Ch. 13

Speeding past the large sign that announced in bold green letters: "Welcome to Virginia Beach", Temperance Brennan could barley contain her excitement. She knew she was driving too fast, but she couldn't bring herself to slow down and go the limit. She hoped she didn't get pulled over, as her situation might be slightly tricky to explain, considering she was technically in a stolen FBI vehicle. Her head was still pounding, but she had come this far, and she sure as hell wasn't going to stop now. She felt slightly guilty for not checking in with Angela, not to mention Booth, but she would do that as soon as she got some answers.

Glancing down at the file on the seat beside her, she leaned to the side and plucked out the directions to the apartment building where the person that may or may not be her father was living. "Hmm. Left on 89th Ave…" she mumbled to herself, trying to read and drive.

Maneuvering down a busy, commercial area, dotted with coffee shops, junk shops that targeted tourists, and fast food joints, she scanned the street signs for "Carriage Lane", where her turn was to the "Carriage Oaks Apartments". She knew she was getting her hopes up, but it was hard not to, not after all that had happened. She hoped it wasn't a false lead.

Lost in thought, she almost missed her turn, causing the person behind her to narrowly miss her rear bumper. Ignoring the blare of the other driver's horn, she turned without signaling, and immediately spotted the apartment building she was looking for. It was a small, run down 3 level building, with roughly 12 apartments. White discolored stucco garnished the front of the building, with dark colored wood around the window trim. Crooked mini blinds, sheets and cardboard covered the windows on the front of the building.

Pulling into the lot, she noticed most of the cars were old, rusty, and didn't appear to be in good working order. She spied one lone motorcycle in the front row of the lot. Several of the vehicles had broken windows, and she could see past stains of oil and antifreeze dotted all over the broken asphalt of the lot. Fast food wrappers littered the area, and the grass appeared to be mostly dead, a few weeds here and there.

Parking the large SUV in the back of the parking area, she got out and pocketed the keys. Hesitating a moment, she stared at the front of the building, where she could see a taller, older man just emerging from within the dim corridor. The numbers above the doorway were falling, and one was missing altogether.

Her heart caught in her throat, for it was her father, she knew it instantly. It was like he didn't age at all. He looked almost the same, his hair thinner with more grey, but that was the only change she could make out. Her heart was slamming in her chest, her mouth dry, the world seemed to stop.

Without even thinking, she started running towards him, tears streamed down her face from the corner of both eyes, "Dad!" she called out to him as she ran, nearly tripping over a deep crack in the pavement. Catching herself, she slowed and stopped, she heard some loud roar coming from behind her. Frowning, she looked at her father, then over her shoulder.

Matthew Brennan stopped abruptly, and his mouth hung open. His eyes seemed to shift to something in the lot behind her. He held up one hand, panic in his eyes

"Temperance..honey WAIT" he called frantically, taking one step forward.

He had spotted the man from the crew, sitting in a car in the lot, holding a gun with a silencer fitted on the end of it - it poked out from the broken passenger window of a 2 tone blue rusty 1981 Ford Fairmont. He knew he'd never make it in time to stop him. It was like he was frozen in time, watching in horror. He heard a loud roar coming from the entrance to the lot, glancing up; he saw what caused the noise. He saw the man in the car turn to look also.

A blue streak of a car shot across the lot directly between where she and her father stood, tires of the car squealing on the turn, engine roaring, sun glinting off the chrome of the wheels and bumper. It was an older sports car, but Temperance wasn't sure what kind. Her eye refocused on the driver, and was stunned to see Booth pointing a gun, and staring at something directly behind and to the left of her.

Her Father had called out to her telling to wait, she looked over her shoulder at what they were both looking at, and watched in horror as Booth shot and killed a man in an old beat up car. The gun shot was loud, nearly as loud as the car he was driving. It had all happened in a matter of minutes, yet it seemed like eternity since she got out of his SUV.

"Booth….what are you doing here? Who was that you shot?" she stammered, glancing at him, and back at the car behind her that had the now shattered windshield

"Bones, go talk to your Dad, I will wait here" he said, his eyes boring into her own, his expression unreadable.

Without another word, she walked around the long blue car, and towards her father, who seemed to be rooted in place, staring at her as if she weren't quite real.

"Temperance?" he whispered, almost more to himself than to her

"Dad, I can't believe its you, I've been looking for you, we both have, and—"

Matthew Brennan cut her off, his eyes small, brows drawn down in an angry frown.

"Temperance, I told you, I…we….its not safe. You need to leave…you need to leave right now. They will come after you, they will hurt you to get to me" he said in a rush, gesturing wildly around him, as if the entire building was surrounded by a swat team of bad guys.

"Dad, my friend works for the FBI, it will be okay now, you can-"

Cutting her off again "No. It's not okay. Not until they are all dead or in jail, they are still out there. Until I know they are gone, honey, please" he said, glancing around frantically "You have to go; you have to go home now, go so I know you will be safe. I can't loose you the way I lost your Mom"

Standing there, inches from her father, tears flowing freely down her face, she didn't know what to say. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. His eyes pleading with hers, pleading to understand his pain, his fear.

"Daddy, I…" she started, and turned to look back at Booth. He had gotten out of the car, and was leaning up against the passenger door, arms crossed. He'd heard and witnessed the entire exchange. His face was concerned, he said nothing

"Go now honey. Go now" her father urged, "I am going to go, don't look for me again, I promise, I will come back for you when it IS safe" he embraced her quickly, stroking her hair, he gave her a small, sad smile, and he got onto the one motorcycle in the lot, a Norton Commando, and in seconds he was gone.

Booth couldn't believe he'd made it in time. He saw the barrel of the gun in the other car, and the silencer attached, he'd managed to squeeze off a shot and hit the target seconds before the man was going to shoot her. Bones probably didn't even know she was about to be killed either. Her father did though. He saw her father's eyes, he knew. Now he was gone again. This time it seemed wise to heed his advise. He took a step forward to where she stood, watching her father disappear again down the road.

"Bones…." He began, placing a hand on her shoulder

She turned, and without saying a word, flung herself into his arms. Crying as if her heart were breaking, sobbing into his shoulder. Her shoulders shook at the force of her sobs. He slipped his arms around her waist, and pulled her close to him.

"Shhhh, its gonna be okay, shhh" he said into her hair

"He's gone again Booth, gone" she hiccoughed, pulling back, looking into his eyes

Her eyes were bright blue, and tearstains trailed down her cheeks.

"I can't go after him again, not now, not after what he said, I have to listen, but I don't want to Booth, I want answers now!" she said to him, her voice breaking, she pulled away from him, and turned to stare at the old run down building.

"I know, Bones, I know" he replied, watching her, not knowing what to say

"Bones, I gotta call the local police on this, and file a report with work too about what just happened here" he told her

She nodded, not looking at him, turning as she wiped the tears from her face; she sniffed and straightened up "I know you do Booth. And, thank you for not getting too upset with me taking your car, but when I woke up, I found those files, and I guess I wanted answers now. I know I should have waited…" she trailed off, her gaze skipping away.

"How's the bump on the head?" he asked lightly, trying to gracefully move to other topics

"Hurts like hell. Think I want to go home and rest for a few days. Can I borrow your cell phone on the way back to call Angela and Russ?" she asked

"Sure, no problem, you uh, want some company? Because I have a few days off, I didn't do such a hot job taking care of you that last time, I could make it up to you?" he asked hopefully, watching her reaction for a possible rejection. He wanted to watch her sleep, to wake up with her again, this time with perhaps a nicer outcome.

She glanced down; a small smile playing on her lips "Yeah, I'd like that"

"Booth?" she asked him suddenly – a strange tone in her voice

"Yeah Bones?" he answered

"Can I drive?"

With a smile, he tossed her the keys to the Vette; she tossed him the keys to the SUV.

The light in her eyes as she caught the keys was beautiful.

The End

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