Disclaimer: Bones and its affiliated characters do not belong to me. I mean no copyright infringement. All characters and places are meant to be fictional. The study mentioned in this chapter was found on Wikipedia.
Summary: This is a story based on the promotional video clips and released photos for The Hole in the Heart.
Signs of New Life
"Agent Booth," addressed the hesitant Vincent Nigel-Murray. "Before Angela checked the phone found at the crime scene, I was curious about if it could have been used as an alternative device."
That got Booth's attention right away. He looked up from the text he was messaging to see Nigel-Murray carefully holding out the phone to him. "Why didn't I know about this sooner?" he asked, clearly agitated.
"It's already been through security. Now that Angela has what she needs from the phone, I would like to ask permission to take it apart."
Booth made a great squinting impersonation. "And you're the one asking me about this?"
Mr. Nigel-Murray produced a proud grin. "Dr. Brennan has been giving me quite a bit of trust." He quickly added, "Of course, I talked to her about it, first."
Booth relaxed but only a little. When had this kind of change taken place? This doesn't sound like Bones.
"There was a study done by Motorola that found one in ten cell phone subscribers have a second phone that often is kept secret from other family members. These phones may be used to engage in activities such as extramarital affairs or clandestine business dealings."
Booth smirked at the kid. It was the first fact he'd rattled off since he'd been in the lab and he was impressed that the kid seemed fairly under control of his emotions. "Did Angela find anything useful?"
"Not yet, but she just started."
"You're doing great, kid. Maybe you can get Hodgins to help you with that." Vincent winced at being called a kid.
"I'll have you know that I'm working on two doctorate's degrees and I've always been at the top of my class in my studies."
"I don't doubt that," Booth said amused as he started walking towards the doors of the lab. "But you're still a kid."
"Perhaps we should put you into the dinosaur contraption and I can challenge you to an arm-wrestling match," challenged Vincent.
He simply laughed and shook his head. "I'll be back later."
As Vincent started walking back to the platform, Brennan and Angela came walking out from Angela's office. "Where's Booth?" asked Brennan.
"He just left. He said he'd be back later. He gave permission to disassemble the phone."
"Damn," said Angela. "I've narrowed down the search from which cell phone towers were activated."
"Oh!" said Nigel-Murray. "He's going to want to know this right away. I can catch him if I hurry." He wasted no time in running out of the lab to catch up to Booth. Angela laughed at the sight of Vincent running. Brennan and Angela walked more slowly after him. They spotted them as they were approaching Booth's SUV.
Jacob Broadsky was an excellent marksman. He'd practiced for years without a spotter. He'd chosen his stake-out at the Jeffersonian parking structure because of its relatively low traffic volume. All he needed to do was to wait for the time when Booth would be without his partner. It looked like today was going to be his lucky day and he raised his rifle into position and focused on the black SUV.
"Agent Booth," yelled Mr. Nigel-Murray. Booth turned around just as he came to a dead stop at his side. After that, everything happened so quickly that Booth couldn't process what was happening. First he was thrown against his vehicle with tremendous force with a man pinned against him who immediately fell to the ground at his feet. His instincts told him to drop to the ground as well.
"Booth!" yelled Brennan. She began running away from Angela and the security guard standing at the door. Angela had both hands covering her mouth in horror.
Booth jerked his head around and yelled. "Bones! Drop to the ground! Now!"
Brennan did what she was told and yelled toward the security guard. "Call an ambulance! Someone's been shot!"
"Got it!" yelled the guard. "Mrs. Montenegro-Hodgins, you need to sit down."
Angela believed she should be helping but was frozen in place. If it wasn't for the chair the guard pushed towards her, she probably would've fainted and then she would have just been a burden. When she looked up, the guard was on the phone and carefully moving towards the victim. Booth had his gun pulled and was searching the area visually. Brennan was crawling towards Vincent.
Brennan sat on her knees and pulled off her lab coat.
"He needs help, Booth."
Booth crept on his knees and knelt between her and the direction the bullet came from. "How is he?" he asked without turning around.
"Not good. Mr. Nigel-Murray," she said even though she knew it wouldn't do any good. He was unconscious. She used her lab coat to apply pressure to the wound caused by the bullet in his chest.
Broadsky put the rifle down and picked up his binoculars. "Damn it!" he muttered. "I'll get him next time. At least this wasn't a complete waste of time. Booth hates collateral damage." He picked up his things and left before the hunting began.
The guard approached cautiously and crouched down between vehicles. "Two ambulances are on the way."
"Two?" questioned Booth. "I'm just fine."
"Probably, but I'm worried about preterm labor."
"What?" asked Booth and Brennan in surprise.
Booth only momentarily looked behind him. "Bones? Maybe Chuck can take over for you and you can stay with Angela until help comes." Bones didn't move or say anything. "Bones?" He looked back again. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." She motioned for the guard to take over and showed him the proper way to compress the wound before she carefully made her way back to Angela.
The surgical waiting room at the hospital was quiet. Booth, Brennan, Cam, and Sweets were all in their own world of thoughts. They'd been waiting for two hours when Cam suggested that they should eat something, but everyone declined. Just then Hodgins walked in and everyone stood up and met him half way.
Cam spoke first. "How's Angela?"
Hodgins smiled and everyone sighed with relief. "We're having a boy."
Pats on the back and words of congratulations were given. "Wait!" Brennan talked over everyone. "She's delivering a month early?"
"No, no. Don't worry, Dr. B. Angie and baby are fine. We just got a scare over some mild pre-term contractions. They're going to keep her overnight for observation. With all that happened, we just wanted to know if we were having a boy or a girl. It's irrational really, but we feel more bonded to our baby now that we know if we're having a boy or a girl. She'll probably go home tomorrow possibly with medication. Paul would like to see her carry two more weeks, but he isn't too worried about gestational age."
"He's probably more worried about stress and high blood pressure," added Cam.
"Yeah, he did say that. So, I'm going to stay with her. From the looks on your faces when I came in, you haven't heard anything about Vincent."
Everyone shook their heads.
"Dr. B, Angela's asking to see you. I'll come if we hear anything about Vincent."
"Thanks Hodgins." Brennan felt a warm strong hand rest on her shoulder and Booth leaned in to whisper in her ear. The sensation felt strange but welcoming.
"Would you like for me to go with you?"
"It's not necessary, Booth." She instantly knew by the look on his face that she gave the wrong answer. So she quickly added, "But I'd like it if you came with me." She felt warm and had to reason with herself. "Angela's probably worried about you, too." He offered his arm and she held on tight and leaned in to him just as she had after she crushed Booth's heart as well as her own.
They quietly opened Angela's door which was cracked open.
"She's asleep, Booth," Brennan whispered.
Angela's eyes popped open. "Sweetie, I heard that loud and clear." Booth chuckled.
"I'm sorry, Ange."
"Don't be. I wasn't sleeping yet and these drugs they have me on will give me more than enough sleep tonight."
Brennan hadn't been inside a hospital since Booth had his tumor removed and she didn't like the feeling. Booth could feel her shudder against him since she was still holding onto his arm, something that didn't go unnoticed by Angela.
"Are you cold?" asked Booth.
"Cold?" She looked confused. "No, why would you think so?"
Angela's mouth formed an O shape.
"What Angela?" asked Brennan.
"It's the memories, isn't it?" said Angela with confidence.
"That's irrational. Booth is perfectly healthy."
Booth looked at Brennan in surprise that quickly turned to affection. He'd always wondered why she left for Guatemala so quickly after his surgery but never got the courage to ask. With everything going on, he didn't think this was the time either so he changed the subject.
"So, we heard you're having a baby boy!" said Booth with a wide goofy grin. "If I can tear him away from Hodgins' bugs, I can teach him how to play hockey."
"Booth, Angela and Hodgins are having a baby. Isn't that what you told me?"
Booth laughed. "Yes, that's what I said."
"Do you think it's still appropriate to get the baby a stuffed animal?"
"Absolutely. Little boys love animals. It's not like he's going to take it to college with him."
Angela giggled at the two of them. It was so good to see them getting back to normal. But then she sobered quickly as Hodgins walked into the room with a distraught look on his face. "Oh, God!" squealed Angela in horror once again as she covered her mouth in shock.
He ran over to his wife. "Angie, you've got to relax."
"How am I supposed to relax, Jack? Honestly, is that possible?" She was yelling but she couldn't stop herself and then the tears came.
Brennan tried to put her tears on hold. She grabbed one of Angela's hands. "Ange. Please. It's not good for the baby."
"It's not right," she cried. "He was so young with so much potential. It's not right."
When Brennan's own tears started pooling, she uncharacteristically hugged Angela in an attempt too hide the tears. Booth, fighting tears of his own, walked up next to Brennan and started to rub her back.
A nurse walked in a short time later and was instantly concerned. After getting the story, she suggested that she not take anymore visitors, with the exception of Hodgins, and said that she would ask the doctor about a mild sedative.
"I guess we should go, Bones."
"Wait," said Angela. "Are you safe? Is Bren safe?"
"I think the bullet was meant for me," admitted Booth. "We already have agents assigned to protect us."
Brennan knew that but to hear it confirmed made her feel queasy.
"I'd feel so much better Bren if you stayed with Booth."
"So would I," Booth declared. He'd been trying to figure out a way to ask Brennan to stay with him and would have to privately thank Angela later for making it easier for him.
"Are you sure it's necessary, Booth? You just said that we have agents protecting us."
"I know Bones, but I'm not just thinking about our personal safety. We've both been through a traumatic event. One of our squints died. I, personally, would rather not be alone tonight."
"Oh." Brennan hadn't expected to hear that. But then, he'd been full of surprises lately. "I… I think that maybe it would be good for both of us to feel more comfortable so we can get some sleep."
"Sleep is essential, Bones."
They said their good-byes and he put his arm around her shoulders and led her out of the room.
Booth was surprised when Brennan didn't argue with him after leaving the hospital. They ended up at his apartment because it was closer. He grabbed some clean sheets and a pillow for Parker's bed where Brennan would sleep. Then he went and got her some clothes to sleep in. He handed his clothes to her feeling a bit awkward as she stood in front of him hugging a pillow to her stomach.
"My t-shirt and sleep pants will be big, but at least the pants have a drawstring."
"Thanks, Booth," she said softly.
"Are you okay? Do you need anything before I go to bed?"
"I'm exhausted. I just want to sleep and forget."
Booth nodded sadly in understanding.
Booth couldn't sleep. The events of the day kept rolling through his mind. And when he closed his eyes, they were even more vivid. An innocent person died because of him. He wasn't just anyone; he was a squint… one of Brennan's squints. He thought about going for a run but quickly dismissed the idea because Brennan was with him. He didn't think he'd convince the agents outside to let him leave anyway. He couldn't just sit still, though. So he ended up pacing his small bedroom. Just when he thought he would get dizzy, he heard a soft whimper. He stopped and wondered if he'd imagined it. But a few moments later he heard it again. Bones.
Booth knocked on Parker's bedroom door. Brennan opened it slightly.
"Bones? Are you okay?"
Instead of answering the question, she asked, "Why aren't you sleeping?"
"I can't sleep. Every time I close my eyes, the images I picture from the day get more vivid and real looking. You can't sleep either?" She simply shook her head. "Thinking about Angela and Mr. Nigel-Murray?"
She shook her head again. "I mean, yes, but that's not what I'm imagining when I close my eyes," she whispered.
"I could use some company. Do you want to talk?"
Brennan wasn't sure she could talk about what was bothering her, but if Booth needed her, she would do anything for him.
"Come on," he said gently. Without even thinking about it, Booth led her to his bedroom and they sat on the edge of the bed. He turned to face her and grabbed a hand to hold in both of his. They'd been touching in small ways for a few hours, but the touch felt foreign and it bothered him. Touching Brennan used to be as natural as walking.
"Can you tell me about it?"
She stared at her hand in his, unsure of how to begin and hoping he wouldn't be upset with her. "I keep remembering the time you were shot in the Checker Box when I was singing. And you were just lying there staring up at me. Your eyes were unfocused and you were leaving me. I kept telling you that you would be okay. I wanted you to fight it. But nothing would be the same again. I knew it before a doctor told me you were dead."
Booth gently tipped her chin with a finger to look him in the eye. "Hey, I'm right here."
"It could have been you, Booth. I don't think I could go through that again."
"But I didn't go anywhere. I'm right here."
"But I thought you died. For two weeks, Booth! I thought I'd never again see your eyes look at me or hear you call me "Bones."
"That was three years ago, Bones. I said I was sorry. And I thought you were okay. You said you were okay. You compartmentalized everything."
"You actually believed that?"
Now Booth looked as confused as he was upset. "What are you saying?"
"I can't lose you, Booth. As much as I tried to prevent it, everything in my life revolves around you. I used to think I could run away, like I did to the Maluku Islands. But I was wrong. You weren't there physically. But you were still here." She pointed to her head.
Booth wanted to remind her that love wasn't just about the brain, it was also about the heart. But he didn't. They weren't ready. "I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere."
"You can't promise that, Booth. And you can't see into the future."
"You're right. I can't. But I know how I feel. And I know how I think. And I'm using my brain and my heart to do everything I can to be here for us."
She looked at him curiously. She expected him to say, 'be here for you.'
"And Bones, as sad as I am that your grad student lost his life today on the account of me, it scares me to think what would have happened to me if it'd been you running to catch up to me instead of him. I don't think I could go on."
"You would. You have Parker."
"Don't pretend you don't know how important you are to me. I need you, Bones. I always do. Especially now. I can't help but feel responsible for Vincent's death."
"That is not your fault."
"I know you think it's irrational, but that's how I feel. And you weren't responsible for me getting shot by Pam Noonan."
She was about to protest but instead reached out and touched the place on his chest that she remembered the bullet wound being.
"Let's get some sleep," Booth said in a husky voice.
"Is it okay if I stay here?" she asked in the softest whisper he'd heard from her. His answer came as he gathered her in his embrace and fell back onto the pillows. She laid her head between his shoulder and chest and rested her hand over his heart. After pulling up the covers, Booth wiped the tears from her cheeks, kissed her nose, and combed his fingers through her hair until he knew she was asleep.
When Booth woke up, he was surprised at first by not being able to roll over. He opened his eyes and remembered why he was holding his beautiful partner in his arms. The clock on the bedside table read three o'clock. As he watched her, he absently rubbed her back. When her eyelids fluttered open, his hands stilled.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."
"It's okay. I feel strangely rested. What time is it? Did you sleep?"
"It's just a little past three. We both slept a few hours. Thank you for that." He kissed her on the cheek.
"What are you thanking me for? I didn't do anything."
He chuckled softly. "Yes, you did. By just being here, I was able to relax. And I was able to sleep. So, thank you." He watched her reaction in her eyes. Eventually he broke eye contact when he bent over and brushed a soft kiss on her lips. He looked back up at her eyes and didn't see fear. He kissed her again but with more intention and meaning and he felt a shiver when she sighed. He laid his head back down on the pillow and made a sigh of his own.
"Is it okay to feel happy and secure when we just lost a friend?"
Booth's heart warmed at hearing Brennan referring to her student as a friend. He used to wonder if she'd ever allow herself those kind of feelings again after losing Zack the way she did.
"There's nothing wrong in taking comfort from someone close to you when something bad happens in our lives. Actually, I think it's quite natural. What do your anthropological studies say about other cultures in similar situations?"
She leaned up on her forearm to look at him and smiled. "Yes. You're right."
He smiled back. "That's it? No squinty speech?"
"Do you want one?"
"Only if you want to give one. I'll listen to you anytime."
She tilted her head to study his sincerity in the darkened room, lightened only by the streetlights outside his apartment building.
"Are we ready for this? Us?"
"What do you think?" he returned.
"I think you're the heart guy and I need you to know if you're ready. This is all new to me. I don't know how to be in a relationship. And I don't want to mess it up."
He propped himself up on an arm to be at eye level with her. "I don't want to mess it up, either. I'm scared to death I will."
"You can't actually kill yourself from fear."
He smiled. "You said that on purpose."
"I say everything on purpose."
He out right laughed. "Yes. You do. Even when you don't know all the meaning behind your words. This time, I'm grateful for you lightening the mood. Listen, Bones…."
She waited patiently for him to continue.
"I don't feel like I know how to be in a relationship, either. They have all failed. But…"
"But what?" she asked back starting to feel hopeful.
"But we're unique. We're unique in everything we do. And even though I still believe in fate…"
"And I still don't," she replied.
"Right. And even though I believe fate brought us into each other's lives, I think it's by the choices we make that will determine what we make of our relationship."
"You don't want it just to be about luck?" she asked, remembering what he had said about his relationship with his son the week before.
"Right. And we already have done all the hard stuff," he chuckled.
"Is there a list of things a couple has to do to be in a relationship?" she asked in amusement.
"Well, yeah. We already know just about everything there is to know about each other. And we still want to be together despite how difficult life can be sometimes. We were actually in a relationship for a long time. Sweets called it a surrogate relationship."
"Yeah. I can see that now. But things changed. Do you think it's too late?"
"God, I hope not. I know I'm not angry anymore, but I'm afraid of not being enough for you."
"Why would you even think that? I'm the one that needs to be worried about not being enough for you."
"That just crap."
"It's crap, Bones. You think you don't have an open heart. Your heart is bigger and more open than any adult I know."
She didn't understand his qualifier of an adult, but she let him continue since she was dumbstruck with curiosity.
"I think it's fair to say that you haven't been in many relationships that were much more than sex. You don't have the same expectations and worries that can make things difficult in a new relationship. And you trust me so openly and honestly that it's scary. I'm not the standard. I'm flawed. I don't want to hurt you. I can't fail. If we do this… us… I can't go back. I need your help. I need you to want us as much as I do. We're a team."
"I'm not sure I understand everything you just said, but I know what's ours is ours. And I know we're the center and the center must hold."
"You understand more than you realize right now."
"So, it's not too late?" she asked with uncertainty.
"Being in a relationship doesn't mean we own each other, Bones. It means we're making a solid intellectual choice based on facts that we know about each other and with those facts we're deciding every day we want to be with each other… that's a committed relationship whether there's a piece of paper or not." Her grin grew the more he talked. He was speaking her language. "As awful as yesterday was, I think it has proven that we are still strong together. The only thing we don't have is the physical connection… making love."
"That's two things."
"Huh?" She looked at him so innocently that he couldn't read her. "Are you going to get all squinty on me after all? No squinty stuff in bed," he teased.
"Okay." She rolled over to get out of bed.
"Wait! I'm kidding." He reached for her and pulled her back to his side by wrapping an arm around her waist. "Talk to me, my favorite squint. How is making love two things we have yet to add to our relationship?"
"Making love isn't just about sex, Booth. You're the one who taught me that. It's two people trying to break the law of physics and become one because they love each other."
He was quiet.
"Say something. Did I get it wrong?"
"No, you got it right, Bones. Very right. Are you telling me that you love me? That there's more than just chemicals in the brain making you want to be here?"
The cutest shy smile appeared on her face before she looked at him with desire in her eyes. She leaned in for a beautiful kiss that she hoped said everything she had difficulty expressing verbally.
Booth felt like he was finally where he wanted and needed to be. A new life was about to open up for him, for them. If he could rely on his instincts, he would know for sure if Brennan loved him. He knew the road ahead would never be easy, but it would all be worth it. They had already made it through some very difficult times. He believed they could weather any storm as long as they were together.