"Come on Booth, come on."
"Come on Booth, come on!"
"Come on Booth, COME ON!" this had become her mantra. Some part of her brain told her that it was ridiculous to keep repeating the same phrase over and over but that part obviously wasn't functioning right then. The roar of blood in her ears was so loud she couldn't hear anything else. Her own voice sounded strange to her, like it was coming from someplace far away.
Everything had happened so fast, she had been having fun, acting like an idiot, but having fun and then the next thing she knew Booth was standing up quickly and then there was a loud noise and he was falling. The mic had dropped from her hand and she was off the stage and grabbing for him but she was too late, she barely got a hand under his head before he hit the ground. Blood was already pouring from his chest. She looked up and saw Pam Nunan aiming the gun again and without thinking she grabbed Booth's fallen weapon, fired and had turned her attention back to Booth before she heard the body hit the ground.
His face scared her. His eyes didn't move. She pressed her hands over his wound and saw the blood seeping through immediately, his right hand came up jerkily and clasped hers, the only sign she had from him that he was still there. She started her chant then. Pleading, begging that he not give in, that he did not leave her this way.
"Come on Booth! Come on! Come on!" she needed him closer and pulled him towards her, their cheeks flush and she was shocked at how limp and heavy his weight was. His eyes just stared straight at her, he didn't need to speak, everything they had never said was being screamed at her through his gaze. Her tears dripped on his face but she didn't move to wipe them away. She was completely unaware of anything around her and when other hands entered her field of vision it was wrong and out of place.
A voice was saying something, maybe to her but she couldn't place it. His eyes were shutting now and her pleas grew more desperate. "NO!" she screamed, her throat actually hurting from how the word ripped out of her. Hands covered hers, hands she recognized, someone was trying to get her to move.
"Temperance, let me see, let me help" Cam said softly, she had never seen anything affect her like this. When there was no response she tried again, this time more firmly, "Dr. Brennan. You need to move. Dr. Brennan, I'm a medical doctor, let me in." again, there was no movement. Cam sighed and exchanged a concerned glance with Angela before taking a deep breath and saying the one word she knew would get attention.
Her head whipped up and the glare she shot Cam should have sent her scurrying for cover. "Don't…" she tried to choke out, but found she couldn't form the words.
Now that she had her attention Cam spoke quickly "Dr. Brennan, an ambulance is on the way, I need you to move back so I can work on him until they get here. I think his lung has collapses and he may not be breathing."
At this Brennan turned back to Booth and tried to concentrate on the rising of his chest but didn't see anything. "Oh, no! No! Booth! Come on !" she scrambled around behind his head and lifted it off the lower step and Cam smoothly took the place she had just vacated, together they eased him all the way to the floor and Cam started checking his vitals.
She heard a ripping sound and saw that Cam had torn the t-shirt he had been wearing to get a better look at the wound. The hole was jagged and ugly, and the blood bubbled slightly with each shallow and slow breath he was still managing to make.
"Zach! Find me some plastic wrap. Now!" Cam ordered, covering the wound with her palm and pressing hard, knowing he wasn't able to feel pain right then.
Brennan sat at his head, helpless and still stunned and looked down hoping to see his eyes, but instead she was surprised to see her own hands, stroking through his hair over and over again. Without thought she leaned down near his ear and whispered so softly she could hardly hear herself "You can't leave me Booth, not now. We're the center, but you're my center. I can't do this without you." She pressed a quick kiss to his temple before raising her head. Cam's eye caught hers but she was soon interrupted by Zach running up with a roll of plastic wrap.
"Help me lift him Zach" Cam stated as she quickly pulled out the end of the wrap and placed it tightly over the wound before passing the roll to Zach. They awkwardly lifted Booth enough to get the roll to go beneath him before Cam finished wrapping the plastic around him securely. The bubbling had ceased and his breathing improved noticeably.
"His lung's been punctured, this helps seal it, keeps the oxygen from escaping. It's the best I can do for now." Cam explained while checking his pulse again
Sirens could be heard getting closer and Brennan could hear Zach explaining how he had also called the FBI to tell them what had happened. When the paramedics swarmed in she still didn't move until Angela finally came up and put a soft hand on her shoulder.
"Sweetie, you've got to get up, they need to…" she choked on her words and had to try again "they need to intubate him and get him on the stretcher." Angela tugged at her arm and then she felt another hand underneath her other arm, forcing her up. Angela and Hodgins had her between them, when her knees buckled they quickly caught her weight and helped her regain her balance. The rational part of her mind said her legs had failed because of the position she had been sitting in. The look that passed between Angela and Hodgins said otherwise.
They guided her around the paramedics and Cam and sat her down at the closest table. She stared unseeingly at the table until something on it caught her eye. The lighter. This was the table Booth had been sitting at, watching her sing. The sob that caught in her throat caught her by surprise and she could barely see the lighter as her eyes filled with tears. She batted angrily at them as she grasped the small object and turned it over in her hands. He had just held this, not five minutes ago, everything was fine. The backside of the lighter had his initials, nothing else. She clutched it like it was a lifeline before turning her attention back to the room.
This time she took it all in. Booth was being hooked up to an I.V and monitors and the stretcher was being readied for him. Another team had already checked on Pam and a sheet had been placed over her awaiting the FBI forensics investigators. The other patrons of the club excluding the Jeffersonian contingent had been corralled into the front corner of the place waiting to be interviewed. Behind her she could feel the presence of her team. Cam was still talking to the paramedics and they were now lifting Booth onto the stretcher.
Brennan was out of her seat and clutching his hand before she knew it. "Ma'am, I'm sorry, but you can't come with us" one of the medics said
She leveled him with a dangerous look and ground out "Try and stop me."
"Dr. Brennan!" she looked up to see the hard face of Booth's boss taking quick strides towards them.
"Ma'am, we have to leave now. He needs surgery" the medic repeated
"Dr. Brennan!" Cullen barked "Let go! You need to explain to me how in the hell this happened!"
Angela once again was at her side and gently pried her hand off of Booth's "Sweetie. He needs to get to the hospital. We'll get you back to him as soon as possible, ok." She exchanged a long look with Director Cullen and was pleased to see his imperceptible nod.
Booth's stretcher was wheeled away before she could protest and once again hands were pushing her down into a chair. Cullen pulled one up in front of her and leaned forward slightly, his elbows on his knees and her breath caught, that movement reminded her so much of Booth. She shut her eyes tight and took a deep breath, she needed to be 'Dr. Temperance Brennan' now, logical and unemotional.
"What happened Dr. Brennan?" Cullen prodded
Her voice again sounded foreign to her as she began to speak and she cleared it twice before she started again. "I was singing" she began, and if she noticed the look of surprise in Cullen's eyes she ignored it "I was singing and then Booth was standing up suddenly and then there was a gunshot. I look up and saw Pam Nunan with a gun pointed at…Oh GOD! Oh NO!" her vision was fading just then, narrowing to what was directly in front of her as the realization that that bullet had been meant for her sunk in. She turned desperately, seeking Angela, she grasped her hand and the artist sank to her knees beside her friend, tears of sympathy streaming down her face "Ang…he took…he took that bullet for me. She was aiming at me and he stood in front of it." She choked out, not caring that Cullen was seeing her this way.
"I know Bren.." Angela said before pulling her friend in for a hug
Cullen cleared his throat "Dr. Brennan, I know this is difficult, but we need the whole story."
Brennan sat up and wiped furiously at her face, taking the handkerchief offered to her by Sweets. "I'm sorry Director Cullen. Pam Nunan had the gun pointed at us, she looked surprised that she had shot Booth, but then when she saw me…this look of…this look pure hatred crossed her face and she took aim again."
"Did she fire again Dr. Brennan?" Cullen asked
"No. I saw Booth's gun beside him, I picked it up and fired one shot"
"You shot her?"
"I think so." Brennan answered monotone
"You think so? You didn't look?" Cullen knew the kind of marksman this 'squint' was, but he had also seen the shot that had killed Pam Nunan, it was precise and Dr. Brennan didn't seem to him like she had a whole lot of control right then, no matter how hard she was trying to hide that fact.
"I…don't' think so… I just aimed and fired" For the first time she realized how little she had thought when she had done it "I heard her body fall, but I didn't see it happen."
"Ok, Dr. Brennan. Thank you. We may need you to write a written statement, but that's enough for now." Cullen stood and then in an act that surprised all of them laid a fatherly hand on her head before moving off to talk to one of his agents.
"Bren…sweetie…do you want to go now? To the hospital?" Angela asked tentatively
In a flash she was on her feet, grabbing her bag and heading for the door. The Jeffersonian team exchanged startled glances with each other before heading out after her.
"Bren wait!" Angela yelled, cursing the decision she had made earlier to wear these particular heels. They weren't good for anything other than driving Jack crazy.
She fumbled in her bag for her keys, her hands shaking so bad she couldn't hold on to anything. She could hear them following her, but she just wanted out of there, she just wanted to get to him.
The bag was pulled out of her hands and before she knew it she was being guided towards Hodgins' car. The speed with which they reached the hospital was impressive and she was out of the car before it was fully stopped and running towards the emergency room.
"Booth! Seeley Booth! Where is he? What's happening?" she demanded immediately upon entering the room.
The nurse behind the desk looked up at her with disdain "I'm sorry, we can't give out that kind of information."
"I'm his partner damnit! Tell me where he is!" She roared, not caring what kind of scene she was making "He's my partner! Please! He was shot. Here." And she motioned over her right breast, patting it over and over again, not realizing that the blood covering her hands was evidence enough that she belonged.
The nurse gave her another perturbed look but brought the name up on the computer. "I'm sorry, but he's a federal agent, we can't give out confidential information on members of the government. Now, unless you have some official identification that says you're FBI or you are" and she squinted at the computer screen again "a Temperance Brennan, you're going to have to leave."
Brennan felt her heart leap to her throat when the nurse said her name "Yes! Yes! That's me, I'm Temperance Brennan! See…" and dug frantically again through her bag before coming up with her wallet "Look…driver's license, Jeffersonian ID, credit cards, check book…what else, what else do you need?"
The nurse looked appropriately chagrined and handed Brennan back her belongings. "That's fine. He's in surgery right now. If you follow that corridor right there you'll find the surgical waiting room, someone will come out shortly to let you know how he is."
Brennan dully stuffed her things back in her bag and thanked her tonelessly before turning.
"Wait! You'll need these." The nurse called and handed Brennan two pieces of paper.
"What is this?"
"The doctor will probably want to see these before they discuss anything with you. One is the form indicating you as next of kin and the other is a medical power of attorney that Agent Booth signed over to you." She explained
"He what?" Brennan gasped and saw the rest of the Jeffersonian team with equal looks of shock on their faces. She took the forms and looked at them closer. Booth had these drawn up without her knowledge. He had decided that when it came to life and death decisions he wanted her to make them. Not his parents, not his brother, not even Rebecca. Her.
"Bren…you didn't know?" Angela asked, her liquid eyes filled with compassion and something else that Brennan couldn't place right then
"No. I had no idea." She gasped out, stunned that he could trust her this much.
Angela wrapped an arm around her shoulders and propelled her towards their goal as the rest of the group fell in behind them.
The waiting room was cramped, but blissfully empty. Everyone sat without saying a word. Booth was one of them, they weren't going to leave. The minutes turned into an hour before a nurse came in in surgical scrubs and asked to speak to the "family of Seeley Booth". Brennan stood up shakily and felt the rest of the surround her.
The nurse smiled reassuringly "He's doing well. The bullet went clean through. Our major concerns were the blood loss and the punctured lung. That has been repaired, although we've inserted a drain which will probably be removed in a day or so. There is a slight chance the lung could collapse, but we will of course monitor that closely. He's got a few broken ribs as well, but all in all he should make a full recovery."
Brennan didn't remember sitting, but the next thing she knew she was breathing strangely and someone was holding her head between her knees.
"Breath slowly. Concentrate on your breathing" the face of the nurse swam before Brennan and she tried to slow her breaths down to match the nurses "That's right…you'll be ok. Just take slow, deep breaths."
Brennan shut her eyes again and gathered everything that made her who she was and when she stood she was Dr. Temperance Brennan, completely cool, in control, and rational. "When can I see him?" her voice betrayed no sense of emotion and the entire Jeffersonian team let out a collective sigh of relief they didn't know they had been holding. 'This' was their Brennan, this person they knew how to talk to. The woman who had been there before was a stranger to them.
But Angela knew better. They all knew that Brennan Booth cared for each other, they had seen that enough over the years, they knew that in some way it went beyond just being partners, but they would never admit to anything. But Angela knew, she knew they were both in love with the other and she knew they knew they were, what she didn't know is why they hadn't done anything about it.
"He's in recovery right now. We're going to monitor him there for about an hour and if things go as planned he'll be moved into the ICU from there and you can come see him. I'll come get you when it's time" the nurse gave Brennan's arm a tight squeeze before heading out the door.
Brennan sat down heavily in her seat and grasped Angela's hand tight "He's going to be ok." She said, more for herself than anyone else.
Cam stepped forward "I'm going to go call Cullen, give him an update."
"Sweetie, why don't we go get you cleaned up. Booth isn't going to want to see you like this when he wakes up."
For the first time she really looked at herself and saw how much blood was on her. She nodded stiffly and rose from the chair, Angela at her heels.
Hodgins, Zach and Sweets looked at each other awkwardly, Sweets looked like he was about to say something when Hodgins cut him off. "How about we go track down some pudding gentlemen?" and strode briskly for the door, the other two having no choice but to follow.
They all managed to be back in the waiting room within a half an hour. Brennan sat stoically, watching the minutes tick by on the clock positioned directly across from her.
It had been an hour and five minutes before the nurse came back and said he was now in the ICU and she could go back.
This was what she had been waiting for and now that it was here her feet felt leaden. "It's ok Bren. Go see him, he'll want to see you." Angela's voice encouraged and she turned before she left the room and gave them all a tight smile.
She had seen him in the hospital before, this wasn't new to her, but she had to suck in a sharp breath when she saw him. He looked so pale, and there were wires and tubes coming from all over, although she was relieved to see the tube down his throat had been removed.
She moved to the far side of the bed and slid a hand through the railings so she could touch him. She had never had such a need before to be so tactile, but she couldn't help it, she needed to feel him alive, warm skin and flesh. She dealt with skeletons and death all day and she needed to reassure herself that he wasn't that.
She saw his eyes twitch a few times before he tried to open them. Leaning over so that she was directly in his line of sight, she was what he saw when he opened his eyes. Her smile was the brightest he had even seen and he licked his lips before attempting to speak. "Bon..Bones" he rasped, the tube had made his throat raw
"Shhh, don't try and talk to much, you need to rest." She shushed him, unconsciously reaching a hand up to stroke the side of his face.
"Bones…'m not leaving you. Ok?" he struggled to say, he had heard everything she had said to him before he had passed out and he knew she needed to hear him say that.
She was smiling and nodding now, tears streaming soundlessly down her face but she wiped them away this time before they could fall on him "Ok." She whispered softly.
"Ok?" he repeated, needing to know she understood him
"Yes. Ok. Now go to sleep, I'll be here when you wake up." She smoothed the hair off his forehead before leaning her head on his for a moment.
"Bones." He said tiredly, already feeling the pull of sleep "Make sure there's pudding, k?"
She laughed, then and kissed him chastely before promising, "Of course, I will make sure there's pudding."