Disclaimer: I, unfortunately, don't own anything related to the concept or characters from BONES. This story is not intended for any use other than my own amusement…and hopefully the entertainment of my fellow fans. However, with that said, all other characters are my own creation. I hope you like them…or love to hate them. :)

A/N: I know. I know. I should never post a story as a WIP ever, ever again. So it is with whole-hearted sincerity that I say thank you so much to everyone who is reading!

Note: Thoughts are in italics.



Chapter 24

Hotel Room – Colorado Springs, CO

Saturday, September 9th – 7:14am MST

"Yes." …

"Yes, honey." …

"I know, honey. I kn – " Herbie Cartwright, Special Agent with the FBI, smothered a sigh as his wife continued to berate him from hundreds of miles away. He had apologized, but her ire steamrolled right over him through the phone line. "I'm really sor – " He stopped as she verbally smacked him for trying to apologize when she knew that he really wasn't sorry for the choice that he had made. He nodded, silently agreeing with what she was saying. After all, how could he argue? His wife, who knew him so well, was absolutely right. He had made the choice voluntarily, and he'd do it again without question. Of course, now wasn't really the time to say that; so, like any good husband, he kept quiet and listened as his diminutive wife continued her tirade.

All the while, his friend and partner sat at the small table in the corner of their hotel room, listening to the groveling side of the conversation with an amused smirk. Cartwright had been trying to ignore him, but it was the snort of laughter that caused the harangued agent's normally cheerful blue eyes to blaze briefly before narrowing to a glare. Turning, the agent carefully covered the mouthpiece on the phone and pointed accusingly with his other hand toward his partner. "This is your fault," he hissed before going back to mumble another "You're right" into the cell.

Agent Ryan Preston, hard pressed not to laugh, placed a hand over his mouth in an attempt to hide a gleaming grin. Even if it was his fault, that didn't make the scene any less amusing.

Seeing the smile, Cartwright practically growled before his attention snapped back to the woman on the phone. "Of course I'm paying attention, sweetheart." Starting to pace, he approached the windowed side of the room, turning a menacing glance at the man in the corner. His mouthed "You just wait" only made Preston laugh harder. Until a pillow from the bed hit him on the side of the head. Then it was Cartwright's turn to smile.


Medico-Legal Lab – The Jeffersonian

Saturday, September 9th – 9:26am EST

Jack walked into the lab, expecting to be the last one there even though it was a Saturday morning. He'd set his alarm for o'dawn early, but apparently he'd mistakenly hit PM instead of AM and was, therefore, running later than planned. However, as he hurried in to the lab proper he found the place nearly empty. The only other people in sight were the security guards who were always on duty and a janitor pushing around a steaming bucket with a mop. Every few feet the squeaky wheels would stop, and she'd clean up what appeared to be drying puddles of mud.

Scanning the office windows for signs of life, he made his way to his desk and muttered, "Where the hell is everyone?" He'd at least expected to find Zack up on the platform. Especially since he'd called the garage apartment twice and then waited an extra 15 minutes for the young scientist to show up at the house, only to be told that he'd apparently left hours before via cab.

"Maybe they're in Ange's office."

Stepping around the newly mopped section of flooring he started toward the hall. Just before he turned the corner something caught his attention. The main screen on the platform was flashing. "What the –"

He badged in quickly and took the stairs in two bounds to get to the platform, Taking a seat at the keyboard, he typed in a few commands and pulled up the results of the search that had been running.


Wrestling his phone from his jeans pocket, he hit speed dial 3. "Brennan, I think I know where to find the missing kid." … "Zack left a search running last night, and it had completed by the time I got here. According to this, Whitman's good buddy Roger Potts is from the Rockies. His family owns miles upon miles of land up in the mountains north of Colorado Springs, and on that land somewhere is a small hunting cabin." … "Yeah. But, I don't have an exact location on the cabin. Just a mention of it on some old county records." … "Okay. I'll see if I can find Zack; between the two of us we should be able to find something more concrete. When should we expect you?" ... "So, we'll meet in you about thirty? Sounds like a plan, man." He ended the call and vaulted off the stairs to go find his brilliant, young friend.


A cabin off of Teller County Route 1 - CO

Saturday, September 9th – 7:49am MST

The child's screams of terror had died to wordless sobs and then incoherent whimpers before finally falling silent. It had taken a bit longer than he'd expected for the brat to shut the hell up. Once he did, Whitman shook the tension from his shoulders and smiled in relief. Dealing with his victims' hysterics was his least favorite part of this little experiment. As he relished the natural silence in the small room, he walked around the table to study his handy work. Not his prettiest, but that was okay. He was saving the best for last. However, given the mental state of the kid, he suspected that it was going to take him awhile to wake up again. The killer shrugged. Abject terror takes its toll on everyone in the end. Besides, it's not like he didn't have a few things left to do before he was ready to start the real work he wanted to accomplish before this was all over.

He hadn't even really done anything to the spoiled snot. Not yet, anyway. So far, all he'd managed before the kid passed out was to get the table set up with restraints – he let the kid watch as he bolted the shackles in place - and get the kid tied up nice and tight. His still diminutive arms and legs were spread wide toward each corner and tied off with the same rough rope he'd used before. Whitman's upper lip lifted in a sneer. That shit rubbed the shine off of his gloves, but it was worth it to see the glaringly red scrapes on the kid's skin as the ropes pulled with his every move, even in sleep.

As the kid mumbled and started to thrash his head back and forth, gripped in the throes of another nightmare, Whitman puttered around the small room placing layer after layer of overlapping tarps on the floor and over the scant furniture. Once satisfied that no fluids would make it to the floor, he turned toward the rough hewn cabinet that ran along the back wall of the old cabin. Opening one of doors, a fond smile graced his features while he gazed at the collection of knives and other tools hanging from their specially made hooks. Picking up an old-fashioned leather strap, he took each knife out in turn, taking his time in polishing their sharpened points until they gleamed in the wavering light cast from the oil lamp hanging overhead.