Excerpt from the next chapter: “Love Don’t Die Easy”
“What does killing make me? It doesn’t make me a good man,” he said, staring hard at Brennan. “Sometimes the weight of what a person’s done, it’s just too heavy, and all you want is for it to stop. You just want out, Bones, and in that moment, nothing else matters. Nothing, and no one. You just want it to end and the consequences … they don’t even matter.”
Brennan nodded in the dark. She did know. When she thought she’d lost him, when she had to face that he had chosen to share his life with someone else even after he knew she wanted to be with him … when she could no longer fill her mind with work, or music, or research. When she was forced to drop onto the couch at her office in the middle of the night or into her bed at home early in the morning only because her body refused to function without rest. That was when she wanted out. It was irrational. And she hated it. But she didn’t have the energy to be angry, which is what the fight inside her wanted her to be … angry.
The sadness simply slipped from her eyes in flat tears that landed in her ears and the hairline at her temple as she lay motionless, exhausted, yet still unable to rest. Of all she’d been through in her life, that was one of the very few times she had honestly been afraid for herself. Afraid and exhausted … which is a good combination when you’re considering ending it all. The relentless exhaustion saved her from herself. It saved her and renewed her energy afterwards, plucking her from the claws of greedy self-centeredness.
“Yes, Booth,” she said across the dark. “I do know what it is like to just want it to end.”
He stared across at her though all he could see were the dark hollows of her eye sockets, her cheek bones, the dip in her neck. He knew she did know, and tried not to think of why she knew it. His eyes dropped to his hands before she broke the heavy silence.
“And what you are experiencing right now, Booth … the inability to get warm or to stop shivering,” she said, her voice like silk unfurling in slow motion to soften the space between them, “is called sympathetic autonomic dysregulation.”
After a moment, she continued, “It results when the physiological response cycle following a significant stressful event is unable to complete, unable to finish its cycle, even after the initial stressor is removed. In other words, the body fails to return to its pre-threat state.”
Booth squinted at the reflection of a mottled Seattle sky splayed across the surface of the coffee table and shivered once more. He shook his head as if shrugging away a mosquito, showing no sign that he’d heard her.
“Take all the time you need. I’m right here,” she said, leaning back against the couch cushions as if to prove it. “For as long as it takes.” She whispered.