Make Things Right
Author's Note: Feedback makes my day, so thank you to everyone who hit the purple button…you contribute to my well-being : ) The story will veer off on its own starting this chapter, I hope you find the plot engaging.
Attention passengers of US Airways Flight 2284 from Atlanta to Washington. Please note that your departure has been delayed one hour. Please stand by for more information. Thank you.
Brennan sighed as she looked around the terminal for a restaurant, her stomach growling with hunger. Swinging the black duffel bag on her right shoulder, she spotted a pub brimming with patrons who were also waiting for their designated flight times.
Entering the pub, Brennan passed through a group of middle-aged couples, most of them dressed in appalling mint green and bubble gum pink tank top and shorts. No doubt, they would continue to manifest the notorious reputations Americans had down south regarding bad taste in beach-wear clothing.
Spotting an empty stool at the bar, Brennan settled herself and waited for the college-aged bartender to make his rounds.
Distracted, he finally got to her after several minutes. "What can I get for you?" His head was already on the next customer and his hands busy making a margarita for the previous one.
"A beer, whatever you have on tap. And sweet potato fries, if you have them." Brennan preferred exotic tasting beers, but having traveled extensively, she had come to the realization that airports didn't have very much selection. The fries were for once-in-a-while self indulgence.
The beer sloshed when the waiter slid it on the counter, bubbles running along the length of the glass and making a ring around its bottom. Brennan took it and sipped, enjoying the cool taste in her mouth. She had desperately needed a beer after her last case. It was a tiring one, especially since Booth was working on it from D.C. and she was doing legwork with Agent Sully in Atlanta. She was glad when they finally arrested the preacher for the murder, closing the case about the girl in the alligator.
Eager to go home, Brennan was disappointed to realize that her flight was delayed. She nursed her beer as she waited for the fries. The feeling of missing Booth finally crept in, making her feel uncharacteristically lonely. She had done well the entire week, keeping her mind on her tasks. Now that her head was clear and no pressing issues demanded her attention, Brennan's mind drifted to Booth and the recent change in their relationship. She supposed that they would need to discuss the implications of their night together.
She looked around the pub, enjoying a rare opportunity for people-watching. A favorite past-time, it helped her understand human behavior and brought depth to the characters she created for her book. The bustling noise covered the commentator's reports of the soccer game playing on the multitude of televisions located at each corner of the establishment.
We interrupt local programming to bring news from downtown Atlanta at the WSB – TV headquarters. The site of a week-long lobbying ended today with a potentially fatal shooting.
Brennan wasn't sure, but as soon as she heard the news and saw the television flicker from the soccer game to the scene of ambulance and emergency personals rushing through the crowded assembly, a feeling of cold dread enveloped her.
Keenan, disguised as a homeless man, attempted to camouflage himself and blend with the crowd. He knew better than to come here. Against his better judgment, however, he drove from San Augustine to Atlanta, unable to miss the opportunity to see James McMillan again.
Reporters from various media outlets were busy roaming and interviewing. The scorching heat made everyone restless, and the already irritated protestors had little patience for those who were not in favor of their cause.
"Break it up!" One of the police officers stepped in between two women, while other officers handcuffed each one, leading them inside a cruiser.
Scheduled to provide a press release in a few minutes, McMillan's presence warranted multiple agents discreetly moving with the crowd to ensure his safety. From his spot by an electric pole, a dozen feet or so away from the marked perimeters, Keenan counted the agents he needed to avoid. There were one too many for his liking.
Keenan hadn't seen McMillan in fifteen years. Nevertheless, one never forgot an enemy, particularly since the FBI had a sketch of his face after his plastic surgery. One word from McMillan and a trained agent roaming the WSB –TV compound would be too happy to pull the trigger on him.
A distinguished looking man stepped through the front door of the lobby, silencing the crowd. "Good afternoon."
"Stop the take over!" The crowd chanted, "Stop the take over!"
"I understand your concerns, but let me assure you that the news we bring is untainted and honest. We cannot be bought by political parties."
"Boo!" His speech was hardly heard, "Boo!"
Keenan watched the demonstrations in front of him. He hoped this take-over would be the last one. With the evidence he entrusted three people, it should be enough to keep this man in prison for a very long time.
Pulling the hood over his head, Keenan attempted to walk away. The agents he observed from a distance were alert, examining each face with intent, as if they were looking for someone in particular.
Keenan had a terrible feeling that they were looking for him. He suspected that he made a mistake; one of the individuals he trusted with the location of the key was working with McMillan.
He quickened his pace without drawing attention, but he had underestimated a desperate prey. An agent must have recognized him as he felt gun shots whizzed pass him, then into his flesh.
He fell down with a resounding thud on the street.
The emergency response team, who was already on the scene anticipating that violence would accompany the demonstration today, was beside Keenan shortly after he was shot.
The crowd broke out and panic erupted. Confusion reigned and the gunman used this advantage to escape unnoticed. McMillan, aware of the cameras shooting his every reaction, feigned distress and concern.
Inside the ambulance, Keenan felt each gunshot, all four of them. He was aware of blood loss that would soon cause him to experience delirium. Pushing the oxygen mask off his face, he attempted to speak.
"I don't understand what you're saying," Carly Jones, a nurse, replied in a no-nonsense tone. She had blond hair with streaks of gold, tied in a bun around her angular face. The wrinkles around her blue eyes made her look older than her 32 years. She patted his hand gently, in contrast to the deep pressure she exerted over his wounds. "Sir, don't try to talk, we're almost at the hospital."
A male emergency crew tried bandage his wounds, while another was taking his blood pressure and stats.
Blood from Keenan's punctured lung made its way to his throat, making speech difficult, almost impossible. "Give…to…Booth."
Sensing the desperation, Jones leaned forward, closing the gap between her ear and Keenan's mouth. "Tell…her…don't…trust…anyone…else."
The words came out distorted and the siren blaring on top of the ambulance made hearing more difficult. Jones, however, made out a couple of words. "Don't trust who?"
"Please." Max attempted to reach back, wincing as each slight movement caused pain to wash through his entire body.
Figuring out what Keenan was trying to do, Jones assisted in lifting his side and pulled a white envelope from his back pocket. She saw a name written on it. Temperance Brennan
Keenan's eyes shut, making the simple movement of keeping his eyes open an enduring task. Valiantly, he tried to communicate again. "My…daughter…give…" Unfortunately, there were limits to what his body could tolerate as darkness claimed him.
The ambulance halted in front of the Emory Crawford Long Hospital. With efficient movements, the response team pushed the gurney through the doors and into the emergency room.
A couple of resident doctors met them and tried to revive Keenan as Jones pushed the gurney pass the admission counter and into the elevators, straight to the operating room.
After transferring her duties to the attending nurses and physicians, Jones breezed through the reception. Wiping blood stains on her uniform, she approached an elderly woman of African-American descent and requested, "Mari, locate a Temperance Brennan for me. She's related to the gun-shot victim that we just sent to OR."
Cradling a phone on her ear and writing notes at the same time, Mari asked, "Temperance Brennan, the writer?"
Jones hurriedly wrote her reports and signed, on her way to another call. "I don't know, but when she gets here, page me."
Mari suspected that an uncommon name such as Temperance Brennan could only mean that she was looking for the author who wrote the novel sitting on her night table. She contacted several places before successfully obtaining Brennan's cell phone number. Working in the emergency room also helped to have her inquiries taken seriously.
The surreal, and highly unusual, sense of premonition was heightened when Brennan heard her phone ringing. The television screens continued to show the aftermath of the shootings, confirming one casualty. Witnesses were being interviewed but no one knew what was going on.
Trembling hands held the cell phone. "Brennan."
"Hello, Dr. Brennan. This is Mari Legman calling from the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta."
Blood drummed through Brennan's temples.
Brennan gripped the edge of the counter, her knuckles white. "Yes. I'm here."
"A colleague of yours gave me your number. I'm afraid I have some bad news."
Dread filled her, making her chest hallow, narrowing her vision. "Who's hurt?"
"We don't have an ID on the patient, but he asked for you. He's in the OR, the doctors are operating on him right now. Do you have a family member living in Atlanta?"
Brennan didn't know anyone in Atlanta who would call for her on their deathbed. But her father was quite transient. "I'll be right there."
Brennan rushed out of the pub, knocking a glass half-filled with beer, causing it to drop on the floor. The breaking sound silenced the room as patrons watched helpless as each shard of glass flew in all directions.
Brennan reached the exit and hailed a taxi, pressing one on her speed dial. She got Booth's voicemail. "You've reach Special Agent Booth. Please leave a message."
A taxi appeared in no time and she stepped in. Shutting the door, she told the driver of her desired location. When she heard the beep, Brennan said in a distressed tone, "Booth, It's me. I think something bad happened to my dad. I'm still in Atlanta. Call me."
Brennan was unaware of the security team that pulled in the airport as her taxi drove away.
In the FBI interrogation room, Booth sat on a lone chair with handcuffs holding his hands together. Agent Belmar, a representative from Homeland security, paced in front of him. Booth would have been intimidated by his broad structure and mean face had he not been an agent himself and aware of their tactics. Director Cullen stood behind the two-way mirror, observing the proceedings.
Pausing, Agent Belmar asked, "Agent Booth, how closely do you work with Dr. Brennan?"
The headache that throbbed a few hours ago had developed into an annoying migraine. With clenched teeth, barely suppressing his anger, Booth replied. "She's my partner. We work on cases for the FBI if the victim is too badly decomposed for the forensic unit to identify."
"What are the bounds of your relationship?"
"I don't understand what you're insinuating."
"Let me say it plainly, Agent Booth." Agent Belmar leaned forward, menacingly. Booth wanted to knock the leer off the arrogant agent's face. "Do you and Dr. Brennan share a partnership beyond your working relationship?"
Stoically, Booth replied, "I don't understand the significance of that line of questioning"
Cullen, tense in the background, ordered through the intercom. "Answer the question, Booth. We want to clear you, not put you in jail."
Booth believed Cullen's words, but he doubted that it was Agent Belmar's intent. With contempt etched on Booth's well-structured features, he remained silent.
US Attorney Caroline Julian stepped in the interrogation room in a way only she could; sassy and authoritative. Eying the Homeland Security representative, she declared, "You are not questioning my client without me talking to him first. Especially not about his personal relationship with Dr. Brennan, should such relationship exist. You hear?"
Waving her hand, she ordered, "You're out of here, I need time with my client."
Agent Belmar stepped out, albeit reluctantly. When the observation room was cleared, Julian sighed. "Booth, what kind of a mess have you and your lady scientist gotten into?"
"Caroline, I wish I knew." Booth was so happy to see her, he would willingly sell his home to give her donut holes. "I honestly don't have any idea why they've brought me here. I was having lunch with Dr. Wyatt in my office, then the next thing I knew, I had guns pointed at me. I called you as soon as I could."
With a raised eyebrow, Julian informed Booth. "They're charging you with accessory to treason."
"What?" Booth couldn't believe what he was hearing.
She nodded, "Not only that, but they're charging Dr. Brennan with treason as well."
"Bones? I don't think she even knows what that means." This day was turning out to be more bizarre than Booth imagined.
Julian adjusted her salmon-colored sweater, leaning against the side of the table. "Having met her, I believe you. But try telling that to those agents looking for her. Apparently, she has escaped. She missed her flight in Atlanta and she's not in her lab."
Booth rubbed his face with his hands, the gesture being made difficult with the handcuffs. His head ached with worry and his chest pounded with fear. "Jesus, what's going on?"
"I think Dr. Brennan's father has something to do with this."
Booth dropped his head on the table, resisting the urge to pound it against the wood. "God help Keenan if something bad happen to her. I should have arrested him when I had a chance."
Julian huffed, "After what he did to my car, I'd arrest him myself."
Desperate, Booth clutched Caroline's hands tightly, "You need to help me get out of here. I need to find Bones, make sure she's okay."
A/N: As always, reviews would be nice : )