Title: Object of my Affection

Title: Object of my Affection
Author: Shannon - shannyfish
Disclaimer: I do not own "Bones" or its characters, Fox does. This is merely for entertainment purposes only.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Booth and Brennan must struggle with not only the Grad Students trying to take Zack's old position, but also help get through a tragic end.
Warning: Post Season Three - "Pain in the Heart". Would take place during Season Four, probably mid to late. Please also read the author's note. 

Chapter 1 – "The Skeleton in the Tunnel"

Author's Note: Warning! Do not start reading this unless you plan on reading all…like…one hundred chapters (it might be that many…might not…). This will be an epic/saga-type fic and shall include all kinds of fun plot twists. The rating of this story will most likely fluctuate, FYI.

…………………….

New York Subway System

"Why am I doing this again?" Booth asked as he followed Brennan and a city employee down the tunnel.

"Because Cam reminded you that you need to bring me back in one whole piece," Brennan informed him as she shone her light down the tunnel.

"Breathing, too," Booth added and sighed as he looked over his shoulder anxiously. "Are you sure no trains are going to come barreling down here?" he asked as they walked along.

"Not today," the city employee informed him. "There's a lot of people pissed off about the L being shut down, but what can we do?" he asked in his heavy New York accent.

"You can resume your transit system as soon as we can safely remove the skeletal remains," Brennan assured him.

"We just happened upon the…remains…by chance," the employee continued on as he led them farther into the tunnel. "We had to do some repairs…and there it was."

"When was the last time this area was serviced?" Booth questioned.

"About four months ago."

"Any workers go missing?"

"Not that I know of."

Booth sighed as they continued to walk on, he felt like they'd walked much too far, but Brennan hadn't said anything about the distance. He wasn't about to say anything first. "We're going to need a sure answer," Booth informed him.

"I'm sure my bosses won't have a problem with it," the worker said matter of factly.

When the worker stopped, Brennan walked to his side and let her light shine on the remains in front of them. He had been accurate. The remains were just that, bones…a bit of clothing, but nothing substantial. "I should be able to remove the remains fairly quickly, so that you can resume your transit operations," Brennan said as she crouched down to inspect the remains. She dropped her pack alongside her. She'd brought everything she needed to transport the skeletal remains, but wanted to first exam them before packing them up.

"Can you tell the gender?" Booth asked as he stood behind Brennan.

She nodded and then started to pull on latex gloves, "Male. I assume that many of the city workers that work in the subway system are male."

"You'd be correct, Doctor Brennan," the employee told her as he just watched and kept his flashlight steady on what she was doing.

"Transport to the Jeffersonian?" Booth asked hopeful to be able to leave the subway tunnel and get back to the safety of his black SUV.

"Yes, hopefully we'll be able to give him a face and match that rendering to someone in a missing persons database or to a New York city workers database."

…………………

En Route to the Jeffersonian

"You know we could have flown," Brennan pointed out. The four hour drive back to the Jeffersonian was not something she was looking forward to. They'd argued the whole way there and she wasn't looking forward to a repeat.

Booth just looked over to her before looking back, "It's like a road trip, Bones. I told you we could stop for some food…but you want to get back as soon as possible to look over the bones. I mean, you have to learn how to live some time!"

"What? So, you think that driving four hours each way is going to help me live?" Brennan challenged.

"If you do it, right…then yes," Booth told her and knew that she wasn't understanding the meaning of a true American road trip. "It's something that families do…or something you do with friends. It's fun to drive places and play stupid license plate games and singing songs…and eating all kinds of fast food," Booth tried to explain for her.

"That doesn't sound entertaining to me at all," Brennan told him not seeing the point in wasting the gas or the time in driving for the heck of it.

Booth sighed and looked at the time, "Maybe we should pull over and find a place to stay for the night."

"Let me drive."

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because I think it would be safer for us to find a place to stay tonight," he repeated. "I don't want either of us falling asleep at the wheel and us both ending up dead with your bones in some crazy car wreck," Booth told her as he pulled off the freeway and started to look for a motel.

"Don't you trust my driving skills?" Brennan asked.

"It's not that," Booth insisted. "It's just that it's safer this way."

Brennan pulled out her cell phone and started dialing.

"Who're you calling?"

"Why?"

"I was just wondering," Booth told her noticing her tone as he scanned the road for a motel. So far, nothing.

"I told Hodgins and Angela to stay late, so that we could start working on the remains," Brennan explained with her phone to her ear, "But since you insist on us not getting back until tomorrow, I thought it would only be fair to let them know. Maybe they can go out to dinner or something."

"That's a nice thought," Booth told her with a smile before quickly changing lanes when he spotted a motel up ahead on the right side. After a few minutes of Brennan talking to Angela and then silence following the end of the call, Booth spoke up, "You know, I figured you wouldn't mind the space from the Jeffersonian."

"Why would I need space?" Brennan questioned.

"Your grad students," Booth reminded. "I know you're not too fond of having to find a replacement for Zack, but it has to be done."

His voice was different. They weren't bickering anymore, but she didn't like the topic of conversation. "I know that," she said quietly and turned to look out the window. They'd pulled into a motel and Booth had parked, but she just stared out the window. Crossing her arms, she continued, "It's logical to have another forensic anthropologist on staff."

"But I know you're not too thrilled with the newbie squints in the lab," Booth said as he watched her. He knew that she'd been quiet in any regards to Zack or a replacement and when a small handful of grad students had been brought in to help out and learn how to work at the Jeffersonian as Brennan's lab assistant it had just made things worse. Her mood hadn't been the best and whenever he'd tried to cheer her up, she'd make some excuse to do lab work alone.

"They just don't know any better yet," Brennan said, "They'll learn."

"Hopefully before you kill any of them?"

A small smile slipped across her face, "That would be criminal," she told her glancing over at him briefly before opening her door to get out of the vehicle.

"At least you know how to hide to bodies," Booth teased as he got out and reached into the back to grab the bag he'd brought.

"Actually, I know how to disintegrate the bodies…and clean up so there's no evidence." Brennan played along and opened the back to get her bag from the back as well and then closed the door. "You know what they say, Booth…" she said as she walked towards the end of the vehicle.

Booth met her at the back of the SUV, "What?"

"Friends help friends hide the bodies," she told him with a smile.

……………………….

Loews Philadelphia Hotel

The room was nice, but it wasn't the room that had made the night go by so nicely. Booth couldn't wipe the smile off his face. They'd ended up with a room with two double beds, which had turned out much better than he had thought. They'd called in room service and along with the room service they'd ordered up alcohol. He and Brennan had ended up on the same bed drinking away the alcohol that had been ordered up. At first, it had been just to relax Brennan, but then they'd started a game…and it had gotten carried away.

"I'm going to have a headache in the morning," Brennan mumbled as she relaxed back into the pillows behind her.

Booth smiled, "Cold shower and hot coffee in the morning," he suggested. His arm was over her shoulders as they both relaxed. "At least the headache will be gone by the time we get back to the Jeffersonian tomorrow…"

"Maybe."

Laughing, Booth pulled her closer and kissed the top of her head, "It will be. Just remember to be nicer to me on the way back…"

Brennan let her eyes start to slide shut as she thought about it. "I'm always nice to you…"

"You're drunk," Booth laughed, but held her close.

"So are you," she argued and yawned.

"Yeah…I am," Booth agreed and yawned himself. He adjusted his position getting more comfortable. Lying there with her, he felt so relaxed and comfortable, so he had no current motivation to move away from Brennan.

…………………..

Booth found himself awake and wondering why the lights were still on. His eyes darted to the clock. 3:45am. He remembered the alcohol and Brennan and then noticed that they were still completely dressed and tangled in her bed together. Sighing, Booth carefully untangled himself from her and removed himself from the bed. He turned off all the lights except the far bedside lamp. He carefully pulled the covers back on one side of the bed before removing as many articles of clothes he felt comfortable with removing from Brennan before tucking her into bed. He hoped that that would help her sleep more comfortably. He placed her clothes on one of the chairs before stripping down to his boxers and then slipping into his bed.

Looking over to Brennan, he watched her sleep for a few minutes. She looked so peaceful, and he hoped that maybe their little road trip would help her. At least to help her be more happy around him. He hated to see her so miserable. He didn't mind if she took out her irritation on the newbie squint squad. He just wanted to see her happy sometime. Looking at the clock again, he sighed heavily before reaching over and pulling the cord to turn off the bedside lamp. "Night, Bones," he whispered before trying to find a comfortable position himself and managing to fall back asleep.

…………………..

TBC…