me. That's probably why I said... I thought I was still there, I..." his breathing was fast and uneven and his grip on her wrist was becoming painful.
"Booth..." she raised her other hand to touch his face and he unconsciously recoiled before settling down and releasing her wrist. White marks were visible where his fingers squeezed.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry Bones, I can't... talk about this now" he fought hard against the need to curl up in a corner and instead stood slowly. "How could you ever think I would blame you? How could you not trust the way I feel about you? You must know that!"
She was aching to touch him, to hold him, but didn't dare to at this point. She tried to swallow the tears choking her "I do, I do know. I...failed you. If not in finding you sooner then in trusting you"
He lost it. "Stop! Stop it! Stop trying to assume blame! You don't understand! It's not you who failed me, it's the other way around"
Saying these things out loud, saying these things to her was harder than he could have imagined. But it was something he had to do now or he might never do.
"I don't...break easily Bones. I'm trained for that. Sure, I hurt as much as the next person but pain is just pain. It's how you deal with it that matters, it's what you're made of, what you show yourself and the others to be. I didn't break in Iraq, I stood up to them even when I couldn't physically stand anymore. But now...now they broke me and that's what's so painful. And they did that not because you didn't find me soon enough but because I lost faith. I didn't trust you enough to believe, really believe, that eventually you would come for me" he leaned against the wall, his eyes squeezed shut, his whole body shaking.
He felt her approaching and forced his eyes open. Tears were streaming down her face, the battle to keep them confined lost a while ago. She placed her hands on his chest cautiously and when he didn't flinch she molded herself to him, head to toe, face in the crook of his neck. Slowly, his arms went around her and he held on, still shaking. She murmured incoherently, words muffled in his neck, but every word was music to his ears, soothing him a bit more.
"I missed you so much Booth...couldn't believe...I need you...always...don't ever leave again...so scared...so lonely without you...I missed you so much...I love you...love you..."
They were still entwined against the wall, both crying, when Sweets came in a while later. He gave one look and slowly closed the door behind him. It was going to be a long way to recovery but the first and most important steps were already taken.
End note: Well, like Sweets said, it's still a long road to recovery, but I feel that's maybe for another story. This one wanted to deal with the kidnapping and its immediate consequences for B&B.