Chapter Eight: Even The Best Fall Down Sometimes
Disclaimer: The plot's mine and I've taken the characters hostage.
A/N:- I knew exactly how this chapter was going to start and end - it was just the bits in between. I rewrote them a dozen times as I hate posting something I'm not satisfied with just for the sake of posting something. Finally my Muse and I finally came to an agreement. Thanks for all the feedback you guys have given me so far. I really appreciate it!
Brennan didn't know how she got here yet here she was walking down the corridors of the FBI building on the way to Booth's office. She got there and after a short tap on the door she walked in. But Booth wasn't the man sitting behind the desk. In fact his office didn't look like his office at all.
"Can I help you?" The young, chubby fair-haired man asked.
"Special Agent Seeley Booth. This is his office."
The man looked blank. "I've never heard of that Agent before and as to this office, this has been mine for the past seven years."
"I'm afraid madam but I'm going to have to get someone to escort you out."
Brennan woke up with a start. She was freezing and clinging to the sheets tightly. As the dream faded away, she glanced at the clock and realised she had woken up half an hour before her alarm. Sighing, she threw the covers back and headed to the shower. Today was going to be a new start for her. She and Booth were going to act professional and she was going to file away all those things she wanted to say to him until she had a chance to think them through rationally.
She first knew something was up when she walked through the glass doors and saw the rest of the team standing around on the platform but with no body on the table. Hodgins was pacing whilst Angela had her face covered with her hands. To the side stood three men in suits.
"What's going on?" She asked warily.
"Dr Temperance Brennan?" One of the men asked, turning round.
"Special Agent Thomas Lewis." he said, holding out his badge.
The Agent coughed slightly and glanced at the floor before fixing his gaze on her. "We think he's been involved in an incident."
Brennan felt her entire stomach start to churn. "What kind of incident?"
One of the other Agents handed Lewis a photo who showed it to her. "His SUV was found in a ditch last night." Brennan stared at it. There was blood covering the seat. "We're still waiting for the DNA results but we're pretty sure that it's his blood since he's MIA and the CCTV has him leaving the building in that car last night."
"That's a lot of blood." Brennan said weakly. She couldn't stop staring at the photo. Booth. She felt Angela come and stand by her and put her arm around her.
"If this is a car accident then why isn't he in a hospital?"
Lewis looked at her awkwardly. "This was no accident. Forensics say that the car was deliberately pushed off the road by at least two other cars. We think it was a kidnapping."
Brennan started to feel angry though she didn't know at whom. "Booth's FBI. He doesn't let himself get kidnapped!" She snapped.
"We collected at least five different sets of prints from the scene. The crash probably knocked him out and then it wouldn't have taken much for the men to haul him out."
Brennan tried to digest everything but she swore she wouldn't let her emotions get in the way. "I want to help you find him."
"I'm afraid that won't be possible Dr. Brennan."
Brennan fixed her glare on him. "I want to be part of this investigation." She said coolly.
"I know you and Booth work cases together but this is different. Firstly there's nothing – and hopefully there will be nothing - which requires your area of expertise and secondly when you're in a relationship with the victim all hope of retaining your objectivity is lost."
Brennan tensed. How did they know? She wished she didn't keep underestimating the FBI. She saw Hodgins and Zach shift slightly and look at her questioningly. "We're not in a relationship. Spending the night at his place doesn't make it a relationship." She said looking at Lewis defiantly.
The Agent had the decency to at least avert his gaze for a minute. "As far as we're concerned, that's the same thing. I'm afraid there's nothing you can do for Agent Booth at the moment. We'll keep you informed."
Brennan stormed off the platform and headed straight for her office. She felt herself about to fly off the handle and the one person who would be able to calm her down and comfort her was lying bleeding somewhere.
"Sweetie, you've got to let the FBI do their job. Booth will be fine." Angela said, following her in and closing the door behind them.
"You don't know that Ange. Look at the blood! For all we know -" She felt her voice start to crack. "For all we know they could have killed him and dragged his body off somewhere." She finished quietly. She sank down into the sofa, head in her hands. She felt so lost and helpless. She had managed to put on a brave face in front of everyone else but as soon as she had heard that FBI Agent say those words she felt like a skewered pig.
"You don't really believe that." Angela said soothingly, sitting down next to her and rubbing her back. "This is Booth we're talking about."
Brennan shook her head, her mind rushing through a hundred things at once. "You were right. This New York thing meant such a lot to him and because I panicked and couldn't even give him a reason, he told me that this whole arrangement between us wasn't working out. I should have fought for us. If I'd stayed in his office and told him how I really felt then-"
"You can't blame yourself Brennan." Angela said firmly.
"I can't think straight. I keep trying to focus myself, think about what I would be doing right now if Booth and I were just work partners, nothing more but then I can't, I can't. That photo of his SUV and the blood-" She felt the tears run down her face as she looked at her friend helplessly.
"Sweetie, you have to think positively. And maybe Agent Lewis is right, maybe there is nothing you can do to help find Booth except sit and wait."
Brennan rubbed her eyes, starting to feel angry at herself. She knew that being all emotional wouldn't help anyone and the state she was in now – this wasn't her. She had to focus, be optimistic, be rational. "He's the one."
"What?" Angela said ever so softly.
Brennan wiped a tissue across her eyes and then screwed it up into a ball tightly. "Booth – I …. I mean I've never actually believed … so who actually knows …… but when I'm with him ……. I think I ….. which is why I haven't been letting myself think too hard about what was going on between us because I knew that coming to this conclusion would really freak me out." She said with a sad smile. She was an idiot. Booth was lying hurt somewhere and she chooses this very moment to have her epiphany.
Angela hugged her tightly. "We're going to find Booth and you're going to tell him that, okay?"
Suddenly there was a tap at the door. "Sorry to interrupt Dr Brennan." Hodgins said awkwardly. "But there's someone out there to see you."
Brennan stood up and quickly tidied herself up. She had barely finished going down the stairs when a blur ran towards her and began hugging her legs tightly.
Brennan reached down and smoothed Parker's hair down ignoring the looks of surprise that Hodgins, Angela and Zach were giving her at the sign of affection from the little boy.
"I'm sorry Dr Brennan I didn't know what to do. I know you're busy but Mr Booth said that if anything should … happen to him that I should bring Parker to you and that he would be safe with you ….."
Brennan nodded slightly. Booth had told her that Rebecca was in Europe and that Parker would be staying with him, being looked after by a nanny during the day. "Parker'll be fine with me."
The short Filipino lady looked slightly relieved but then her face saddened. "I'm sure Mr Booth won't be gone for long. If you need anything-"
"We'll be okay. Thanks Rose." Brennan said watching as the nanny left hurriedly. She was pretty sure that having to protect an FBI Agent's son from a possible psycho criminal who might be out to get Parker too wasn't in the Rose's job description. She reached down and picked Parker up.
"Tempe, you've been crying."
"Only a bit." Brennan said, trying to keep her voice light.
"Is it because Daddy's gone?" She didn't even need to say anything, Parker knew. "You're going to find him though?"
Brennan looked at him. As young and innocent as he was, his voice still contained a hint of worry as he looked at him with his large brown eyes. Booth's eyes.
"Yes of course." She said levelly. Parker clung to her, arms wrapped around her neck. She rested her head on his and closed her eyes. If she needed something to get her head back into gear and concentrate fully on finding Booth instead of just freaking out then having Parker rely on her was definitely it.
"I'm James Harvey-"
"Booth's rookie Agent." Brennan said, remembering meeting the scrawny rookie once before.
"Yes. I've been assigned to shadow you."
"To shadow me?"
"Yeah it means-"
"I know what it means." Brennan snapped before taking a deep breath and biting her lip. "Sorry, it's just I can look after myself. Shouldn't you be out helping the investigation or something?"
James Harvey looked at her patiently. "They've got everyone in the department out looking for Agent Booth but it's my job to keep you both safe in the meantime."
Normally she would have argued this further but now she had Parker to think of as well so she held her tongue and just made do with trying to stare the Agent down.
"I think we should go back to your apartment Brennan." Angela suggested gently rubbing Parker's back. Brennan swallowed and let Angela lead her down to the parking lot and to her car.
Brennan drove whilst Angela sat in the back with Parker. Glancing in the rear view mirror she could see Agent Harvey tailing them a constant reminder of the danger Booth was in. Something deep down inside of herself was still hoping that they would pull up to her apartment block to find Booth sitting in front of her door grinning and shouting 'surprise!' but she knew that was not something which was likely to happen.
Her mind ran through all the cases Booth had talked to her about, trying to remember if any of them had raised a red flag but she couldn't recall anything. He was working on a case yesterday when she went to see him ... but then again he could have just been writing week-old reports as a way of avoiding looking at her.
When they arrived at her place, she argued with Agent Harvey for a full five minutes about the fact he wanted to stand in front of her front door for the whole day and night to make sure she was safe and although he looked thin and weak he said he wasn't going to back down on that so she had reluctantly given up and left him alone.
She entered her apartment and went straight to her answering machine but there were no new messages. Her eyes stung slightly and she felt herself start to unravel. She sank down onto the sofa half-watching as Angela went around her apartment looking for some paper and pens to give Parker something to do.
There was nothing she wanted more in the world than to do something so that Booth could be back with her alive and well and yet at the same time she had never been in such a helpless position.
"Brennan." Angela called from the kitchen, a sense of panic in her voice.
"What?" Brennan said immediately.
Angela just pointed to the fridge where there was a piece of paper held down by a magnet.
It was a scrap of paper with a picture of a dolphin hastily sketched onto it followed by an address and a time. "It's from my father." Brennan said quietly.
"Do you reckon he knows something about Booth?" Angela frowned.
"Well I hope he didn't risk breaking into my apartment just to make dinner plans." Brennan glanced at her watch. "We've got half an hour to get there." She said, quickly grabbing her coat and keys again. The note from her father had given her a small amount of hope that he might know something useful but more importantly it had given her something to focus on other than the 'what-if's that were currently running through her head.
"Tempe, we going out again?" Parker asked, a worried look on his face.
"Yes just for a bit." Brennan said, helping him put his jacket on and then holding his hand whilst Angela held his other hand.
Brennan cursed inwardly. No matter how much Max Keenan deserved it, she didn't think he would appreciate her leading a FBI Agent with an open warrant for his arrest right to his doorstep. "Look Agent Harvey I know it's your job to follow me everywhere but this is one place I really need to go by myself."
"You know I can't allow you to do that." The Agent said firmly with all the confidence he seemed to have lacked when she had first met him that day in Booth's office.
"I promise we'll only be gone for half an hour and your boss will never know ..."
"It's not about my boss, it's about the promise I made to Agent Booth."
"Oh he would understand that this is an extenuating circumstance and that I can more than take care of myself." Brennan tried to move down the corridor, aware that she was running out of time. If she was late then who was to say her father would wait. Harvey blocked her way. "Don't make me hurt you." Brennan threatened.
"And trust me, she will." Angela added.
Harvey didn't say anything for awhile but then he glanced over his shoulder to check that no one was listening before lowering his voice. "You're going to meet your father aren't you?"
Brennan blinked. For once she couldn't think of a quick-witted response to that.
"I've read the official casefile and Booth let me read his unofficial one. He said that if ever he wasn't with you but I was and that you were going to meet Max Keenan I was to accompany you to make sure you were safe but not to get involved and turn a blind eye in regard to all other things."
"Booth trusts you with a lot for a rookie agent." Angela commented suspiciously.
"Yes." James said monotonously before turning to Brennan again. "So are you going to let me follow you or are we going to have to have that physical fight."
Conscious that she would be wasting valuable time by doing so, she gave him an annoyed look before heading down to the car and didn't even say anything when Agent Harvey got in next to her instead of taking his own car. Brennan typed the address her father had given her into her satnav system and twenty minutes later she was parked outside what looked like a run-down derelict house.
"All right, I'm going in and taking Parker with me." Brennan said, switching off the engine and turning round to look at Angela.
"Sweetie, are you sure that's wise?"
Brennan ran a hand through her hair. "I need Parker to be with me for every minute up until the time I can safely return him to Booth and besides I need you to stay here." She said giving Angela a meaningful look.
Angela nodded confirming that she understood that her friend wanted her to watch Agent Harvey to make sure he didn't suddenly decide to go back on his word and call for back up and go in and arrest Brennan's father.
"Wish me luck." Brennan muttered before lifting the sleeping Parker carefully out of the car and glancing down the street to check she wasn't being watched, she walked across the road and knocked on the front door of the house. Parker stirred slightly at the noise and nuzzled his head into Brennan's neck.
The door opened revealing her father who looked like he hadn't slept in weeks.
"Temperance." He greeted with a surprised glance down at Parker.
Brennan entered and he shut the door quickly behind her.
The house had obviously been empty for years but it looked like her father had set up a temporary home in the corner of the living room with an old sofa covered with a cloth which doubled as a bed and a computer and microwave placed on a small desk which looked like it was going to collapse any minute now. Brennan placed the sleeping Parker on the sofa, hoping that the whirl of the generator and them talking wouldn't wake him.
"Do you know who's got Booth?" She said, turning to her father urgently, formalities could wait.
Max shrugged. "I've got a few ideas but of course it's going to take awhile to narrow it down …."
Brennan opened her mouth to ask for details when suddenly something hit her. "You don't have taps on every criminal mastermind in D.C, what makes you think you have a better chance of finding out who did this than the FBI?" Her father shifted slightly and looked uncomfortable and thanks to Booth she knew enough to interpret his body language. "Booth is missing because of you?"
Her father raised his hands in quick defence. "It's not certain but given the circumstances and the timing …… I just have a hunch."
Brennan didn't know what to say. She dropped down into a chair and swallowed the urge to shout accusatorily at her father. She glanced at the pile of paper on the table. "Are those the suspects?"
"Yeah the narrowed down list." Brennan flicked through them there had to be at least fifty different wrap sheets here. As if reading her thoughts, her father added "Big gang, lots of enemies – both outside the gang and all those inside that your mother and I turned on."
Brennan took a deep breath before starting to read, trying to see if anything jumped out at her which could relate back to a recent case they had worked on which could have stirred up the past. The words were filtering through her – Booth was usually the one good at doing this stuff. Her stomach flipped as she thought of Booth and the memories of him being with her, leaning just a little bit too close as they made their way through case reports hit her at thunderous speed and made her feel nauseous. She lowered the papers. "But if these perps wanted to get to you somehow why didn't they just take me?"
"Lots of reasons, especially if this guy's involved." Her father said, pulling a piece of paper out from the pile and handing it to her.
"Alex Jacobs." Brennan read aloud looking at the grainy photo. "It doesn't ring a bell."
"That's because you might have known him by a different name." Her father replied pointing halfway down the sheet.
Brennan looked at the list of aliases. "Oh God." She said.
A/N:- Remember, it's not a cliffhanger, it's a dramatic pause. And reviews are just that tad bit nicer than cookies. )