A/N To say I have never done this before would be a wild understatement! I've never even considered doing this but thanks to a wonderfully supportive husband and my good friend/adopted daughter givesup (whose name should be nevergivesup because she is that amazing) I am diving outside the comfort zone. They have been the only ones reading this and have encouraged and pushed me. This started as an experiment as I thought how I might handle writing about a traumatic event, showing the emotions, the depth of it without giving a blow by blow. Reviews are welcome - I would love to know what you think of it.
He leaned in putting his face as close to hers as he could, one hand holding hers the other stroking her hair. His jaw was pulsing, eyes fighting to hold back the wide range of emotions coursing through his veins. This moment was about her, he reminded himself to stay as calm as he could, there would be time for him later. Right now she needed him to be strong. She looked at him, sorrow, confusion, fear, she was seeking him with those penetrating blue eyes, seeking his strength, and she would have it – every ounce he could give, she would have it. He felt her tremble. Right now the strong impetuous woman that never wanted or needed his help was gone, he saw what he figured was the scared 15 year old whose parents had abandoned her. The young Temperance trapped for 2 days in the trunk of a car suffering abuse at the hands of unworthy foster parents. He was looking at the girl before she shut completely off. He was looking at the vulnerable child that would eventually decide to never be vulnerable again. He was praying that he could hold onto her enough; make her feel safe enough to not lose the woman she had become, to not lose the ground she had gained in opening up.
In the smallest voice she confessed, "it hurts."
"I know, Baby, I know. They're almost done," he felt himself holding his breath as his eyes darted from her, to them, and back to her watching to see where they were in the process, trying to prepare her for what was next. He closed his eyes for just a moment, his mind racing through the events of the night.
It was probably around 2am when he got the call – late enough that he knew the minute her name popped up on his cell screen that something was wrong. His heart immediately racing, he jumped for his jeans, a t-shirt, shoes, keys, it took him just moments. Hannah chasing him through his apartment the whole time. He was ready to head out the door, about to head out the door with Bones rambling in one ear and Hannah bitching about him leaving in the other. Things hadn't been right with his relationship with Hannah since he told her about Bones' confession of love. She said there was no problem but he was gifted at reading people and he could see it in everything she didn't say.
Now she was saying that there was no reason to race to Tempe's side, that she was probably just drunk, that this was quickly becoming a choice between her and Temperance. But Booth knew what Bones sounded like when she was drunk and this was not that. Something wasn't right – he heard it in Bones' voice, heard her dry heave, cry, heard the muffled sounds of the phone sliding from her grip, heard it hit the ground. It sounded like she was losing consciousness. He begged her to stay with him to keep talking even though she was making no sense. Ignoring Hannah he grabbed the home phone and had the GPS locator activated on her phone and requested a call to his car with the information.
Hannah was still chasing him as he headed out the door. "If you love me you won't go, Seeley."
His response was simple, with no time to mess with being political correctness or spare her feeling he turned and stated the only thing he could, "I've loved her longer, Hannah, I have to go."
He was gone.
Her whimpered cry in pain brought him back to her bedside. "It's okay, Bones, I am here, I'm not leaving, I'm staying right here with you. That's it; just squeeze my hand when it hurts, as hard as you can, as hard as you need to." She clung to him, to his safety, his strength. She looked straight into him for every bit of it she could find in those soft gentle eyes. He took a deep breath – the doctor nodded at him – she was done, done cleaning wounds, done with the few butterfly bandages she needed, done with blood tests, done with the rape kit. "See, it's all over, you did great, Bones." She rolled her whole body towards him, curled around him as much as she could. They layered her in fresh warmed blankets. She was in shock still, shaking uncontrollably, teeth chattering. He stroked her hair and laid a soft kiss on her forehead. "You did it, Baby. I am so proud of you, you are so strong. You'll be okay. I will be here, I'll help, okay?" he kept a steady stream of soft gentle words whispered into her ear. She nodded in acceptance. If he slowed the pace or stopped altogether she would get agitated, letting him know how much she needed his reassuring words right now.
He would have to thank Angela later for installing the GPS locator on Bones' phone. That's what he thought as dispatch called him with her location. Frantic was what he felt now, frantic to find her, the GPS only got him so close. His heart was beating faster and faster as he barreled down the alley throwing crap aside as he looked for her. He collapsed near her limp body lying there beaten, broken slumped in the alley behind a club. Blood trickling down her tender perfect skin, vomit in her hair, clothes torn, ripped, dirty, she had obviously fought. That was his Bones, a fighter. He gathered her up in his arms, holding her close. She recognized him, acknowledged him, but she was making no sense, rambling. He found her phone lying near her body.
He called it in directly to Cullen. Cullen would handle everything else, the call for EMS, an Ambulance, for backup, this had to be discrete, she would want him to be discrete. Cullen understood that.
For a very short moment it was just them in that dark foreboding alley. He held her, she might never remember but in her ramblings she told him she loved him, that she needed him, she begged him to stay. He promised he would. She apologized over and over; he didn't even know what she was apologizing for. Watching her now he was sure she had been drugged. It broke his heart as she rambled on telling him about her attackers, about trying to fight but being so dizzy, interlaced with more apologies. He knew that everything would be foggy and the memories she did have would fade. He had to know as much as she could remember. He set his phone to record and asked as many questions as he could think of as he held her broken body as close to his as he could. Later, when he reviewed the recording, he could hear his own voice crack with emotion he just couldn't contain.
Now, sitting with her here in this cold sterile emergency room, he wondered how much she would remember. Would she remember clinging to him, insisting that he stay with her in the ambulance? Would she remember not letting anyone else touch her, to the point of almost getting violent with the hospital staff? Would she remember insisting he collect her clothes for evidence and help her change into the gown? Would it all be lost when the drugs wore off? Maybe it would be better to not remember the attack, he wasn't sure. Would this moment, him holding her, comforting her, loving her, would this be lost too?
A soft tap on the hospital door let him know they were not going to be alone for long. Cullen stepped quietly in and came over to stand near Booth. A deep sigh escaped before he began, he spoke in low tones trying not to disturb her, "I am having Shaw handle the case. All the resources you need, whatever she needs." He was shaking his head almost in disbelief that this conversation was even happening, "I've told her that, Shaw, she has her orders. You, you just take care of your partner. I have told her to keep you in the loop on everything, Booth. Okay?" Booth nodded. "Until we know whether there is a connection to Dr. Brennan directly I wouldn't take her home, Booth, but you probably already figured that." His words were acknowledged by another nod from Booth.
"I need to make a phone call, Sir, can you sit with her?" he didn't want to leave Bones but he didn't want to take her home and have Hannah be there either. "Bones, I am going to just step across the room, okay? Director Cullen is right here, he is going to sit with you while I do that, okay?" she nodded, he stood, Cullen sat.
"Dr. Brennan, I am not sure I ever told you how much what you did for my daughter meant to me and my wife. You gave us a peace…" he continued to talk as Booth made his call, he promised to find whoever did this, to prosecute them. He tucked the heated blankets around her still trembling body like a father would his ailing daughter, like he had done with his own daughter. He told her that his wife was concerned for her and to let her know how much she cared for the woman who had taken up her daughters cause so vigilantly. He talked about how important she was to the Bureau how important he knew she was to Booth, about partnership, loyalty, law, justice. Justice was weighing heavily on his mind at the moment.
In the background he caught bits and pieces of Booth's conversation with Hannah. She was mad that he had left, mad that he told her that he had loved Brennan longer. He was in no mood, told her simply it was true, and that he realized tonight that it was the only truth that mattered. He apologized, told her to leave, that he needed the apartment clear to bring Bones home to recover, offered to pay for a hotel. She came with few bags; she would leave with few bags. What he didn't know, what she would not give him the satisfaction of knowing now, was that she had already packed, written a note, and left.
He was done.
Cullen handed Booth the keys and his gym bag from his truck. Booth took them and traded places with Cullen, who couldn't help but watch Dr. Brennan relax into Booth's touch and soft words letting her know he was back. She once again turned her body into Booth's as if she were hiding in him.
She had been very talkative while the drugs were still in her system but now as they wore off she talked less and less until she was silent.
It wasn't long before the nurse came in with instructions and release papers. He woke her carefully and asked if she wanted the nurse to help her change. No, she was adamant; she only wanted Booth near her. He reached into his gym bag and pulled some sweats out. He carefully helped her off the bed, her unsteady legs failed her but he caught her steadying her balance by letting her hold onto him while he helped her into his sweat pants, then sweat shirt. He was so careful, worked so hard to keep her covered as best he could, to avert his eyes, to maintain her privacy as much as possible. He had no desire for this to be the way he saw her first. That should be intimate and mutual. He held her hand as they wheeled her to the ambulance entrance of the hospital where his SUV was waiting. He loaded her in, wrapped her in his jacket, reached over her, and blasted the heat. It was time to go home.
By the time he had moved around to the driver's side she had curled up in the seat with her head on the center consol. He carefully moved the hair from over her face and stroked her tender cheek as he drove. It wasn't until they stopped and he began to carry her up to his apartment that she realized he hadn't taken her to her apartment. She was weak and still quite confused, all she managed was, "Hannah," in a questioning tone. He kept it simple, "She's gone, it's just you and me. Is that okay, Bones?"
She nodded and then mustered her strength, "yes." She settled her head under Booth's chin and closed her eyes. He couldn't see them but quiet tears slid down her cheeks.