A/N: If you're on LJ or Twitter, you might have seen that Razztaztic had a Fill-in-the-blank prompt that asked people to bookend a fic, starting canonically at the end of 'Aliens in a spaceship' and ending canonically with the beginning of 'Headless Witch in the Woods' and filling in the blanks in between with whatever we wanted. This was mine.
A hand through the dust.
A stare of disbelief at their luck.
A laugh of relief.
And suddenly, for a fleeting moment, nothing else existed but them.
Booth watched her carefully as he walked her to the valet station in front of the hospital, looking for any sign that she might collapse from walking the thirty steps to the SUV.
"I'm fine, Booth." She murmured at his hovering. "They've looked me over twice: once in the ambulance and once in the hospital. There is nothing wrong with me that rest and several very long showers won't fix." Even still, Booth placed a strong arm around her as he guided her towards his car.
"I'm taking you home, I'm locking the door, I'm not leaving you alone again until I'm satisfied that you're actually fine." What he really meant was that he wasn't leaving her alone again until he was fine.
"I've been kidnapped and held as a hostage before. At least this time I had Hodgins." Booth paused as he held open her door for her.
"Yeah, and you know what?" He asked her as she took her place in his passenger seat. "You two were a foot of dirt and three minutes away from dying so the fact that you were together does absolutely nothing to comfort me." He said. He slammed the door to the SUV before she could comment further but he felt her pointed look through the windshield as he made his way around the front of the vehicle. He opened his driver's side door and got in, expecting her argument to continue. When nothing came, he glanced over at her. She was leaning back against the headrest.
"I'm sorry." She turned his direction. Her head was still against the headrest and for a brief second, it looked like she was lying on a pillow across from him. Booth shook the intimate thought out of his brain. "Lack of sleep, lack of food, I get crabby when I'm held hostage." She informed him. He smiled.
"I can fix that." He said as he turned the ignition over.
Booth got her home safely, although he had to use his key to let her in because hers was still considered evidence. After a meal and a real shower, Brennan emerged from her bedroom in pajamas. She half-expected him to be waiting outside the door but instead, she found him on her couch. His eyes were closed and his hands were folded and resting in front of his mouth. She thought he might be sleeping sitting up until he crossed himself and turned to face her.
"I'm sorry. Were you praying?" She asked, suddenly feeling foolish for interrupting.
"Yeah." He said as he beckoned her towards the couch. "I've been doing that a lot the past twenty-four hours. Not all of it good." He confessed. "I owed Him an apology." He said, pointing to the ceiling as she sat down next to him. Booth had just saved her life so she let her Invisible Man Upstairs comment slide and took him seriously for a second. Her insatiable curiosity wondered what he might have said that warranted an apology to God. More importantly, she wondered what he would have to say to make up for it.
"Perhaps you should go to church. Isn't that the normal protocol for talking to God?" She asked, secretly hoping it wouldn't be tonight. Despite her arguing over his hovering, the fact was that she wanted nothing more than to invite him into her bed, curl up next to him and feel safe again. She doubted she would even be able to sleep, but if he was there, she had a feeling her chances would increase dramatically.
"Maybe I will." Booth said. Brennan had to stop to make sure he was still on the topic of church and not reading her mind and planning on joining her in bed. Feeling too exposed, she wrapped her arms over her chest. "Do you wanna go with me? I mean, I know it's not something you believe in but I always feel…calmer afterwards." She hesitated but getting to watch him in a church setting was too much of an opportunity for her to pass up.
"As an anthropologist, I think I would find that very interesting. Yes." She nodded professionally, hoping he would buy it. She couldn't tell if he did but he nodded once and stood up.
"Tomorrow." He replied as he reached for her hand. "Tonight, we sleep." And without a single thought, he pulled her up off the couch and marched her into her bedroom. She watched as he began pulling down her comforter of her bed. She paused, unsure of what he was doing until he waved her over to the spot.
He was tucking her in.
The thought was nearly incomprehensible to her. She hadn't had anyone tuck her in since she was in pre-school. Still, her feet moved towards the bed, unable to deny the comforting appeal of her own bed. He smirked as he pulled at the blankets.
"What?" She asked, wondering what could possibly be so funny.
"Nothing, it's just, you're so much taller than Parker." He chuckled as pulled her covers over her. She looked up at him and chuckled incredulously before playfully ripping the blankets out of his hands. He headed for the door and put his hands on the light switch.
"Booth?" She asked hesitantly.
"Yeah?" He said as he looked at her from the doorway. She didn't say anything, just glanced at the switch. He looked at his hand and realized what she was worried about. He removed his hand and tapped the door jam with his palm instead. "Night, Bones." He said with a forced smile, leaving the light on and the door as wide open as it would go.
Brennan listened to his footsteps as he rounded the corner and entered the guest bedroom. She knew he was just as tired as she was but she heard him turn on the TV. She heard it well, which meant that his door was left open too. It was a silent gesture, but one that filled her with more love and comfort than anything else could. He wanted her to know that he was right beside her; she was not alone. She smiled as she closed her eyes, letting the muffled sounds of his sports program lull her to sleep.
The next morning, Brennan watched Booth as he prayed, trying to understand what he might be praying about. He said he had asked forgiveness from God, but since that was the entire point of Christianity, she figured there had to be more. Still, with Booth's guilt, it probably made him feel better to be sure. He leaned back to sit down in the pew again and Brennan had to know.
"What did you ask for?" She asked and Booth knew that she had been waiting anxiously to ask.
"That's between me and a certain Saint." Booth replied, keeping mum. "Although, I did ask for a little help finding The Grave Digger." He added.
"Good move." She stated and the corner of Booth's mouth twitched. "What's that smell?" She asked.
"The candles." He explained with a nod to the wall of votives. "And I said thanks." He added, getting back to the point of their conversation. "You should try it sometime." He suggested.
"If I were going to pray, I would have done it just before we set off the explosion." She stated.
"And you didn't?" He asked, a part of him surprised that he was still surprised by her statement. He had seen the most stoic men talk to God before dying; he just assumed that when push came to shove, everyone hedged their bets.
"No. See, if there was a God, which there isn't…" She began, about to give him a lecture.
"Shhhh!" He hushed her as he looked around. "Do you see where we are?" He pointed out as he looked at the altar.
"And if I were someone who believed he had a plan…" She continued unfazed.
"...which I do…" Booth reminded her quietly, hoping she would cut the blasphemy a little before they were both struck down by God himself.
"Then I'd be tempted to think He wanted me to go through something like I went through because it might make me more open to the whole….concept."
"Mmhm. It obviously hasn't." He commented dryly.
"I'm okay with you thanking God for saving me and Hodgins." She informed him.
"That's not what I thanked Him for. I thanked Him for saving…" he struggled to explain, "all of us. It was all of us. Every. Single. One. You take one of us away, and you and Hodgins are in that hole forever." His stomach turned at the sentence even now. "And I'm thankful for that." Brennan felt emotion rise up into her throat at his words.
"I knew you wouldn't give up." She told him quickly, the words sliding out easily. He smiled a soft, but slightly proud smile that she would believe in him that much.
"I knew you wouldn't give up." He replied right back, letting her know that he trusted her just as much. They both looked to the front of the church and Booth's hand wrapped itself into Brennan's. They both sat in silence, hand in hand, understanding that their partnership had just taken a new turn.
"It's getting thicker and thicker in here." Brennan commented as she fought her way through the woods.
"That's why the forensic team got lost. I've sent somebody back to find them." Ranger Edison explained.
"Look, you sure you know where you're going?" Booth asked as the Ranger led them deeper into the forest. It sure as hell didn't feel like it.
"I still have trouble and I've been here for three years. That's why we advise hikers to stay away."
"I know I'm pining for concrete." Booth groused at the lack of an answer. "You just, uh, you stay close, alright Bones?" He commanded as he trudged on. "I don't want you to get caught out here when it gets dark. Okay?" He remembered her fear of the dark when he stayed at her place and it still ate at him. When he got no smartass response for his concern, he looked around and noticed that she was, in fact, missing. He stopped and turned around. "Bones? Bones?" The panic in his voice was evident as he went back looking for her. "Where the hell are you?! Bones?!"
"I'm right here, Booth." She finally called out, her tone clearly annoyed. Booth didn't give a damn. If his fear of losing sight of her was irrational, at least it was understandable given their last case.
"Don't do that, alright?" He scolded.
"What?" She asked, unsure of what she had done wrong.
"Take off like that, okay? You heard the guy." He added, backing up his fear with some valid evidence, hoping it would buy some support for his opinion.
"I saw this." Brennan said as she pointed to the tree. "Some sort of talisman. These are bones from a bird." She said as she prodded the psycho-looking decoration. "And the coloring on the ornament looks like dried blood. There are more of 'em too." Booth followed her gaze to the many ornaments in the area.
"They look like eyes." Booth realized slowly. As soon as he heard his own statement, he shuddered. "Okay, this is weird." He decided. Between the creepy eyes, and the fear that came whenever Brennan wasn't in his direct line of sight, Booth became conscious of the fact that his desire to ease back into working again had been a delusion. With a sigh, he made a mental note to double check his vacation time when he got back to the Hoover.
Something told him, he was about to need it.