The Heart that Matters

This story is written for my dear friend and beta dgschneider, who is down with long covid and needs some positive distraction.

I know you all are waiting for an update on "The sperm in the special agent." I promise, it will come soon. As dgschneider is still recovering she has limited strength to do the Beta work.

So for this story I could win my dear friend 554Laura to be my Beta again. She has helped me already with two other stories. My big, big thank you goes to her for her willingness to help me out again.

This story takes place somewhere in season 4, after the episode "The Con Man in the Meth Lab", but without Booth's brain tumor. I know that all the medical stuff could be completely wrong, but this is fan fiction and the plot doesn't rely on medical correctness.

Disclaimer: I don't own Bones, I only use their characters for this story.


"Hi, Bones." Booth entered Brennan's office, finding his beautiful partner sitting at her desk, studying a forensic journal. She looked up and greeted him with a bright smile.

"Hi, Booth. What brings you here? Do we have a case?" Expecting a 'yes', she was already looking for her bag.

Instead of affirming her question, he just slumped down on her couch, making himself comfortable. "No, no…I came by because I need the Mason case file. You know, the one we closed last week? You took it with you so you could sign it."

"Ah, okay." Brennan started looking around on her desk, finally finding the file and holding it out for Booth to grab because her phone was ringing.

"Brennan." She recognized the number, so she continued happily. "Hi, Amy! It's nice to hear your voice! How are you?" Brennan's facial expression, which was a smile when she answered the call, became more and more one of concern the longer the call lasted, and Booth, already worried when he saw the change, got up from the couch to try to listen in on the call to find out what had happened.

The look on the anthropologist's face showed that she was truly concerned and eventually it turned into one of sadness. She could only add an "I understand." and "that's too bad" as she listened to the caller.

Finally Booth sensed that the conversation was coming to an end, because Brennan was promising to help, saying that she would leave early the next morning. She told Amy not to worry and ended the call.

With tears in her eyes, she turned to her partner as she stood up from her desk.

"Booth, that was Amy. Haley is in the hospital. She's in a critical condition.," she sobbed.

"Oh no!" Booth stepped closer to her. "Bones, what happened? I thought she was a lot better after Doctor Getz treated her cystic fibrosis."

Brennan nodded. "Yes, Booth, she's been doing well for quite a while, but unfortunately she came down with pneumonia and all that good progress has been destroyed. Now she's worse than she has ever been, and they're fearing for her life."

Brennan's voice faltered as she continued. "I need to be with them, Booth. Russ is out of town because of his job, and Amy is desperate for help. She also needs someone to take care of Emma. They just moved to Wilmington and don't know many people there."

Brennan wiped away the tear that was running down her face. "As for tonight, Emma can stay with a friend, but Amy asked me to come as soon as I can. She can't get in contact with Max, so she thought of asking me." Brennan locked eyes with Booth. "Booth, I need to be there. I hope you understand. She's family."

"Of course, Bones, of course." He reached out to her, placing his hands on both of her upper arms. More tears threatened to fall and Booth didn't hesitate to pull her into his arms.

"Booth, I'm so worried. What Amy said about Haley doesn't sound good at all."

Booth still held her tight, his hand running up and down her back, soothing her. "I'm so sorry." He shifted so he could look into her eyes, but didn't let her go. "When are you leaving?"

"I'll ask Cam for some vacation time and then I'll leave tomorrow at 4 am, so I can be there around mid morning. Russ can't get back 'til Friday night, so I probably won't be back until Sunday evening."

She slowly stepped out of his embrace, even though it was so very comforting to be held in his strong arms. Lately, he tried more and more to be close to her, like a small touch on her hand sometimes, or an arm around her shoulder, as if he needed the physical contact, and if she was being true to herself, she had to admit she liked it very much. They had become more intimate with each other after the speech she'd given at Booth's birthday party. It was like something was slowly shifting…like they were finally moving towards each other, but very slowly.

Brennan sniffled softly. "You'll have to depend on Dr. Edison if a case comes up."

Booth let her go and slipped his hands in the pockets of his pants. "No, Bones…that's not happening. There won't be any cases, because…" He took a deep breath. "I'm coming with you. I won't let you drive all the way alone, especially not when you're so worried."

"But Booth, I can't ask you to go with me! You have your duties at the Bureau. You can't leave just because of me." She looked at him with wide eyes.

"Of course I can." He smiled. "And anyway, you don't have to ask me to come. I'm volunteering. I have plenty of sick days to use up, and I'm sure if I tell Cullen what has happened, he'll understand." He turned her around and gave her a small nudge.

"Tell you what…you go talk to Cam while I make a phone call to the Hoover, alright?" With that he directed her towards her office door.

Realizing that she couldn't change Booth's mind, she gave up and walked into the direction of Cam's office. Honestly, she was glad that she didn't have to do the trip all on her own.

When she came back 10 minutes later, Booth had just finished the call with Cullen and was cleared to go. "All taken care of, Bones. I'm going with you." He pushed the chair away from her desk where he'd been sitting for the call and stood up. "So when should I pick you up?"

"No Booth, no. It's fine if you go with me, but we shouldn't use your FBI issued car for this personal trip. I'll pick you up."

"Nooo.," he whined. "Not your car! I hate that little tin can. I always feel trapped when I ride in it, like I'm in a cage, and when I get out of it, I feel like I'm being born all over again." He shook his head. "I can't survive riding in that tiny car for 5 to 6 hours! That's not happening…"

Brennan stood in front of him, her arms crossed over her chest. "Booth, you're exaggerating, as always." But then she smiled at him. "I still have my Mercedes, even if I don't use it very often. Will that be okay with you?" She knew that she'd get him with that one. He loved that car.

"Of course, Bones. That'll be great!" He walked in the direction of her office door but turned around to say goodbye. "So, you'll pick me up at my place around 4ish tomorrow morning, right?"

She gave him one last smile. "Yes, I will." After a short pause, she added, "Thank you, Booth."

He waved at her and left. She rushed to finish her work so she could go home to pack, her heart heavy with sadness.


It was still dark when Brennan arrived shortly after 4 am at Booth's apartment. He was already waiting outside and Brennan got out of the car to help him put his bag in the trunk. Booth didn't say a word. One look in Brennan's puffy red rimmed eyes was all it took and Booth pulled her in for a long, strong hug.

When they parted, Booth just ignored Brennan's protest as he slipped into the driver's seat. "Bones, don't get me wrong, but you look like crap." He shot her a quick glance when she sat down next to him and he started the car. "I bet you didn't get one wink of sleep last night, so you should try to get some rest on our way there. It's gonna be a long day, and you'll need your strength later."

He turned the Mercedes onto the still quiet streets of the city and into the direction of Interstate 95 S, which would bring them to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Brennan lowered the back of her seat slightly and laid her head on the headrest, turning to Booth. "Thank you.," she whispered, giving him a small smile before she closed her eyes.

Booth gently squeezed her hand. "Nothing to thank me for, Bones. I'm here for you, because that's what friends are for, okay?"

Deep down, Booth knew that she was more than just his best friend. Actually, he thought they both knew it now, but they were still too afraid to even address it. Some things were left unspoken between them.


Booth was right. Brennan was exhausted to no end and fell asleep very quickly in the car as he drove along. He glanced at her now and then, hoping she was sleeping well. The urge to lay a reassuring hand on her arm, or to take her hand in his, was constantly there in the back of his mind. He hurt for her, but he didn't really know how to make things better.

After driving for nearly 4 hours he stopped at a diner for breakfast. Brennan stirred awake and looked around in surprise. She glanced at their surroundings and then at her watch. "Booth, why didn't you wake me up? You shouldn't have to do all the driving on your own. I could've taken over.," she said with a yawn as she tried to get oriented.

He gave her a loving glance. "You were sleeping peacefully, so I thought I should let you enjoy it. This day will be long and emotionally exhausting, so take every chance you can to rest, okay?" He opened the driver's door. "And anyway, I'm fine. I like to drive,"

He slipped out of the car. "But now I'm hungry and I need to use the bathroom. too." He looked back at her. "Are you coming?"

She stretched one last time and then got out of the car. They went into the diner and easily found a free table. After studying the menu, they placed their order with the young waitress.

Booth reached across the table and took her hand. He'd wanted to do that the whole time he was driving, and now he finally had his chance. He wanted to be close to her, to connect with her. "The trip has gone pretty well, I think, huh? A little over an hour and we'll be there. Where exactly are they staying?"

Brennan was surprised about Booth taking her hand. How does he always know what I need? Right now that physical contact was very welcomed on her side. It soothed her nervousness about the situation they would soon be in.

"Um, Amy sent me the address. It's the New Hanover Regional Medical Center. I'll type the exact address into my GPS when we get back to the car. " At that moment the waitress came back with their order and placed it in front of them.

After the waitress left, Brennan continued. "I did some research last night. It's a well known hospital. I think Haley is in good hands there."

"If you think it's a good place, that's good enough for me, too. " Booth gave her an encouraging look and they started to eat their breakfast..

After finishing their meal, going to the restroom, and pumping some gas, they continued their trip. Booth didn't even offer Brennan a chance to drive, insisting that he was still fine and fit for the rest of their trip.


Ninety minutes later, they stood in front of Haley's hospital room with heavy hearts. After a short knock, they entered the room and found Amy sitting at Haley's bed, holding the little girl's hand. Haley herself was unconscious; the doctors had decided to keep her sedated to let her rest as much as possible. An oxygen mask was over her mouth and nose and she looked very pale.

Amy stood up when she recognized who had entered the room. Without a word, Brennan pulled her into an embrace. "Thank you for coming, Tempe. I didn't know what else to do."

Brennan patted her back. "Of course, Amy. I definitely want to help." Amy let go and was a bit surprised to see Booth had accompanied Brennan. She knew him well, since they had seen each other several times during the 2 years when Temperance Brennan had come back into their lives.

She always suspected that they were more than just partners, and for him to come with Tempe on a family visit that was absolutely not work related seemed to prove her point. She greeted him warmly, shaking his hand. "Hello, Booth."

Amy motioned to them to sit in two chairs on the other side of the bed and then she filled them in on all the information she had, or rather, all she had understood. More than once she had to wipe away a tear that was running down her cheek.

Amy was so afraid of losing Haley…and also afraid of what would happen if they needed to put her on a ventilator. The doctors had told her that Haley's chances of surviving this major infection were not good.

While listening to Amy's explanation, Brennan had grabbed Booth's hand without even noticing it. She held on, pressing firmly, needing that sort of support from him, and he was willing to give her whatever she needed.

They sat there for hours, listening as Amy told them about Russ' new employment, and about Emma staying with her new friend, all the while waiting for the doctor to give them some news about Haley's condition. Amy was glad to have Booth and Brennan stay with Haley while she grabbed some food in the cafeteria, and then it was Booth and Brennan's turn to take a break.

Shortly after they came back from lunch, a doctor entered the room, a serious look on his face.

"Mrs. Brennan? Good afternoon. I'm here to check on Haley."

AN: So, are you interested in reading more? I promise it will be all B+B, like all of my other stories. Please let me know in a review.

And I promise, there will be updates and more new stories soon.