|The Narrow of the Margin
Author: Rochelle Templer PM
When Booth and Brennan are caught up in a hostage situation with no way out, it falls upon Sweets to negotiate their way to safety.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Friendship - L. Sweets & S. Booth - Chapters: 5 - Words: 12,404 - Reviews: 63 - Favs: 87 - Follows: 31 - Updated: 05-28-10 - Published: 05-17-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5977822
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Since I enjoyed writing my story, The Truth in the Semantics, from one of Stephaniew's prompts so much, I decided to let her come up with another one for me, and this story is the result. It is not a one-shot this time and I'll wait until later to say what the prompt was so as to not spoil the plot. But it has everything that people have come to expect from me: angst, fluff and Sweets. :D
I do not own Bones or any of its characters. This is just my hobby.
Thank you ahead of time to everyone who reads/follows/reviews this. :D
And Stephaniew, I hope you enjoy this result as much as the last one. ;)
The Narrow of the Margin
Even though normally it was one of his favorite activities, Doctor Lance Sweets was barely listening to the playful bickering that was coming from the front seat of the car he was riding in. He was sitting in the back seat of Booth's SUV, and Booth and Brennan were in the front having another one of their banter sessions. The three of them were going to a high end jewelry store to interview the owner about one of his former employees, a Michael Connor. Sweets had come along to get more information for the profile that he was building on Connor.
Connor, as it turned out, had recently become a serial bomber. It had started with the destruction of a couple of abandoned buildings. However, he soon moved on to buildings that were still in use. The first one was a business that had closed for the evening; so fortunately, there was no one there at the time. But the next one had some late-night shift workers present who were killed by the explosion, and then a security guard had been shot near the scene of yet another explosion that killed even more people. Thus far, eleven people had been killed. Even more disturbing were the cryptic and paranoid sounding notes that were left at each scene. The suspect, Connor, had actually taken responsibility for the bombings early on, but had also dropped out of sight after the second one.
Booth had been assigned the case, and he had asked for Sweets' help when he saw the letters that Connor was leaving at the scenes. Brennan and the staff at the Jeffersonian had been called in to identify the victims at each explosion site since their specialty was identifying remains without much to work with, which was often the case after each attack.
Both Sweets and Booth quickly saw a pattern in the bombings: all the buildings had some sort of significance in Connor's life at some point. Sometimes it was places where he used to live; other times it was former employers. Using that information, Booth was able to draw up a list of possible future targets, including this jewelry store that they were going to. Connor had not only worked there seven years ago, he had bought his ex-wife's engagement ring there as well.
They pulled into the parking lot of the store and Booth and Brennan got out of the car. But Sweets was still scanning his files and making notes.
"Hey, Sweets," Booth said, poking his head back into the car. "Aren't you coming with us?" Sweets shook his head and didn't look up from his work.
No, I need to finish up my thoughts here," he said. "You go ahead and I'll be there in a few minutes."
"Gotcha. Let's go Bones…Oh and Sweets, make sure you lock up the car when you're done." They then slammed the doors shut and walked inside.
Sweets sighed; he considered Booth a friend, but he was still amazed at how much he was treated like a kid by him. He didn't let it bother him though; he knew it was Booth's nature to be paternal and protective with the people that he cared about. Secretly, Sweets was a bit flattered that Booth felt the need to be that way with him.
After finishing the file he was working on, Sweets leaned back in his seat and looked over what he had written.
'Connor showed no signs of being capable of this kind of violence before this started. But now he has taken to killing innocent bystanders in his bombings and directly confronting and killing anyone who could stop him in his quest,' he thought to himself. He put his notes and files down and sat up.
'His psychosis is beginning to spiral out of control and he's escalating his attacks as a result. The next one will probably be even more audacious and lethal than the other ones have been thus far.'
Sweets got out of the car, and began to walk toward the store. He stopped, however, at the sound of gunfire coming from within.
Booth and Brennan walked into the store and were surrounded by glass cases that held numerous diamonds in almost any setting imaginable. There were several people, customers and employees, milling around. Soon, a man in a conservative, but expensive looking suit approached the two of them. He looked to be in his fifties and was a rather short, balding man.
"Hello, I'm Arthur Fisk, the owner," the man smiled. "What can I do for you today? Perhaps something special for the fine lady here?"
"Actually, I consider the act of buying gemstones whose value have been inflated by cultural expectations to be…"
"Special Agent Seeley Booth," Booth said, cutting her off and taking out his badge to show to Fisk. "This is my partner, Doctor Brennan. We spoke on the phone, and we're here to talk about your former employee, Michael Connor."
"Yes, yes, well can we discuss this in my office? Don't want to spook the clientele," Fisk said. He let the to a side room that faced the show room. It was made up walls that had large glass windows, making it possible to see the main show area from inside. Next to the door was a keypad that Fisk punched some sort of code into. There was a 'click' as the door unlocked and the three of them went inside.
"We can talk freely here," Fisk said. "These windows are soundproof and bulletproof."
"Interesting set-up," Booth nodded.
"Yes, well years ago I had a robbery here, and since then I've taken precautions," Fisk said. "All the windows in the store are bulletproof, and my office here requires a security code to get in. The bulk of my merchandise is in a safe in the back of the store, a nearly impossible to crack safe I might add. Plus, with this set-up I can keep an eye on my employees."
"Why is that necessary?" Brennan asked. "I assume you also have video cameras for security and there is that guard by the door."
"Well, I'm a little old-fashioned, but I think everyone works a little harder knowing that the boss is looking over their shoulder," Fisk grinned.
Booth was barely listening to this exchange; he was watching the customers go in and out of the store. No one struck him as suspicious: there were two couples who looked to be buying engagement rings, a group of ladies ogling some diamond tennis bracelets in a case toward the back, and a man in an overcoat facing away from him, who was admiring some necklaces in a case near the door.
Booth's cell phone went off and he answered it to find Cam on the line. She reported that Hodgins had figured out the chemical composition of the latest bomb from some particulates found on some remains that were the nearest to the explosion.
"It looks like a pretty sophisticated bomb," Cam noted. "Not something your average criminal on the street would come up with."
"Thanks Cam, we'll stop…"
Booth was cut off by the sound of gunfire. He looked back toward the show room to see that the man near the necklaces had turned around and pulled out a gun. Booth recognized him as Connor from his photos. Connor was shooting wildly around the store. He shot the security guard near the door and one bullet hit the keypad next to Fisk's office. A shower of sparks and smoke came from the keypad. Booth pulled his gun and grabbed at the doorknob, but it was locked.
"Open this door," Booth ordered. Fisk reluctantly punched in the code with a shaking hand. But it would not unlock.
Outside, Connor, a tall wiry man, took off his overcoat and revealed a large device that looked like another bomb strapped to his body.
"Nobody moves," he screamed. "Or…BOOM!" The customers and employees huddled to the floor, crying and whimpering.
Booth continued to try to open the door with no success.
"Why won't it open?" Booth said frustrated.
"He must have shot out the electric lock," Fisk trembled.
"Is there some sort of manual override?" Brennan asked.
"Yes, a key…the security guard has it," Fisk answered. Booth grimaced; he was pretty sure the guard was dead.
"Booth…Booth, what's going on?" Cam's voice rung out over the phone. Booth had dropped his cell phone in the excitement. He picked it back up to talk to her.
"It's Connor," he said. "He's here and he's got a bomb and at least one gun."
"Are you guys all right?"
"We're fine. Bones and I are locked in this office with bulletproof walls and we can't get out," Booth answered. "Call Hacker and tell him what's going on so he can send a team out."
"Will do and you two be careful," Cam said, hanging up.
"At least we're safe. He can't shoot us," Fisk said, hopeful.
"Yeah, but I doubt these windows will save us from that bomb," Booth muttered.
Back at the Jeffersonian, Cam had just finished phoning Hacker, when Angela and Hodgins walked into her office.
"What's going on?" Angela asked. Cam informed them of the situation. Angela's eyes grew wide as she listened.
"I'm going over there," Angela said, turning to walk out.
"Wait…" Cam called after her.
"Hey Ange, I'll drive you," Hodgins said, following her. Cam looked down for a moment and sighed; there was nothing pressing at the Medico-Legal lab right now, and she knew where she secretly wanted to be as well.
"Wait you two," she said walking out of her office. "Let's all go together."
Outside the jewelry store, Sweets was crouching behind Booth's SUV. He had already made a call of his own to the FBI and was now waiting for them to show up. He leaned against the car and stared at the store.
'It's Connor…it has to be…' Sweets thought. 'He decided to make this his next target.'
Suddenly he remembered that Booth and Brennan were inside. He yanked his cell phone back out of his pocket and hit his speed dial.
"Sweets? Where are you?" Booth answered a hint of panic in his voice. With everything that happened, Booth had forgotten about Sweets being with them.
"I'm by the car," he answered. "Are you and Doctor Brennan all right?"
"We're fine," Booth said, relief coloring his tone. "We're locked up in the owner's office and we can't get out. Connor's in here with another bomb and he's armed. He's already killed the security guard."
"I called the office," Sweets said. "There should be a team here soon."
"Yeah, Cam is doing the same thing," Booth said. "Listen Sweets, you stay with the car, and keep out of sight, you got that? Stay put until help arrives."
"I will…you two be careful," Sweets said. Booth then hung up.
Sweets went back to staring at the store.
'This is it…the violent attack that he has been building up to,' he thought. 'He must be near a breaking point in his psychosis.'
He thought again of Booth and Brennan; if Connor was near his breaking point, there was no telling what he would do. The two of them were in very real danger. Sweets was scared, but he also felt helpless, both of which were feelings that he hated.
'I want to do something to help them…but what?'