Seeley's Sweetheart: I'm glad I didn't disappoint you after such a long wait. Hopefully, this chapter will be just as enjoyable for you.
BGWGscienceteacher: I'm sorry it was such a long wait for you, but yay, this one was only a few days! I'm sorry your day was so rotten, too. I have days like that, sometimes, and they can really suck. Anyhow, yeah, Epps has the potential to wreak all kinds of havoc on this family's life. Wonder what's gonna happen!
Horsesmrt: Glad you like it so much. Angst can be a good thing, as long as there's happiness at the end to make it all worth it.
Dknckelly: I'm glad you're enjoying the story so much. I'm sorry I made you scared to read the next chapter when you found out that one of the burn victims was Amy, though. And I love "Steel Magnolias", too. In fact, that line you gave me, "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion", is my signature in my e-mails. And I'm glad that you appreciate that I'm trying to combine this story with the events of the show.
Spuffyshipper: Thanks for the idea for the baby...I hadn't really planned where I was going to take it.
Mbird: I'm glad you found it funny. I'm a Baptist (although my family is very Catholic: they're half Irish, half Italian. And my stepdad is 100 percent Polish), and I was a little afraid of offending Catholics with that comment, but it so seems like something that Brennan would say, doesn't it?
DanaWhitaker: Yikes, OK, I surrender; here's your update! Seriously, though, thanks for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed the story so much, and that you think I write Temperance well. I'm always asking myself if a line I give her is something she would really say, and I'm glad someone recognizes that.
Tchrbunny: I'm glad you love my story. And thanks for the vote, too.
HawkAngel XD: Glad you're loving the story as much as I'm loving writing it.
Mumrulz: That's a good point. I do like to keep the story as close to the show as possible, and I'm glad that you recognize that those are my intentions. Brennan strikes me as the type of person that, when she decides to do something, she does it immediately and deals with the consequences, and I wanted to show that in the last chapter, so I had them visit with Father McCullum immediately. I'm glad you appreciated that. And yes, amen to the backside comment and LOL at your comment about more single-family homes as a result of such morning interruptions. Really, I'd say it was pretty amazing that they had gotten pregnant with three small children in the house, but Angela was watching the kids the night the baby was created, so that's a null-and-void thought. Anyhow, onward to the story!
Katie Lupin: Disbelief. That's an emotion I haven't come across in my reviews yet. Huh, well you can believe it, because here's my second update in less than a week! Yay! I haven't decided what Epps is gonna do (I guess you and I will both find out as this chapter progresses, huh?); I want to keep his actions as close to the show as possible, but there was only Parker in the show, and no Katie or Hayley, so that might change events a little. But he won't harm them, whatever happens. I'm sure of it. Almost. I think.
Miss Scully: Thanks for the review, and for the vote! I love that so many people enjoy this story! Yay!
Dawnsfire: I didn't mean to offend you with the events of last chapter. Just wanted to say that straight away, and to explain where I was coming from. I have family members in the Catholic faith (I'm a Baptist myself, so was only marginally familiar with some of the more well-known doctrines). I know that the Church frowns on inter-faith marriages (I know of a few people that have had to go to those pre-marriage classes, and for the non-Catholic parties to become Catholic), but wasn't entirely sure of the processes behind it. They brought me so much literature about the Catholic marriage laws, and the canon of the Catholic Church that I was reading for three days! The events of the last chapter was what I gleaned from those pamphlets and books. So the story isn't from the perspective of an orthodox Catholic, but rather a Catholic descendent looking back. Anyhow, back to your review, Temperance does begin a tentative relationship with them in season three (although this story was actually begun during season 2), but it's nice to know that my idea was sort of reinforced by the events of the show. And she would research the heck out of the subject, that's true...although, after "Baby in the Bough", we know she's got the potential to make a great mother.
Virpukka: I'm glad you enjoy the story so much that you can read it over and over and you don't get tired of it. And I'll agree, there are some very funny parts in it. I may just have to check out Olesammie's story...I don't think I've read it yet.
Moosemer11: We'll see where the story takes us, I guess. I've gotten good arguments for both sides, so we'll let the story decide where it wants to go.
Readergirl828: Thanks for the vote! Although I haven't decided yet what's gonna happen with the Hodgela dynamic, and it's a few chapters down the line anyhow, I'll still keep everyone's opinions in mind when I do write it.
Tamari: Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Temperance does handle it casually, outwardly, but I think she's like that. She's not one to really let her emotions show very often, and while she may have been struggling with this decision for days, once she makes up her mind, she sticks to it. Like in "Baby in the Bough", when she had been trying to figure out all episode what to do with her extra money. At the end of the show it's revealed that she's decided to rebuild the bridge that had taken away the life-blood of that town when it hadn't been repaired by the government. And, I agree, she does like to take on an awful lot of obstacles...I think for her, it's a challenge to get past them, because she's so intelligent, it's like a puzzle.
A/N: I just want to say that I meant absolutely no disrespect to Catholics for my last chapter. While I am not Catholic myself (I'm a Baptist), I was born into a highly Catholic family on one side and a devoutly Mormon one on the other (plus, my stepfather's family is Catholic, as well), so I have complete respect for people's personal beliefs. What was written last chapter was only put in after much personal debate about what Temperance would have said given the situation and was not in any way meant as an attack.
Also, I appreciate that so many of you recognize that I am trying to make this story as close to canon as possible by adding different bits from the show. It can be hard sometimes, because adding too much of the show, and the story is no longer fanfiction, it's plagiarism. That being said, this chapter has a lot of the episode "The Man in the Cell" in it, for obvious reasons. Whatever scenes I am using here from the episode, however, I am only using because I've put some changes in them, due to the differences between the story and the show (ie, three children for Epps to grab, rather than just Parker). Basically, this is just a retelling of that episode, sort of a "what-if" scenario. Hey, some things are just too good to be changed!
As for the poll question, there were quite a few responses. Six of you have pleaded that I leave Angela's first husband out of the story, and three of you have said that he should be written in. I'm kinda on the fence, myself. I love the whole Hodgins/Angela dynamic in the show, and I really feel bad for them that they're going through this, and kinda want to leave it out of the story. On the other hand, it was in the show for a reason, and I do like to keep my story as close to canon as possible, and the first marriage thing does create a lot of suspense for someone other than Brennan, for a change.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"You look short," Zack commented to Hodgins while they were looking at a newspaper article of the Squint Squad with Angela.
"He is short, Zack," Angela reached for the paper, skimming the article. "Did you really call me the heart of the operation?" she inquired of her fiancé.
"Yeah," he admitted. "That was before you called me short!" He snatched the paper from her hands and pouted.
"Hey, Zack called you short," she pointed out. "I think you're just the right size."
He leered at her. "Really?"
She nodded. "Yup. Short men have better leverage," she grinned seductively.
Chuckling, he replied, "Better tell that to Booth and Brennan," causing her to laugh aloud.
"Did I miss something?" Zack wondered.
"Never mind, Zack!" Hodgins scowled, as Angela erupted into giggles again and Cam came up to the platform, reminding her team that they had a serial killer on the loose and that they needed to catch him before another, less kind, story was printed about them. She turned her attention to Angela and asked where Brennan was.
"She and Booth are interviewing Epps' wife," the artist replied, scrunching her face up in distaste.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Angela and Brennan were in the Anthropologist's office, and Angela was telling Temperance how horrible Epps was, as if Temperance needed any reminders of the fact.
"I have some sick days coming," Angela mentioned. "And I was thinking, that since Epps makes me sick..." She didn't get to finish the thought.
"We need you, Ange," Temperance interrupted her friend. "Hodgins certainly does."
Angela glared at her. "That was low," she intoned.
"I know," Temperance admitted wryly. "Did it work?"
Angela smiled wanly, then turned serious again. "How do you do it?" she asked. "How do you, you know, deal with the fear?"
Brennan thought about the question for a moment, then replied, "I have Seeley, of course. I know he'd never let anything happen to me." She reached into her desk drawer and pulled out a .45 caliber revolver. "And I have this."
At that moment, Booth walked in and stared at the handgun in his fiancée's hand incredulously. "Where the hell did you get that?" he demanded.
"The Mall," she admitted.
"The Mall?" he repeated.
"Yeah, it's pretty big, right? Bigger than the one you have," she pointed out.
He took an alternate meaning to her words and defended himself. "Excuse me, it's not the size that matters; it's how you use it."
She grinned privately at him. "Well, I think size is pretty important."
"If you're gonna have one," Angela interjected. "Bigger is always better."
"You're not helping the situation, Angela," Booth warned.
"Yeah, right, this does sound like a private conversation," the artist winked, leaving the office.
"Yeah, private!" Seeley announced, shutting the door after her and turning his attention to Temperance. "Honey, I don't like you carrying a gun," he admitted.
She regarded him for a moment, then finally nodded. "I'll be careful," she promised, causing him to relax visibly.
"That's all I ask," he grinned. "Size is important, huh?"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Marion Epps is clearly a bad mother," Temperance decided, after she and Seeley had interviewed the woman.
Booth snorted. "Uh, ya think?" he demanded. "All you need to do is compare her to you and you know she's a horrible mother, because you're a great one." he pointed out, causing the anthropologist to smile.
"But lots of people have bad mothers," she went back to her comment, "and they don't grow up to be serial killers. Which is why I don't put much stock in Psychology."
"Listen, Bones," Booth demanded. "I don't care how you explain it, the guy is an animal: he has no conscience."
"How do you classify morals?" she retorted.
"You take the method. You got a guy, kills someone in the heat of the moment, but feels remorse afterward. That guy obviously has some regard for human life. The key word there, Bones, is human," he explained.
"How can you of all people say that?" she replied.
"What are you talking about?"
"You killed people," she mentioned. "You were basically a gun-for-hire for the army...it didn't matter who the victim was."
"No, see, that's something different," he defended. "What I did, I did for my country, to keep more people from being hurt."
"But, Seeley, don't you get it? You're classifying yourself with Epps. You're putting a reason behind it, but there are no emotions, no remorse for doing it because it was an order."
"Don't go there, Bones," he threatened. "I love you, but you just crossed a line."
She flopped back in her seat, then noticed a car behind them in her side mirror. "Booth, we're being followed," she pointed out, twisting to look behind them.
"That's right," he smirked. "Two agents at all times, following at a very discreet distance. See, Bones, I don't care how big your gun is."
"Don't worry, Seeley," she grinned slyly. "You've got the largest one I've ever seen."
He leered at her, then slapped the steering wheel. "Oh, shit, Bones, the kids!" he shouted. "We forgot to pick up the kids after school."
"You might have forgotten, but didn't you just mention that I was a great mother?" she replied.
He relaxed. "OK, Mother-of-the-year, where are they?"
"I called up Parker's old nanny, Rose Ortiz, and asked if she wanted her job back, offering her double what she was making before, and a live-in position. She can have the guest room until we have a chance to build onto the house. She picked the kids up and will stay with them until we get home."
"You think of everything, do you know that?" he chuckled, pulling his phone out as it rang, to answer it. "Booth," he spouted.
"Booth, it's Cam," came the voice on the other end of the line. "It was in her ear. Epps made a small incision in Caroline's ear canal and inserted a token for a children's amusement park. It has 'Hillside Park' engraved on it."
Booth blanched. "My son used to play there every day after school," he droned, dropping the phone, flipping on his lights, and swinging the car around to head in the opposite direction.
Once they got to the park, Seeley and Temperance jumped out of the SUV, calling for the kids. Seeley noticed the nanny and ran over.
"Rose!" he called. "Where are the kids?"
"They're on the merry-go-round," she replied. "They were just there!"
"Katie!" he shouted, stepping up onto the carousel with Bones. "Hayley!"
"Parker!" Brennan finished. "Katie!" She saw them in line at an ice cream vendor, and pointed them out to Booth, who ran over and pulled the three kids out of line.
"What are you doing?" he demanded.
"A man bought us ice cream," Katie replied timidly, holding up her cone. Seeley knocked the ice cream cones out of their hands.
"Hey, that was my favorite!" Parker complained.
"I'll buy you guys each another one, OK, Parker? Now what did the man say to you?"
"Nothing, he was just nice," Hayley insisted.
"Listen to me, kids, this man is trying to hurt Mommy and Daddy's friends. Now think, you guys, what did the man say?"
"He said to use our napkins," Katie replied, frightened by the look in Seeley's eyes.
Temperance picked the napkins up where Booth had thrown them on the ground, and read the clues on each.
"Katie is like music to my ears."
"The sun rises and sets on Hayley."
"My name is Parker. Ask me how I can solve this case."
Booth listened, growing more angry and more terrified with every word. "Don't you ever talk to strangers, do you guys hear me?" he demanded, shaking a scared Parker slightly.
"I didn't do anything wrong!" the four-year-old wailed.
Booth was about to lecture the kids again, but Temperance laid a hand on his shoulder, snapping him out of his angry haze and making him realize what he was doing to the kids. Mortified, he pulled all three into his arms, hugging them tight. "It's OK, Bub. Sh-sh-sh, Daddy's sorry, Buddy."
"Is something wrong, Mr. Booth?" Rose inquired.
"No, Rose, it's just that these agents will take you and the kids home, and keep you safe," Booth replied, relaxing his grip on the children. He bought three more ice cream cones and he and Temperance saw the kids off with the other two agents, before heading back to Booth's SUV.
Once they were on the road again, he called Cam. "Have you opened the head yet?" he demanded.
"I just got done telling Zack that-" she began, but Booth cut her off.
"Listen, he came after Katie, Hayley, and Parker," he explained.
"Oh, no. Are they OK?"
"You know there's something there, Cam - he told us - it's something we need, and he wants us to find it," he insisted, ignoring her question.
"You're upset," she concluded.
"Of course I'm upset!" he replied sharply. "Listen, I know there are protocols, but for crying out loud, Cam: he could have killed my kids!" He snapped the phone shut and threw it in the cup holder.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"How is she, Doc?" Seeley asked, once he and Temperance had gotten to the hospital to check on Cam after hearing that a poison had burst out of Caroline's head during the autopsy.
"She has an edema," the doctor stated. Seeley turned confused eyes on Temperance.
"A fluid build-up," she clarified. "Essentially, she's drowning. I'm sorry, Seeley."
"Does she have family that can be sent for?"
Booth nodded, mumbling about the amount of family Cam has, before walking off to first call Cam's boyfriend Andrew before informing her family. He loved Temperance, but had known Cam a long time and was finding the present situation harder to deal with than he would have thought.
"How long does she have?" Temperance asked the doctor, once Booth had left hearing range.
"Send for her family," the woman replied soberly.
Brennan sighed before moving off to search for her partner. She finally found him at the window in front of Cam's room, watching the medical personnel work over her.
"Considering the past between you and Dr. Saroyan," she began, coming up behind him and placing her cheek on his shoulder, "I'd like to say the right thing, Booth, but I don't know what it is. Usually I'd ask you or Angela."
He sighed, twisting to pull her into his arms and pressing kisses into her hair. "You just said it. Thanks."
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"What's the poison, Hodgins?" Booth asked later, coming into the lab.
"I don't know what it is...there isn't enough left to determine its identity," the entomologist replied, frazzled.
"What do you know?" the agent demanded.
"It's not any of the common poisons: cyanide, strychnine, or arsenic."
"Well then, call the hospital and tell them what it isn't," Booth instructed, heading out the door.
"Booth," Hodgins called him back. "I'm sorry, man." Seeley nodded.
"We just need to catch this guy and get the gerbil back in his cage," he stated, leaving again.
"Booth!" This time the call came from Zack. Booth stalked back, visibly angry.
"What?" he demanded.
"We have endowed Epps with more intelligence than he has," Zack informed him.
"What are you talking about?" Booth demanded.
"His clues are unsophisticated word games," he explained. "'Katie is like music to my ears.' 'The sun rises and sets on Hayley.' 'My name is Parker. Ask me how I can solve this case.'"
"I already asked Parker; he doesn't know anything."
Zack shook his head. "It doesn't necessarily have to mean your son Parker; it can be anything with the name of Parker. And I think I've heard of a street in Virginia where you can see an unobstructed view of the sunrise on the east end of it, and an equally unobstructed view of the sunset on the west end of it. You should do a Boolean search."
"A what?" Booth demanded.
"Boolean is..." At Booth's look, he amended himself. "Right, I won't explain it; I'll just do it."
"I'm leaving now," Booth stated. "The next person that calls me back is getting shot." He walked out the door, and Zack looked up from his computer, wimpering.
"What?" Hodgins inquired.
"I really need him to come back," the anthropologist informed his friend.
Hodgins rolled his eyes. "Booth!" he shouted, then turned to Zack. "Whatever you've got, better be worth dying for." Booth came back into the room, hand on his gun, glaring at Hodgins, who immediately pointed at Zack.
"There's a Katie's Music Shoppe owned by the Parker Sisters on Hayley Street in the town of Parker, just outside of Arlington," he spouted out. "Is that a big enough coincidence?"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"The explosion occurred and FBI Special Agents have searched the premises of the music store for escaped serial killer Howard Epps. At least one person was killed in the blast: Dr. Zack Addy, a Forensic Anthropologist who was working with the FBI, died at the scene. Special Agent Seeley Booth remains in critical condition."
"That was creepy," Booth remarked, shutting off the television. They had gone to the music store and found Caroline's body in the back room, with a bag of the poison laying on top of it. The poison was a pressure-trigger for a bomb, which had exploded on Zack and Booth. Luckily, Seeley had enough foresight to place a table as a barrier between them and the body, and to pull Zack away from the blast and slam him on the ground behind the table.
"Why?" Zack demanded. "It's not true."
"Let's just hope that Epps buys it," Temperance responded soberly. "I should call the kids, see how they're doing."
"No need to call the kids, Honey," Booth stated. "You should go home and get some sleep, so you'll see them shortly."
"But the kids aren't at my apartment," she mentioned. When his head snapped up at that, she explained. "When you told the Rose and the kids that you were sending them home with the agents this afternoon, I handed Agent Burns the address for the new house, and the key to get in. I figured, since it's not common knowledge that we've bought a house yet, that the kids would be safer there than the apartment."
"That was a wise decision, Bones," Booth conceded. "Because now you can go back to the apartment and get some sleep without three kids and a nanny running around."
"What about Epps?" she inquired.
"I've got security all around your building," he explained. "They will see Epps if he enters it."
"No, I mean, if you were really in critical condition in the hospital, it would look a little strange for me to be heading to bed at the apartment."
Seeley thought about that for a moment, then conceded the point. "We'll send Angela with you, to make it look like she was forcing you to rest," he decided.
"Can I go home and get some sleep?" Zack wanted to know.
"Didn't you hear the news lady? You're dead!" Seeley pointed out. "Why does everyone argue with me? I'm the hero," he grumbled, walking out of Temperance's office.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"You didn't have your full strength," Temperance soothed.
Seeley had gone to visit Cam in the hospital when the poison's antidote was confirmed, and something she had said about plaster dust reminded Seeley about the apartment next door being renovated, and he had rushed back to save his fiancée. The serial killer had been there, thrown a crowbar and rushed out to the balcony, and minutes later, Epps had slipped through Booth's fingers and fallen to his death.
"Your wrist was still hurt after pulling Zack away from the explosion," she finished.
"My wrist wasn't hurt, Bones," he admitted lowly, beating himself up inside for letting another person die.
"I wish you'd have let me shoot him when I had the chance," she huffed, flopping back on the couch.
"No, you don't," he insisted, shaking his head vehemently as he stood up and stalked into the bedroom, hitting the door as he passed it.
Temperance continued to sit for a moment, finally waving away the remaining agent standing in her entryway and following Booth into the bedroom. He was laying on his side of the bed, turned away from her, both arms pillowed under his head. In the time he and Parker had been living with her, Temperance had come to know this as his sulking position. Carefully she slid onto the bed in front of him, scooting herself as close as possible against him so she wouldn't fall off the edge, and stared him in the eye.
"I think I can see now how you can classify killers," she reasoned. That got his attention. "You have a pregnant spouse, essentially, and three kids - all of whom Epps was after."
"I didn't kill Epps, Bones," Seeley stated, smiling wryly at what she was trying to do. "I thought about it, though. He let go of my hand, and I couldn't hold on to a hand that wasn't gripping mine back."
"I know," she murmured, touching his forehead with hers, as he had done for her once before. "I was there."
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Poll Question: What kinds of things would you like to see happen in the show during season four? Are there any episodes that you weren't satisfied with the ending of and would like to see a better resolution to? Any new storylines you would like to see covered? Sky's the limit here, folks.