|The Raven in the Woods
Author: K. Elisabeth PM
The Squints try to solve a case of a cheerleader found dead in the woods. Meanwhile Brennan is still coming to grips with the loss of Zack, and her new intern tries to put the moves on our favorite FBI agent. B/B :Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Crime - T. Brennan & S. Booth - Chapters: 12 - Words: 28,872 - Reviews: 86 - Favs: 45 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 06-23-08 - Published: 06-03-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4299370
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Alright Za—er, Stacy, what have we got?" Dr. Temperance Brennan asked, catching herself mid-sentence as she swiped her card and stepped up onto the platform. The vast, vaulted windows of the Jeffersonian showed an extraordinarily clear morning, shafts of rising sunlight illuminating a badly decomposed body lain out on the table. Brennan's current rotating intern, Stacy Dayton, smiled brightly as Brennan approached the remains.
"Female, late teens to early twenties, dead for… a while," the simpering blonde recited, acknowledging the advanced tissue decomposition.
"A while is not a definitive answer, I need a time frame," Bones said, pursing her lips and not bothering to look up at the girl as she examined the remains.
"Dr. Hodgins is examining the beetles found in the dirt beneath the remains right now, Dr. Brennan," the girl replied sheepishly. "He should know about how long the victim's been de—"
"Bones," a gruff voice called out from across the cavernous room. Brennan turned to see her partner, Special Agent Seeley Booth, striding through the automatic doors, the heels of his shoes clicking against the floor rhythmically.
"That was fast," Brennan said, acknowledging his presence with a raise of the eyebrows.
"You said we had a murder; I hear murder, I run like the Beggin' Strips dog," Booth said with a lopsided grin. Brennan furrowed her brows.
"I don't know what that means," she said, but the intern laughed.
"I love those commercials!" she said, smiling at Booth.
"Me too!" he said. "That goofy dog voice gets me every time. 'It's bacoooon!' I love it!"
"That's great," she laughed. "By the way, I'm Stacy. Stacy Dayton," she said, offering a hand. "I'm Dr. Brennan's new intern."
"Currently," Brennan added. Booth shook Stacy's hand and nodded.
"Special Agent Seeley Booth," he replied.
"Nice to meet you Agent Booth," Stacy said.
"And you," he replied, smiling down at the petite blonde who very much resembled his son's mother.
"So," Brennan said loudly, interrupting the meet-and-greet. "Do we know anything else about our victim besides an approximate age and gender?"
"Which is?" Booth asked.
"Female," Stacy announced, interrupting Brennan bravely. "Female, late teens or early twenties. Dead for a while," she said, avoiding Brennan's harsh gaze.
"I'd say," Booth said with a grimace.
"Almost a month," a voice called from the other side of the room. Hodgins stepped onto the platform, a jar of active beetles in hand. "At least, that's about the time when these little guys show up for left-overs."
"Thank you, Hodgins," Brennan said, nodding. "Female, early twenties, died approximately a month ago. Anything else?"
"I'm no expert, but—" Booth started, before Brennan cut him off.
"I wasn't asking you," she said, eyeballing him. "Stacy, anything else?"
"Er, not that I saw," she said nervously.
"Did you take a look at the clothing and other personal items found on the body at the crime scene?" Brennan asked, and Stacy shook her head.
"I thought I was just supposed to look at the bones," she said, to which Brennan sighed audibly. Booth cocked an eyebrow.
"Well what the hell gave you that idea?" Brennan hissed, leaving the platform temporarily to retrieve a bag of personal affects—clothes, jewelry, and a purse stripped of all valuables, including any form of I.D. Booth took a slight step back as Brennan set the bag of belongings down on another tray, unzipping it and laying the objects out on display.
"You're a forensic anthropologist. Any pre-med student can look at a bunch of broken bones and tell you what happened to the body; your job is to investigate the person, not just the skeleton. A whole person isn't made up of just their bones," Brennan admonished. Stacy nodded.
"Right, sorry," she mumbled, looking down at the victim's belongings.
"She was found in a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt with an athletic logo on the front," Brennan said, switching gears quickly as she sifted through the artifacts.
"Hey, she was a Baltimore fan," Booth pointed out, noting the specific 'athletic logo' on the bloodstained shirt.
"Go Ravens," Stacy said playfully, grinning at Booth.
"Stacy, since we have no need for the remaining soft tissue, take the bones and clean them thoroughly for further examination," Brennan ordered, stepping between Stacy and Booth. Stacy nodded, unlocking the wheels and rolling the tray down the ramp and into the adjoining room. "And don't mess up my bones!" she shouted after the intern just as the automatic doors sealed shut.
"What's your deal?" Booth asked as soon as Stacy was out of earshot.
"What do you mean, what's my 'deal'?" Brennan asked, sifting through receipts, gum wrappers, and other various purse detritus.
"With your intern," he clarified.
"What about her?" she asked.
"You're kind of mean to her," he said. Brennan looked up.
"I'm not mean," she said. "I'm stern. She acts like this is a high school biology lab, and it's not."
"She seemed to me like she knew what was going on," Booth said, to which Brennan scoffed loudly.
"That's only because you hardly know what's going on either," Brennan said, to which Booth scowled. His brooding gaze broke, however, when Brennan held up a beaded bracelet with an engraved silver heart dangling from it.
"Can you read what's engraved on the heart?" Brennan asked. Booth squinted at the writing, but couldn't make it out; the entire bracelet was covered in a thick layer of dried blood. He shook his head.
"Here, hand me that bottle of cleaning solution," Brennan said, motioning towards a rack filled with various tubes and bottles. Booth grabbed the closest one to him.
"Not that one, the other one," Brennan said. Booth grabbed the squirt bottle next to his original choice and, by chance, selected the right one. Brennan laid the bracelet out on a clean metal pan and sprayed it gently with the cleaning solution. Once the solution ran clean, she picked it up and patted it dry with a gauze pad.
"S.N.M.," she said aloud, reading the swoopy lettering on the heart.
"Sorry, I'm not really into that kind of thing," Booth said, giving Brennan a minute to grasp what he had just said before he burst into tickled laughter.
"What? No! S.N.M. are her initi—oh, you knew what I…" Brennan closed her eyes and shook her head, sighing.
"Angela, check the system for a female, early twenties, with the initials S.N.M.," Brennan called out.
"Alright sweetie," Angela said with a wicked grin, having overheard their recent conversation.
"Thanks," she said, still shaking her head. Booth elbowed her ribs playfully, still laughing at his own joke.
"Come on, you know it was funny," he said, and Brennan finally broke a smile.
"Yeah, yeah," she said. She had just sealed the bracelet into a new evidence bag when she heard Angela's door swing open.
"I've got a match," Angela said, and Brennan looked up.
"Who is she?" Brennan asked.
"Sarah Nicole McLeod," Angela replied. "Went missing a month ago. Info says she was called in as missing by her boss when she didn't come into work two days in a row. No sign in the apartment or parking garage of a violent attack."
"Well it sure doesn't look that way from here," Brennan said quietly to herself, looking down at the crime scene photographs, remembering her struggle to dig out all the fragments of shattered skull from the ground below.