Sorry for the long wait- finals are a whining, screaming bitch and so is editing. Plus I happen to be a very slow writer to begin with.

Expect more updates, and hopefully much sooner next time.

Sweets soon withdrew from the office himself. After all of the bonding that had taken place in this room, Booth's abrupt departure made the small office suddenly seem very... empty. Sweets sighed and began gathering his notes from his desk (and from the floor). He packed them into his black briefcase, each file fitting snugly next to its neighbor.

He left his mental notes out; open and ready to be examined.

Sweets slid his suit jacket over his back and picked up the briefcase. He flicked the light switch off before closing and locking the door, but his mind was still engrossed in his "files." I know Booth. He knows I know him, so... Maybe he expects me to already know what he's hiding? He just doesn't want to say it out loud himself? He stared a moment at the locked door, eyebrows knitted. Or maybe he doesn't think that I know him well enough to know he's avoiding something.

Sweets had fully intended to spend his short walk down to the parking structure going over the situation in his mind. But looking down the now long-vacant halls of the building, he suddenly found himself overcome by the loneliness they exuded. He scrambled for his phone.

Feeling slightly childish, he dialed the first number that came to mind.

"Dr. Brennan!" Sweets answered her somewhat distracted "Hello?" "Yes, I-" he paused as her voice buzzed through the phone. "Right. Cancelled. I know. But-"

More buzzing.

"Yes, actually. Well... he's been in a meeting with me."


"Yeah, for the last..." -he checked his watch- "Two hours or so." Sweets pressed the 'down' arrow outside the elevator doors.


Sweets sighed. "I'm sorry about the inconvenience. I'm sure he has a good explanation." Yes, a fake one. The elevator doors opened with a small ding!


"Oh, really? Well, if you were already that close then you should've stopped by anyway." That might have been good for both of them. Maybe she could reach what I can't in Booth. "I just called to..." Uhhhh... Sweets struggled to explain. "...say 'hi?'"

There was an awkward pause.

The buzz returned, slower, though, as if Brennan were speaking to an irritated four-year-old.


"No, I understand. Murder does tend to take priority over social calls." He stepped from the elevator and descended the few stairs leading to the parking structure. "Well, thanks anyway." Sweets felt exceptionally foolish. Maybe if he had had a legitimate reason for calling... "Oh- and don't forget next week's appointment!" He winced at the obvious cover. "Er- same time on Tuesday?" Sweets wasn't too surprised when Brennan hung up before he had the chance to say goodbye.

Blushing slightly at the rejection, he climbed into his car and started the engine.

The dashes in the road blurred until they were nothing but white streaks in Booth's peripheral vision. Maybe he was going too fast. Maybe it was reckless to drive in his agitated state. He just couldn't seem to settle down enough to care.

He had been driving down this road in the same direction for hours, and now well beyond Maryland's northern border, he was vaguely beginning to wonder where he was heading. Though truth be told, he knew he wasn't going anywhere. As much as it pricked at his pride, he was aware of the fact that he was driving to get away from something.

DAMN Sweets and all his questions! Booth thought angrily. Like he needed a reminder of his past. Like he wanted to remember why he had these dreams. What had he been thinking, running to Sweets for help?

Not for the first time since he'd started driving, Booth smacked the steering wheel in frustration. He knew exactly what he'd been thinking: "I want to sleep" and almost unconsciously, "I need to talk to someone."

Isn't that exactly what he'd done? So why was he angry with Sweets?

Maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was just... angry.

He grunted and smacked the wheel again.

"You obviously have no idea what you're talking about!"

Stupid, he thought as his words to Sweets repeated in his course Sweets knew what he was talking about. Of all his acquaintances, he probably understood best what was going on in Booth's head.

Maybe that was the problem.

He exhaled sharply.

Sweets had a knack with people and their emotions. Booth was sure the psychologist had his emotional reactions pretty well pegged by now; why and how he responded to things the way he did. That's probably why he had chosen to talk to Sweets over the rest of his friends in the first place.

But there were things that Booth just didn't want Sweets to know about him. And going into this meeting with him, he hadn't been sure yet what they were going to talk about. All he knew was that where the conversation had ended- it was MUCH too close to what he didn't want to talk about; the memories which he had worked all his life since to keep in the dark corner where they belonged.

He could call Sweets a friend, but he just wasn't ready to admit to him just how weak he was.

Booth's eyes narrowed at the road. He flipped on his headlights, driving away the blackness creeping in on the horizon.

If only there were lights to switch on in his mind when the darkness seeped in.

It was very late when Booth finally made it back to his apartment, late enough that he wondered whether he should even try to get to sleep at all. But habit and exhaustion got the better of him- he collapsed almost automatically onto the already tousled sheets once he had removed his shoes and jacket. Just an hour or two, that's all I ask, he pleaded with his subconscious. Two measly little hours without nightmares. He sighed and closed his eyes, quickly drifting off.

Not fifteen minutes later, he was tossing and turning.

Lights flashed on the horizon. A helicopter? Maybe. He didn't have time to double check.

He just had to get the hell away from... it.

Booth felt his eyes watering, but he couldn't tell if it was from the smoke swirling around the burning trees or the raw emotion that scathed and clawed at his insides.

Sparks flew at him from all sides. The dying trees creaked under their own weight as their bases burned out beneath them, but Seeley Booth's question burned even more; searing and urgent:

How many people did I just kill?

He jumped over the smoldering remains of a palm tree, his conscience screaming MURDER! MURDER!

SHUT UP! He reprimanded himself. Don't think about that now. Just get the hell out of here. Away from...

Wait. Where was he?

It was strange-his skin still burned from the heat of fire, but he was no longer running through the flaming desert oasis. Instead, he was inside a small, almost claustrophobic hallway in an old house. He couldn't see much- all the lights were out.

Where was that heat coming from?

Booth approached a door to his left. He stopped a moment near the frame- it seemed like the heat was seeping from this room. Needing no further motivation, he grasped the knob and pushed the door inward slowly; curious but cautious.

Whispers flew about the room when he entered, buzzing around his head like flies. One of them sounded a lot like a woman giggling. Again there were no lights. Booth stumbled, hands outstretched, trying to reach...

Reach what? He asked himself. But there was no answer.

Then without warning, the door slammed shut behind him. After a moment of darkness in which Booth attempted to find the door again, the walls slowly began to glow a dull orange. They radiated an intense heat.

Not knowing what to make of this, Booth inched towards the center of the room. Whatever he'd been looking for wasn't here anymore, he realized suddenly.

The walls burst into flame.

The whispers floating overhead turned to screams; a young girl, a boy, a man. The woman's voice still giggled amidst their cries.

A particularly violent jump jerked him awake and, unprepared, Booth tumbled off his bed headfirst towards the hard wood floor.


There was a sickening CRACK! as his wrist caught beneath his considerable weight, bent slightly in the wrong direction.

Booth inhaled sharply and flipped onto his side. "Aaaaahhh..." He exhaled very slowly, pain shooting up his arm. He screwed his eyes shut and grimaced.

This really had to be one of the worst days he'd had for a long time.

Booth shook his head, still wincing on the floor. Through the fog of drowsiness and pain he could still hear screams ringing in his ears; could still taste smoke in the back of his throat.

He cracked his eyes open to glance at his wrist -okay, probably broken- then pulled himself to a sitting position. A gasp escaped him as his wrist sent a jolt of electricity through his brain.

God, he needed to get his act together.

Booth just sat there a moment, sprawled on the floor, feeling somewhat pathetic. "Nightmare-induced injury," he imagined explaining to a nurse, a wry smirk on his face. "Fell out of bed when my dream woke me up." God, just kill me now.

He checked his injured arm again. He was almost certain that wrists weren't supposed to bend at that angle; he didn't even need Bones to tell him that. So... driving myself to the hospital is out. Broken wrists don't usually work too well with steering. He felt himself blushing with embarrassment as he realized his only option was to call someone.

And for Booth, for many reasons, there was really only one someone.

A/N: Huh. I'm taking this story down roads I really hadn't considered before. Maybe I should edit the description...