Disclaimer: If I owned them I'd be writing scripts and not fanfics.
The Last Time She Got Away
Ch. 1 – Assignments
Captain Jamie Sommers' eyes combed the ground all around him and he was only peripherally aware of his partner, Captain Luke Granger. The pair had been sent out after they're troop's translator had passed on a report that a local had found something on the mountain that had scared him enough that he had refused to specify exactly what it was. The Major had sent Jamie and Luke out to investigate but had told them to not waste more than half a day on this particular wild goose chase. Luke glanced at his watch and noted that they should head back down to their jeep soon. While they had spent nearly three hours scouring the mountain as they climbed it would only take them about an hour and a half to get back down and then another hour's drive back to the camp. If they didn't encounter any goats.
Luke scanned the slope above them, looking for signs of anything that would appear unusual to a local. They'd encountered a few hikers near the base of the mountain but all signs of human life had disappeared the higher up they got. The air was still warm, but the wind had a cold edge to it, a reminder that autumn was just around the corner.
Jamie looked up for a moment to take in the harsh beauty of his surroundings. The mountain continued to rise up above him, the top immersed in a low-hanging cloud. A few wildflowers that lined what he would generously call a path were giving their last hurrah before the coming fall. Distracted by his surroundings as he continued walking, he stumbled over an uneven piece of ground and caught himself on a low-hanging branch of a nearby tree. His helmet connected lightly with the wood emitting a soft thunk that caused Luke to turn around.
"You ok?" Luke asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just tripped over something," Jamie replied, standing upright again.
He turned to face the ground he had just covered and frowned when he spotted what looked like an oblong white stone sticking up out of the dark earth. Luke had spotted it as well because they both headed straight for it. Crouching down, Jamie pulled out a glove and used it to brush away the damp earth that had been loosened by the rains of the past two weeks. As he ran the glove over the hard, white, substance buried under the earth, it connected with something else that jingled in the familiar sound of metal connecting with metal. Putting down his glove, Jamie searched for the source of the sound. Luke's eyes picked up the metallic sheen first and he reached out without thinking to remove the dirt from the object with his fingers. As he wiped away the last of the dirt, he realized what the object was and his eyes widened. Looking up, his gaze connected with Jamie's and he knew they were both thinking the same thing. This was seven different kinds of bad.
Brennan was making an internal list of what she'd need to pack when a familiar voice called out to her.
"Sweetie, where have you been? I was looking for you. If you went out for coffee and didn't get me a muffin I'm going to be very upset."
"I didn't go for coffee. I had a meeting."
Angela followed Brennan into her office and watched the forensic anthropologist as she began pulling files off of various surfaces and stacking them, her actions hurried and a little flustered. Angela's antenna immediately went up.
"You had a meeting? That wasn't on your schedule before was it?"
"No, Angela, and for the last time, stop snooping in my calendar. You're never going to find anything of interest there."
"You're right about that one. And can I say that you should seriously reconsider attending that lecture on metric and comparative analysis of sexual dimorphism in the Thai femur. You're time would be much better spent with normal people. Especially on a Friday night."
"If it will make you feel better, I probably won't be going to that lecture after all."
"Really? Why? Because of this mysterious meeting?"
"Yes," Brennan said distractedly. "I should call Russ before I go and let him know I'll be gone for a while."
"You're going away?" Angela asked.
"Yes. Have you seen the plug adaptor for my laptop?" Brennan replied, crouching down behind her desk to pull open the bottom drawer.
"I may have left it in my hotel room when I was in London this summer," Angela answered, craning her neck in an attempt to maintain eye contact with her best friend. "You're trip is to Europe then?"
"I don't remember lending you my adaptor," Brennan said, her head popping back up above her desk, her left eyebrow shooting up in a questioning manner.
"I may have forgot to ask you," Angela said with a sly grin.
Brennan attempted to hide a smile at her friend's audacity and failed.
"Oh well, I shouldn't bother bringing it anyway. Electricity is rather unreliable there."
"Where exactly are you going?" Angela asked, her brow now creasing slightly in worry. Something more than Brennan's intense focus was at work here.
Brennan didn't answer the question and instead attempted to rush past Angela, headed towards her file cabinet but was impeded when her friend's hand snaked out and closed tightly around her wrist. Brennan looked at the dark-haired woman in surprise and then smiled as she was tugged towards her couch and forced to sit down.
"Bren, sweetie, you are starting to freak me out here. Where are you going?"
"I'm going to a U.N. camp near a small village in Kosovo," Brennan said quietly, her eyes more on the door than on the woman next to her. She knew Booth had a tendency to pop up unexpectedly and hear things that weren't meant for his ears and she definitely didn't want him to hear this.
"Oh," Angela said in a meaningful tone, "now I get why you're freaked. Booth is going to flip out when he hears about this."
"I am not freaked and Booth will not flip because he isn't going to hear about this."
"Bren, how on earth are you going to keep Booth from hearing about it? He finds out everything. He's the FBI."
"He's not going to find out this. Not from you, not from me, not from anyone."
Angela shot her friend an incredulous look, "Ok, fine, I'm not going to tell him but not everyone here is as discreet as I am. You should know by now that if Booth were to lean on them even slightly the lab boys would squeal loud enough for you to hear it if you were in Tibet."
"I'm not telling them. I am, in fact, under orders to reveal where I'm going to as few individuals as possible so you know, Dr. Goodman knows, and Russ will know once I call him. Dr. Goodman has already promised not to reveal anything to Booth."
"Dr. Goodman, Russ, and I," Angela listed, ticking off her fingers. "You aren't telling David?"
"He's in Chicago for three weeks for a conference. I'll just tell him I'm going out of town for a while."
Angela raised her eyebrows in answer to this response and resisted the urge to comment on the lack of trust in Brennan's relationship with her boyfriend. If it hadn't of been for the location of her friend's latest trip she knew she would have told Booth.
"Ok, sweetie, that's your own business but I'd have a contingency plan in case Booth finds out. And it really shouldn't involve me lying in front of his SUV because it's only a 50-50 chance that he won't run me over. The man is seriously motivated when it comes to you and potential danger. Speaking of which, why shouldn't I be hysterically worried that you're going alone," Angela paused to crane her head around and check the door and then continued in a low tone, "to Kosovo?"
"Because I'm staying in a military compound and I'll have military escorts everywhere I go. American military escorts," Brennan added.
A familiar mischievous glint returned to Angela's eyes, "You want to take me with you? I'd love to be followed around by G.I. Joe everywhere I go."
Brennan smiled at her friend and impulsively hugged her. Angela returned the hug with a tight squeeze and then pulled back.
"So what requires your attention in Kosovo?"
"A pair of captains found some human skeletal remains in the mountains there. Attached to the remains they found were some dog tags that appeared to be American. Based on the photographs I've seen so far I'd say the remains have been there six or seven years."
"They date back to the war," Angela said, understanding suddenly flooding through her. Booth had reacted so emotionally to the Devon Marshall case and she could just imagine his response to this case.
"How long are you going to be there?"
"No longer than a week. I just need to retrieve the remains and render an ID. The U.N. police force there will handle the investigation and I don't foresee being required for that."
Angela nodded and then cocked her head.
"So what are you going to tell Booth?" Ange asked with an eyebrow raised.
"That I'm going on vacation."
"Ok, Bren, do you remember what happened on your vacation to New Orleans? Booth didn't have a problem crashing your solo trip that time around. What makes you so sure that he won't this time?"
"Because I'll tell him that my vacation involves a large conference in Vienna where I'll be attending lectures on such things as metric and comparative analysis of sexual dimorphism in the Thai femur."
"I have a layover there before I fly to Pristina. If Booth so desires, I can even show him the ticket."
"Well, you know what you're playing with," Angela said with a shrug and getting up.
"What is she playing with?" a familiar male voice asked from the doorway.
Brennan stood and smiled at Booth who was leaning against the doorframe of her office and shooting her his charm smile.
"She's playing with bones as always," Angela shot in and then headed for the doorway. "I'll see you later, Bren."
Brennan nodded at her friend and then turned back to the man who had now come further into her office and flopped down in her desk chair.
"Make yourself comfortable," she offered wryly.
"Thanks, Bones, I will," he replied, a cheeky grin crossing his face.
"What do you want Booth? If you need my help on a case I won't be able to help," Brennan said as she strode over to her desk and leaned against it, her leg almost touching Booth's.
"No, I was just dropping by to ask you to look over some evidence on a case to see if there was anything the forensics team missed," Booth said, internally making a face at his lame excuse. The truth was he hadn't seen the forensic anthropologist in the past few days and he'd missed her.
"The FBI forensics unit is very good, Booth. I highly doubt they missed anything," Brennan said but took the file he was holding out to her.
"How come you wouldn't be able to help me on a case?" Booth asked curiously.
"I'm going on a short trip."
"A vacation, Bones? Do you remember your last vacation? How about you spare me a solo flight and just invite me to go with you?" Booth said, waggling his eyebrows in a way that made her chuckle but she perceived the real concern in his eyes.
"It's not a vacation exactly. I'm going to attend an anthropological conference in Vienna and then take in some of the sights. I'll only be gone about a week."
"A week in Vienna. Sounds nice. Sure you don't want to bring me?" Booth asked, his tone still teasing and the same look in his eyes.
"No, I don't. And you wouldn't enjoy all those lectures anyway."
"Are you taking anyone with you?" Booth asked with what he hoped was disinterest.
"No, I'm going alone."
"Booth, don't worry, I'm not you. When I'm away on vacation alone, I never think about not coming back."
"Glad to hear it," Booth said, the anxiousness gone from his eyes. "It's probably for the best anyway. I wouldn't have a case to work with you even if you were here. I'm giving testimonies at three trials this week. Amazing how all of the cases managed to come up at the same time too."
"Oh well, a little break every now and then can be good for you," Brennan said, handing back the folder. "I don't see anything amiss but I'd suggest a more thorough check into the household staff's backgrounds. Whoever did this research did it in a half…" she paused trying to think of the phrase Angela used.
"Half-assed?" Booth offered, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Yes, half-assed manner."
"I'll keep that in mind. So when do you leave?"
"Wow, short notice."
"Yes, well, I wasn't sure I'd be able to go until today," Brennan said awkwardly, turning away from her partner in the hopes that he wouldn't see through her lie.
"Do you need a ride to the airport?" Booth offered, inwardly hoping she'd say yes and offer him one last opportunity to see her before she disappeared for an entire week.
"No, although it's kind of you to offer. Angela's going to take me. But I do have a favor to ask."
"Anything for you, Bones."
"An intriguing proposition," Brennan said with a raised eyebrow, completely missing her own double entendre to Booth's delight, "but all I was going to ask was that you stop by my apartment on Wednesday and water my plants. You still have a key, right?"
"Yeah, I do," Booth said, inwardly puffing up that Brennan trusted him enough to entrust him with a spare key to her apartment. "I can water your plants, bring in mail, whatever you need."
"Oh mail, that's a good idea," Brennan said, suddenly and then whirled away from where she'd been leaning on the side of her desk towards the door.
"Umm, Bones, where are you going?" Booth asked, his feet off of her desk in a heartbeat and planted firmly on the ground in preparation to go after her at a moment's notice.
"I need to go do something. I'll see you next week, Booth."
"What, no kiss goodbye?" Booth asked, his charm smile planted firmly on his face.
Brennan returned the smile, unable to resist him and she tossed a cheeky reply over her shoulder as she strode off down the corridor, "Booth, isn't that supposed to be the woman's line?"
Booth leaned back in Brennan's chair. She was one hell of a woman.
Angela stood and watched Brennan as she checked in for her flight at the American Airlines counter at the JFK airport. The drive to New York City had excited Angela and she'd planned to take the next two days off from work to spend some time shopping and hit a few art galleries. She also had a few friends in SoHo who were anxious to see her. Brennan handed her luggage over to the attendant at the desk and then strode back to her friend, ticket, boarding pass, and passport in hand.
"Well," Angela began and felt her eyes suddenly fill with tears for reasons that eluded her.
"Aw, Ange, don't cry. I'll be fine. I'll be back before you're ready for me," Brennan said, a teasing smile crossing her face.
Angela sniffed and the moisture disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared, "I know. I'm still not wild about this whole lying to Booth thing though. Especially when it involves me running interference. He can practically smell when I'm lying."
"Well, he won't sniff this one out. He wasn't even the slightest bit suspicious when I told him yesterday."
"If you say so. Did you come up with a contingency plan like I told you?"
"Oh yes," Brennan said, reaching into her pocket and fishing out a square, plain, white envelope with her partner's name scrawled across the front in her distinctive handwriting, "I almost forgot to give you this."
"A letter? You're contingency plan is a letter? I was hoping for at least an anvil."
Brennan laughed, "Ange, he won't find out, I'll be fine, and I'll see you next week."
"You're flying into Dulles?" Angela asked.
"Yes. I'll call you. And if there's a sudden emergency I do have my satellite phone with me. You remember the number?"
"I've got it written down. Guess we're down to the goodbyes now," Angela said, reaching out and enveloping her friend in a tight hug.
"Be careful. Listen to the G.I. Joes and stay out of trouble," she said gently in her friend's ear.
"Be good. Keep my lab in one piece and make sure Booth doesn't jump on any airplanes," Brennan replied.
Pulling away from each other they smiled and then Brennan shouldered her carry-on bag and headed towards the security gates. As Angela watched the familiar auburn-haired woman disappear into the crowd beyond the barrier she felt a sudden pang in her chest and an odd sense of foreboding but she shook it away. She had shopping to do, art galleries to visit, and that cute guy she'd met a few years back had insisted they get together for drinks. Brennan would be fine. She always was.
Ok, first chapter done. What did you think? Good, bad, ugly? For any comments, suggestions or questions you know what button to push and by doing so you'll make me happy. And you should make my muse more productive.