Author's Note: Thank you for all the reviews! Here's the next one. I have a pretty good idea about where I want the story to go now, so let me know how it's going. Suggestions are welcome! The song for this chapter is Saving Me by Nickleback.

"Well I'm terrified of these four walls

These iron bars can't hold my soul in

All I need is you".

Her brain registered that it was odd. Odd that the quiet noises were the ones that were pounding through her ears. She didn't hear the bustle of people, the sound of shoes squeaking on the linoleum as they rushed past. The ticking of the clock, the dripping of a leaky faucet, the beating of her own heart - those were the sounds that she heard.

Brennan had lost track of how long she had been sitting in there, in the uncomfortable chair of the hospital waiting room. With her long legs up on the chair pulled tightly against her chest, she continued to stare across the room at a chip in the paint of the opposite wall. She wanted to remain that way - concentrating on the ticking, the dripping and the beating. It made it hurt less.

The logical part of her told her that it really didn't matter what noises she was hearing. The pain was able to push through her barriers and make it hurt anyway. And it sure as hell did not stop her from remembering. The shock had caused what had happened earlier that day to blur and jumble in her mind. She was just starting to put it back together.

What she remembered most was the blood. His. The screaming too. Although she remembered more of her own than her partner's.

Brennan forced her eyes away from the paint chip. She wanted so desperately to stop adding reinforcements to the walls she had built around herself. She didn't want to run. But it was a little late. She had already added extra locks safely securing her heart in it own private fortress - one that she had created so many years ago. She found herself thinking how much Booth would have hated it. That he was the cause. He would never tell her, she was sure. He would simply pick up all the pieces and begin again. She may be slightly socially challenged, but she wasn't blind. She knew that Booth wanted in. Not just for himself, but for her too. He wanted to help her find the person she had locked away. Ensure her that she was safe to come out, and that he would protect her from all harm.

This, Brennan guessed, was why so many people thought that they were romantically involved. Booth wasn't exactly subtle when it came to his need to protect her. She knew that it had nothing to do with romance, though. He simply cared about her. She was his partner and his friend and he just wanted to know her.

A tear fell from her eye and slowly began making its way down her cheek. She felt trapped, but she didn't know how to put the walls down without his help. That scared her. She furiously wiped it away, not wanting to break down like she had at the warehouse. Determined to not allow her eyes to find their way back to the paint chip, she allowed her gaze to wonder across the large room. It came to rest on two men standing near the nurses' station, their frustration evident.

There was something about the way that they held themselves. Something about the way they had their arms crossed tightly across their chests. One was younger than the other and her inner anthropologist guessed that it was by twenty to twenty-five years. The face of the younger, Brennan couldn't see as the older was standing in her field of vision giving her a profile view of himself. He rocked back on his heels in a way that made her have an idea of who she was watching. In the brief seconds that the older man's body was leaning backwards, Brennan locked eyes with the younger male before her vision of him was obscured again.

Her suspicions were confirmed. There was no mistaking the soft brown eyes, nor the strong brow ridge that rest just above them. Both men's jaws were clenching in the same way and Brennan thought back to a conversation she had had earlier with Booth.

"Booth!" She gave an irritated sigh as he snapped his phone shut and quickly made a U-Turn, speeding off in the direction from which they had just come. "Now where are we going?"

Brennan was annoyed. The cause was, as usual, the man sitting beside her. He had dragged her out of the lab nearly five hours ago - away from the body that held the answers that they were out here looking for. She had a feeling that there was something more to the remains that were currently lying on her examination table. She had completed her examination of course, but couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach that there was more to come. Like this one was some sort of warning. It was not a "gut feeling" that she was having. There was no such thing. She refused to tell her partner as she would surely endure weeks of mocking and teasing. She did not want to be out here. She wanted to be back in her lab with the body - and that is was she was annoyed.

"Got a lead Bones! Someone fitting our boy's description was seen entering a warehouse a few blocks away." He sent a boyish grin over her way as he flipped on the sirens.

Brennan sighed again and folded her arms across her chest.

"Awww… come on Bones, what's the matter? You love takin' 'em down!" He nudged her playfully with his elbow, still sporting his signature smile.

"Yeah, but I don't even get to do anything. I would be of much more use at the lab. The novelty is wearing off , I get to chase the bad guys, but I don't get to -"

"No." He cut her off, his face turning serious.

"But-"

"No, Bones."

"Booth, you don't even -"

"No. No gun. No way." He firmly shook his head.

"Booth! You dragged me away from the lab for an entire day and I was no use at all!" She looked at him seriously. "You. Owe. Me."

"Ah, Bones. Some days are slow. And, let me remind you, that YOU are the one who begged me to let you come do this stuff with me. Come on Bones, what's with you? You know you love it!" The boyish grin was back as he reached over and poked her cheek with an outstretched finger.

Brennan tried her best to glare at him and shove his hand away but was unable to fight the urge to smile. She rolled her eyes and scolded him for not watching the road at such a dangerous speed.

"Okay, so listen. This has gotta be quick. My dad and my brother are in town and I promised them that I'd meet them for dinner. Something always comes up and I don't want to let 'em down, okay?" He looked over at her and raised his eyebrows as if trying to pass her a hint.

"Mhmm."

He sighed. "That means that you stay behind me, you listen to what I say, and you don't piss off any of the bad guys. Got it?"

She rolled her eyes.

"The less bullets I fire, the less paperwork I have to deal with before I get to go home." Booth shot another cheeky smile her way.

Brennan glared pointedly at him. "Are you insinuating that I make you fire your weapon?" Her nostrils flared and she could feel him pushing all of her buttons at once. She couldn't figure out how he had learned to do it. But he was good - of course, she'd never admit that to him.

Booth took his eyes from to road to once again look at his partner with an expression of thorough amusement. "Yes, Bones. That is exactly what I am insinuating."

Brennan blinked back the tears that had formed from the memory. Maybe if she had just told him what she had felt, than they wouldn't have ended up in this mess. One that they weren't completely qualified to handle to begin with. She pushed those thoughts out of her mind, and forced herself to concentrate on the task at hand. This was Booth's father and brother, and they seemed to have gotten nothing out of the hospital staff. If she could help them, she could imagine that Booth would be proud of her. She tried, unsuccessfully, to not think of the fact that she had done exactly as he partner had told her to do for the first time - ever, really. And now, he was lying in a hospital bed.

When she reached the men she opened her mouth to say something, but no words came out. Her throat was raw and she realized that it must have been hours since she had spoken. Ever since the nurses had sat her down and gotten her quiet - she hadn't even called Angela to tell her what had happened.

The men were looking at her curiously and she figured that she better say something.

"Hi…" That was all she could get out. Tears built up in her eyes, blurring her vision slightly. She hated being this way. She took a deep breath and forced the lump in her throat back down.

Booth's father seemed even more confused. "I'm sorry -" He trailed off, leaving her to fill in an explanation of any kind. She didn't. Brennan cursed her lack of social skills and then she cursed Booth for not being there to help her.

She looked over at her partner's brother - Jared, somehow she knew. He, too, was looking at her as if she was from another planet, but she watched as the confusion turned into realization, and she sighed with relief. "Bones…" He spoke quietly and nodded at her with a small smirk on his face. It was so like his brother's that Brennan found herself smiling in return.

"Oh…" Booth's father seemed to understand what that meant and stuck his hand out towards her. "Bones, eh?" He said as he took her hand.

"Call me that and die," She warned him with a smile, thanking a God she didn't even believe in for the use of her voice. "Temperance Brennan."

"Point taken." He let out a low chuckle and cupped their joined hands with his other. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, love. Call me, Joe."

"You know," Jared began as he took her hand, a large smile playing across his face. "You're not half as scary as I imagined you'd be."

Brennan laughed. "Yes, well, I'm sure you're opinion will be changing soon." They were silent for a moment and Brennan let her eyes continue their search across the room. When she brought them back to meet theirs and saw the worry that clouded them she knew she would have to tell them something. She took a deep breath, her eyes stinging. "He - he was…hurt."

"Bad?" Jared whispered.

Brennan's brain immediately turned clinical, but she forced it away thinking of how Booth had tried so long to teach her the appropriate way to talk to the families. And this wasn't just any family. "Yes." She watched closely as they took in the news she figured that they had already surmised. "But… they haven't really told me anything since we got here. They rushed him away and made me sign a lot of papers. Then told me to sit and be quiet which for me, is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do." She gave them a small smile.

Joe nodded, jaw still clenched. "Should we be signing anything? I mean it couldn't have been legal for you to do it, right?" Brennan hadn't really thought about it. She just read them and wrote her signature on the line at the bottom.

"I - Yes, I suppose I wasn't really thinking." She wasn't a family member - she definitely shouldn't have been the one to sign consent. "I'm sorry, I'll just -"

"No," Jared cut her off, a crease making its way between his eyebrows. "Dad, she was supposed to sign. She's his medical proxy."

Brennan widened her eyes slightly. "No. No, I'm not."

Jared looked at her with a funny expression. "Yes, you are." He nodded firmly. "Because I used to be. He changed it over to you about a year after you started working together."

Brennan looked away. It made sense. They wouldn't have let her sign his forms otherwise. She rolled her eyes, thinking that it was just like him to not tell her. She side-stepped the men and walked towards the nurses station. "Excuse me," she spoke to an intern who was talking on the phone. "Could I see Agent Booth's file, please?" She was being polite. Booth always told her that it was easier to get what she wanted that way. The intern did not acknowledge her. She looked over her shoulder at the Booth men who were closely watching her. She gave a sigh of frustration and walked around the counter herself in search of the file.

Jared chuckled from behind her. "You're gonna get in trouble." He said in a sing-song voice. She looked back over at him and smiled at the expression on his face. She gave him a looked that warned him not to get her caught, not that she really cared.

A pile of folders lay on a table and Brennan was pleased to find that Booth's was resting on top. She hoped that meant that he was top priority. She picked it up and flipped through the pages, drawing the attention of the intern who stood a few feet away.

He hung up the phone and sternly walked towards her. "Excuse, m'am. You can't be behind here."

"Well, that's obvious." Brennan countered, concentrating more on her name staring back at her from the file. It contained a bit of information of her as well. It was true, Booth had name her his proxy.

"M'am, I'm going to have to ask you to give me back the folder." The intern tried to remain calm. She looked up at him as if realizing he was there for the first time.

"Okay." She closed the folder and handed it to him. "I was able to get what I needed." She turned away and walked back to the men on the other side.

Joe gave her a small smile, but his eyes told her that he wanted some answers.

Brennan sighed. "I'll go find out what's going on." She said this with a confidence that left no room for doubt that this was exactly what she would do. "But, I warn you. It might take a while." She started to back away. "They don't really like me here." She smiled at the chuckles she received and turned away wondering where she had gotten this new ability to be a somewhat social being. It was the comfort, she realized. She had never met them before in her life, yet she was comforted by their was proud for allowing herself to feel the comfort. She was proud for was she was able to do. She had finally proven to herself that she had what Booth seemed to know was in her all along. Booth taught her a lot of things. Some, it seemed, even when he wasn't around. She could be this way.

"Dr. Brennan?" She turned at the sound of Jared's voice. "Be careful, huh?" He shrugged his shoulders in a light manner, a playful smile forming on his lips. "From what I hear, you kind of have a knack for trouble."

"Teach me wrong from right

And I'll show you what I can be"


Okay, so Brennan, I've discovered, is the hardest character to write properly. I hope I was able to convey clearly how she was feeling! More up soon!