The sound of gunfire would forever reverberate in Brennan's ears. The moving images of Booth's silhouette slumping to the ground would forever be burned upon her mind; replaying any time she dared to shut her eyes. The panic would become as familiar as her own heartbeat; the heartbeat that had stopped the moment she'd numbly stumbled over to his fallen body.

The broken street light concealed the Sequoia as it sat hidden in the shadows. Booth and Brennan sat slouched low in their seats. A word hadn't been exchanged between them in quite some time. While she glanced to him sporadically, his eyes hadn't strayed away from the inconspicuous alleyway just beyond their windshield. His jaw was clenched; his muscles tight. He was a jaguar on the prowl ready to pounce onto his unsuspecting victim.

They'd received intelligence that a suspect they'd been pursuing in the death of a college student frequented the area. Specifically, the run down bar that sat on the street corner behind them. Ever since they'd been made aware of his name they'd yet to be able to detain the man for questioning. His home address was inaccurate. Steady employment wasn't a part of his life. Tracking him down had been a full time job in itself.

Booth firmly believed due to the mounting evidence and his past criminal record that Robert Allen was guilty, even if he had no solid proof. As always he trusted his gut instead of using logic. That was Brennan's role. Her way of keeping him level headed and objective.

"What are you thinking?" She asked him quietly.

His intense gaze remained averted from hers. "I wanna get this guy, Bones."

She reminded him, "but we don't have evidence to formally charge him. The warrant only allows us to bring him in for questioning."

He wasn't swayed. "I know he's the one. I just know it. It makes complete sense to me. He never should have been released from prison."

She had no counter argument for that statement. Allen was a cold hearted killer who had appealed his sentence and won on a technicality. It wasn't fair, but the world never was.

Another silence fell between them. Never before had she seen him so serious during a stakeout. On the handful they'd been through together they'd never had any success in capturing their suspects. Boredom typically resulted in him being overly chatty. He'd never lose his awareness of their surroundings, however.

The outline of a figure flashed in the light from the alley. "That's him," Booth declared assuredly. He opened his car door and slid out from his seat, service weapon already in hand.

The ambulance bounced along as it hit every single pot hole and imperfection in the streets, sending her bobbing up and down on her posh leather bench seat. The jarring didn't affect her in any way. Her shock and sorrow had taken control of all of her senses, numbing her to any impending outside forces. Life had softened her walls that were once made of steel. No long could she disassociate from sorrow. Not when her husband had just been mortally wounded right before her very eyes. Certainly not when it was all her fault.

"Stay here!"

"No! I'm not letting you run off on your own!"

His heated glare burned into hers. "I need you to stay behind to call for help if anything happens. And I need you to stay for Christine."

Her protests died on her lips. Anything for their daughter. Mournfully she watched as he charged forth into the shadows. Stay safe! She felt like calling after him, but the well wish would risk exposing her position. On pins and needles she waited for a sign, or some other indication that Booth had nabbed Allen. Nothing in the midnight air wavered. The silence was almost deafening. After a few minutes she leaned forward, just in time to see a man tip toeing in the direction Booth had headed off in. Oh, no. No longer did she have a choice. She had to intervene.

"BP is sky high! Get him stabilized!"

"He's losing too much blood! What's our ETA?"

"Two minutes."

"Shit. Hurry up!"

Above all else she had to be discreet. The threat to both of their lives was great, but Booth's was paramount. If the slightest inkling of her presence spooked Allen then it was Booth she risked harming. It was a chance she wasn't willing to take. Nothing was worth losing the love of her life.

She traced the steps into the heart of the alley. At the opposite end Booth was skulking away like a stray cat. His gun was extended forward, ready to defend himself if the need arose. Allen was mere feet away from his foe. She would never be able to catch up, and without being armed she was unable to do much in the way of playing a savior. Her only thought was to call out a warning.


Before Booth had time to fully comprehend the situation presented to him, multiple shots were fired. Before her very eyes he collapsed lifelessly to the ground.

"We're pulling up to the hospital now!"

Booth was dying. She'd known it from the moment she'd dropped onto her knees besides him. Paramedics had done little outside of prepping him for transport. His clothes had been cut away, exposing the two wounds that had been afflicted to his chest and stomach. His skin was coated with a copious amount of blood. So much, in fact, that it was difficult to discern where his actual wounds were. They'd supplied him with oxygen by way of a mask that covered his mouth and nose, but it wasn't successful in assisting him. There was a still a wet, sucking sound with his respirations. One of the bullets had likely punctured a hole into one of his lungs. Beneath the hard plastic he was still noticeably fighting just to inhale a complete, single breath. A bluish hue was beginning to tint his lips and the tips of his fingers. Rapidly was he circling the drain.

Booth, please. She stretched her arm across the space between them to grip his hand. The cool temperature of their embrace was shocking to her. You have to hold on. I can't lose you. We can't lose you. I don't want Christine growing up without a father. She deserves to know the wonderful man and father that you are. Booth. She squeezed his palm. You have to fight. Please.

The ambulance came to a halt. The back doors burst open with the force of thunder. Brennan had no choice but to let go of his hand as the two were separated. He was hurriedly whisked away. Slowly she withdrew to follow. Voices echoed in the halls.

"What've we got?"

"Male. Gunshot wounds to the chest, stomach, and upper thigh. BP is two hundred over one ten. Respirations are thirty four. Pulse is one thirty."

His thigh? Brennan groused dismally. I didn't even notice it.

"All right. Lets get him straight into surgery!"

Brennan trailed behind until she was prevented from moving further. One of the treating paramedics stopped her in her tracks. "I'm sorry, but this is where I have to cut you off."

"He's my husband." She protested weakly. "I should be with him."

"There's nothing more you can do for him now. Just go the waiting room. Someone will be out to talk to you as soon as they can. But to be honest," suddenly he wouldn't look at her. "I think you'll be waiting a while."

Her breath was stolen away. "He won't die," she sputtered her rebuttal. "He's… he's strong. He's jumped out of airplanes. Been blown up. He'll survive this."

"With all due respect ma'am, in my experience it's rare that a man with the extent of injuries he has survives. And if he does, he's never the same."

A sheet of ice formed over her heart. "Perhaps. But you don't know him."

He nodded politely. "Good luck. To you both."

She angrily stormed away. No. I refuse to accept that. He will survive. He will. The atmosphere of the waiting room was nothing but a blur. She lowered herself into the first chair she came across. He will survive. Her arms wrapped around her middle. She bowed her head.

He has to.