This story is complete in and of itself, but there will be a sequel, Recovery, that will pick up where this story ends. As always, please please review, reviews are most appreciated!
Booth strode down the hallway of the Jeffersonian, case file in hand. As he entered the lab, he looked around, hoping to find Cam, then groaned inwardly as Zach tapped him on the shoulder.
"Good morning, Agent Booth. Can I help you?" Booth tried his best to ignore the young scientist at his side, then relented, figuring that the way the kid was hovering, he'd probably stand in front of him next.
"Yeah. Where's Cam?"
"She had a meeting upstairs, we were expecting her back by now, but she's not here yet. Is that a case? I'd be happy to take a look." Zach leaned a bit, hoping to scan the paperwork, but Booth shifted away, scanning the room desperately.
"Nah, that's okay, I'll just wait for her. Hey, Angela! Hey!" Relieved, he bolted toward her, glad to be able to talk to a non-squint. "How are ya?"
"Hey, stranger, we haven't seen you in these parts recently." Angela bumped shoulders with Booth, grinning at him. "We thought maybe you found yourself someone new to hang with." He smiled, enjoying her spirit.
"Nah. Casesload's just been a little slow, amazingly enough, and the most recent have been pretty slam-dunk, so…" He broke off, leaving unsaid the other, bigger reason he hadn't been around. "Have you seen Cam?"
"She just called, said she's on her way back." She eyed him shrewdly, knowing exactly what he'd avoided admitting. "What's up?" As they headed toward her office, he related the details of his most recent case, and what type of help he needed – and then repeated it all for Cam, who'd just returned.
"That shouldn't be a problem – this is an easy one." Cam took the file from him. "We should have an answer for you by tomorrow morning." She paused, uncomfortable, glancing at Angela, who rolled her eyes and stepped forward.
"So, we heard from Bren the other day." Angela smiled as Booth suddenly turned and focused on her. "She's okay – she's been identifying lots of bodies, and they've avoided most of the action." Her smile slipped a bit. "But she said she's heard gunfire several times, and they keep having to move the location of the lab headquarters." She wished her friend wouldn't take so many chances. I'm the first person to say 'Live life to the limit', but this is getting scary. Her eyes followed Booth as he paced within the confines of the small office. "Do you know anything about what's going on over there?"
"A little." A big fat lie, that's what that was. He knew a lot, as he'd been closely tracking the situation in Dulny since learning Bones was going there on a humanitarian mission. What he was hearing was not promising. Armed skirmishes were popping up in numerous areas, and there were rumors of an all-out conflict in the works. She'd been there for three weeks already, and he'd been miserable, worried about her. Worried about her, but also missing her, isn't that what you really mean, chicken-shit? You've been bored since she left – no lunches or dinners – investigations aren't nearly as much fun without her…He mentally shook himself, wondering how much to tell her co-workers. "There's a lot of upset right now, the region's a bit unstable. I'm sure everything will be fine." He really, really hoped everything would be fine. "She say when she's coming back?"
"She wants to stay for a few more weeks – she said they're really helping the locals." Angelas' eyes tracked Booth – back and forth, back and forth. "It means a lot to these people, to finally find their loved ones, to be able to bury them." This is kinda like watching a tennis match. "I just hope this doesn't turn into another El Salvador for her."
"Yeah, well, that's Bones all over – helpin' the world." He stopped, frowning. "Wait, what happened in El Salvador?" Booth paused as Hodgins and Zach rushed in, looking upset. What, another argument about who's smarter? He looked again, closer, and stopped pacing. "What's wrong?"
"You should see this." Hodgins grabbed the TV remote, tuning to the news. Grainy videos of armed men and running civilians filled the screen, and the reporters' British accent filled the room.
"Government officials have stated that the borders have been closed, and that the entire region is in turmoil. Hostilities are increasing rapidly, with reports of attacks on foreigners reaching bordering aid stations. The Dulny Head of State has also confirmed that they are unable to send troops to the region at this time, due to –" The space where the TV had been was suddenly empty, and the Jeffersonian staff gaped at the sight of it on it's side on the floor, smoking. As the sound of its impact faded, they warily eyed Booth, who stood over the set, shaking glass fragments off his pantleg.
Cam cautiously eased forward. "Um, Booth, are you okay?" She froze as his head whipped around, and shivered at the blank stare aimed at her.
"No. No, Cam, I'm really not." He flipped open his phone, dialing quickly. "This is Special Agent Booth. I need Director Cullen – no – now. It's an emergency." He resumed pacing, and the others in the room backed up as a unit. "Sir? I have an emergency, a family emergency. I need to take some personal time. I don't know yet – at least three weeks, maybe more. Please reassign my caseload." A brief pause, and he nodded his head. "Yes, sir. That won't be a problem – this will be strictly 'unofficial'. Thank you, sir." He turned around and pointed at Hodgins. "You."
Hodgins quietly stepped forward. "Yes?"
"What has she sent you?" At Hodgins' confused look, he tossed his head impatiently. "Bones. Whenever she goes on these insane trips she always sends back crap. Did she send anything that will tell us where she is, exactly?" He strode out of the office, Hodgins on his heels.
"She sent several items, um, some approved bone samples, along with vials of soil and vegetation." He dashed to the other side of the platform, dragging Zach with him. "We'll start narrowing it down." As Cam approached, Booth spun to her.
"I'm gonna need an aid kit. Give me as much as you can, but keep the size of the pack as small as possible. Make sure there're penicillin and pain meds in there." As she hesitated, he angled his head, eyes narrowed. "Are you gonna argue with me about the drugs? Is that what you're gonna do?" She shrank back, shaking her head, and went off at a run. He shrugged out of his jacket and made another phone call. "Toby, it's Booth. Listen, I have a problem. I'm gonna need some help overseas. Who's your European contact now?" He noticed the curious looks, and moved further down the platform, jotting down data. "Okay, take a list. I need an M24 with silencer, an M249, two M9 Berettas, some C4 with wiring, and M67 grenades. I'll also need a Land Rover. Make sure the rendezvous point is close to Dulny. Yeah, it's a big one. Thanks – I owe you."
He turned as Angela neared, and his stony expression softened as he saw that she'd been crying. "Angela." She threw her trembling arms around him, and he automatically comforted her. "Don't worry, everything'll be alright." She clutched him harder, then pulled back.
"Please please be careful – and thank you, thank you so much. Please bring my friend back – I want both of you back here, safe." She quickly hugged him again, then sank into a chair.
Cam sprang back up the steps, a backpack clutched in her arms. "The kit's ready." Handing it to him, she met his eyes. "I'm sorry. Be safe, Seeley."
He paused, looking at her, but there was really nothing more to say. He nodded and headed for the exit. "Call me as soon as you have any information on her last known location." Before any of them could move, he was gone.