To See All My Worlds Disappear

Summary: He has to focus on the miracles, because he knows his faith won't survive this otherwise. Spoilers for A Shot In the Dark.

A/N: A little late, but perhaps better late than never?

Oh dear lady

Won't you stay with me, just a little longer

You know it always seems

Always seems like you're leaving

When I need you here, just a little longer

-Good Feeling, Violent Femmes

They don't fight all that much, so when they do it's jarring. Oh, they argue a lot, disagree even more than that. She can be insensitive and he can be impatient. Parenting, faith, marriage - nearly all aspects of life, it sometimes seems - and they are not quite opposites, but they are contradictory elements. She keeps him on his toes, keeps him sparring, and it's part of the reason he fell in love with her.

This, though. He's not sure why this one becomes a true, blown-out fight when all the others haven't. Maybe all of them have been leading to this. Maybe it's because somewhere between all the scarring and bad memories his father left him with, there are a handful of good ones scattered in his mind, and he holds onto them like lifelines. He needs to give his daughter the good memories, the new experiences, the ability to live and love fully. He doesn't care that some expert says she won't be able to remember this. He just wants to give her the day for now, give them – both of his girls – the family life he missed out on, the family life he so desperately wanted to give to Parker, the family life he finally gets to experience as a loving father and hus—mate.

He never meant to suggest he was a better parent because she disagreed with him. She is a wonderful mom, warm and loving and he never doubted her abilities for a second, even as she doubted herself during the pregnancy. He always knew her heart was up to the challenge.

And he knows the second she leaves that this fight they've just had is based in misunderstanding, in things they never meant to imply or say, rooted in a lack of patience on his part and too much closed-mindedness on hers. He knows enough to go after her, but he lets the anger cool awhile because going to her while it's still burning will only lead to more regret. And then he gets Christine ready and into her car seat and heads out, even speeds a little, because suddenly he needs to see her now.

Five minutes.

Five minutes later and this story ends very differently.

It must be a miracle that he gets there when he does. It must be a miracle, never mind the fact that she shouldn't have been shot in the first place, shouldn't have been in the lab at all, should have been home tucking Christine into bed. It must be a miracle of miracles to come, because he doesn't know what he'll do if it isn't.

As much as he'd have her believe otherwise, his faith is not unshakeable. How could it be, with the things he sees every day? How could it be, when all too often , he has to tell a parent their child is dead? And he doubts and he worries and wonders, and then he sees something of beauty – her smile, their baby, the sunset – and he knows that God has blessed him, the world, and he needs to do what he can to put the bad guys away and do right, to keep these blessings alive for as many other people as he can.

God has a plan, and Booth has faith.

But if she doesn't make it through this...

The fear is gnawing, suffocating, burning. There is an emptiness enveloping him at the very thought, and he can feel it spreading through to his fingertips. Please don't leave me, he thinks, through a wash of white noise and ambulance sirens. He needs her to see the sunlight, to feel the earth turn, to breathe properly.

It's a hollow thought in the back of his mind, a place he won't allow himself to go: the truth is, he's not sure he'll be able to forgive God if he takes her away now.

He forces it away, buries it under several layers of restless thought . There are so many more pressing issues, and it won't come to that, anyway. It can't.

And so he prays instead. He prays for her health, her life, her soul. He prays for his faith and their baby girl, who should never have to know life without her mother. He prays because it sustains him, because he needs to believe in miracles, now more than ever.

It could be minutes or hours that she's in surgery, but it feels like years. She's unconscious when he's finally allowed into her room, and he sits sentinel for awhile, watching her, memorizing the lines of her face. He holds her hand for awhile, too. It is warm and soft in his, and he squeezes it gently. I'm here for you, he says, and hopes that she can hear him somewhere in the back of her consciousness.

He bows his head and prays some more, a silent plea, and then she's stirring herself awake. He breathes a little easier at the sound of her voice, though he knows she's weak and not out of the woods yet by any means. But it reassures him that she's fighting to stay with him too, and he's grateful that his voice snapping angrily at her will not be the last thing she hears from him in this lifetime.

Later, much later, once they have the bad guy and the evidence to put him away, when he's hearing the story of Max's stolen gift, the thought comes again. He knows there may indeed come a day when he has a reason to hate God or to doubt, a day when he loses hope and can feel only pain, and if that day should come, it will be a long hard road to forgiveness and understanding through grief.

But today is not that day.

Today is the day he gets his miracle, the day she heals from an impossible bullet wound, the day she tells him stories of her mother and white light, the day she holds his hand and kisses him from a hospital bed.

Thank you, God.

A/N: Thought it might be fun to have a reversal and see Booth doubting, or on the verge of doubting, his faith just as Bones is doubting her science and logic.