What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valor, rage – who can tell- but truth.

-The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

His entire consciousness was lurking the darkness. Wait- no, that wasn't right, because he could see a tiny crack of light from underneath what appeared to be a doorway. Was he awake? He strained to hear anything. Breathing. Heavy breathing. Was that him?

"Bones." The name usually spoken in conversation was spoken in urgency. It was not answered, either. "Bones." He tried again. He opened his eyes.

Just the hospital room. He let out a breath he knew he'd been holding in this entire time. He was safe. She was safe. He was here. She was here. Quickly flicking on a light to rid the darkness, his eyes roamed over her body. A few bruises here and there, one nasty scratch along the side of her face, but the rest looked clean and healthy. In his thirty-five years of being on this earth, he never thought that he would be literally overjoyed to hear that monotonous sound of the heart rate monitor. But he was.

Around the room were vases of roses and sunflowers and hydrangeas- yet a single white daisy in a plastic cup caught his eye before his gaze fell back upon his partner. A flash of her eyes, wide open and tearing, rose from his memory. The needle jutting out of her neck and a loud, resonating gunshot. A breath of relief, but still of apprehension, knowing he hadn't shot her but the danger still lingered due to a tiny little drop of poison.

"Hey," She spoke and he felt that familiar rush of whatever the hell she did to him coarse through his veins.

"Hey. How are you feeling?"

"Fine. My wrists have a dull ache in them from the ropes, but other than that…" Her voice drawled off and she caught sight of the daisy. Her question caught him off guard as she muttered it low and he had to strain to hear it. "How do you know me so well?" Not what he'd been expecting. Then again, this was Bones- on heavy medication- and she would never even think of what had been on his mind. He had been ready for a sucker-punch like "how could you almost let me die?"

"Because we've been partners for four years? Because you're Brennan and I'm Booth. Because we're like Mully and Sculder. Take your pick, Bones."

"You said that on the second case we worked together. I still have no idea what it means." He leaned in closer and placed both of his hands on her nearest one.

"It means that I know you too well. You're my partner and you'll always be my partner." She chuckled.

"I believe that today was a prime example that your statement is, indeed, false." The look on his face made her want to seize the words right out of the air and swallow them back inside. It was the look he got when they knew they'd won the case but didn't feel any better about it.

"You're right, Bones. And I'm sorry about what happened-"

"Booth, there's nothing to apologize for. That man was clearly insane, a reaction he must have had due to society pushing him to the brink of destruction and he obviously has serious problems controlling his id."

"Had problems. And I thought you didn't like psychology."

"It doesn't mean that man wasn't deranged." Booth bit his tongue, debating on whether or not to converse about what had been eating away inside him for the entire amount of time Brennan was unconscious.

"After he stabbed you with the needle, he kept asking me about the darkness inside of me."

"Inside of what?"

"Inside of me, I guess. And I don't understand what he meant. I wasn't the one who tried to poison you. I was just trying to save you, after that psycho hurt you and I was praying that the serum inside the needle wasn't deadly and I just had to shoot him, but I don't know if that's what he was talking about. That needed to be done, Bones, or he would still be out there in the world-"


"Yeah?" He looked up from her palm lying on top of his white knuckles.

"There's no way you could have known what he was talking about. Because you don't have it."

"Have what?"

"The darkness or whatever he was talking about." Her eyes captured his and there went another whoosh inside of him. "You're a good man, Booth. You saved me, just like you've saved me countless times." The blue irises darted the food tray in front of her. "They brought me pie for dessert." She was changing subject like always when their emotions came into play. He didn't mind, though. He didn't want to talk about what had happened, either.

"Just take a leap of faith and try it, Bones." Warily, her hands reached for the sliver of cherry pie and a fork. He held back his laughter at the sight of her face- scrunched up- and she once again announced her extreme distaste for baked fruit. "All right, all right. At least you tried it. I'll take pie, you take pudding." He revealed a cup of chocolate pudding out from the pocket of his jacket and traded, his eyes already inhaling the pie.

"You stole that off of my tray when I was asleep, didn't you?"

"I don't believe you have any proof of that." He sent her a lopsided grin.

"Cheers," Brennan held up her cup, a plastic spoon sticking out of the goo, "To being partners." Booth grinned.

"To being partners." The plastic cup met the styrofoam plate.